Safety Awakening – “Do We Still Need The ASSE?”

February 12, 2018 No Comments

“Do We Still Need The ASSE?”

In today’s high-tech world, is there still a need for the nations oldest (est 1911) and largest safety organization?  Is the ASSE (American Society of Safety Engineers) a relic of the past, or are it’s best days still ahead?

I was a professional member of the ASSE from 1976 to 2012.  During this time I witnessed the growth of many organizations that provide products and services similar to those the ASSE offers.  For example –

  • The ASSE’s flagship Professional Safety magazine used to be “the exclusive” workplace safety magazine.  Now there are numerous free on-line safety magazines that are just as good.
  • These days there are other national (and local) safety organizations that you can join that cost less.
  • Local safety councils provide excellent (and often more economical) networking and educational opportunities.
  • With thousands of safety jobs being listed on and other on-line jobs websites the ASSE’s “Jobs Board” is redundant.
  • In the 60’s and 70’s the ASSE was “the source” for safety training.  Today, there are dozens of universities, OSHA training centers and technical colleges with outstanding occupational safety and health curriculums.
  • The latest big ASSE project was their BOK (Book of Knowledge).   The ASSE says “The BoK is one of the world’s leading collections of high-caliber vetted knowledge for the SH&E profession, which gives you access to … articles, SH&E materials, checklists, presentation, training materials, and other multi-media offerings.”  While the BOK archive is impressive, there already exists numerous “open source” Internet websites (e.g.,,,  Health & Safety Executive,  Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, etc.) that also offer high quality safety data bases of publications and training resources that are totally free.
  • Most insurance carriers now provide businesses they insure with free safety: conferences, training programs (on-line, dvd, PowerPoints, etc.), consultations, model safety programs, forms, posters, and signs.
  • In the USA, OSHA provides free work related safety and health publications and professional development opportunities that are often similar to their ASSE equivalents.
  • I no longer need to attend the ASSE’s PDC (Professional Development Conference) or monthly ASSE chapter meetings to network with my peers because I now do most of my networking from the comfort of my office through my participation in numerous LinkedIn safety groups.
  • I no longer need to attend the ASSE’s PDC (Professional Development Conference) or monthly ASSE chapter meetings to participate in an educational training session.  There are dozens of Internet sources that provide free (or modestly priced) interactive webinars on many of the very same subjects that the ASSE covers in their conferences.   Did you know that the ASSE does not pay most of their PDC speakers?  It’s no wonder then that some PDC speakers are “second tier” presenters more concerned with promoting their own products or services than in educating you.


Increasingly, the ASSE is seeing new competition that provides similar products and services often at a lower cost or totally free.  In today’s challenging economic environment this is an increasingly important consideration for many safety professionals.

It costs $185 to $195 per year for an ASSE membership ($25 application fee, $150 basic one year membership, $15 local chapter dues, $15 fee for first year, $20 per “practice specialty”, $10 per “common interest group”).  That’s a lot of money for a young (or an unemployed) person.  For these safety professionals, maybe they can get by without an expensive ASSE membership by using the above types of economical alternative products and services on an “a la carte” basis?

Do we still need the ASSE?  We each need to answer this question for ourself.  For me, the answer is no –  I dropped my membership back in 2012 and am getting by just fine. 

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