Issue 7
May 2016
BCSP Collegiate eNewsletter

Welcome to the BCSP Collegiate eNewsletter!

Whether you are a SH&E professor, student, or recent graduate, the Collegiate eNewsletter will include news and information that will help you in your professional safety career.

See the In This Issue section to the right to navigate to the stories of most interest to you.

Thank you to all who contributed to this issue.

Bringing Our Best to the Safety Profession 
Thomas Fuller, ScD, Program Director of Safety at Illinois State University  
As the 2015-2016 school year draws to a close it is time to reflect on our programs' and new graduates' growth. It was a big year for the program I am a part of, the Illinois State University (ISU) Safety Program. In the Fall of 2015, we received ABET accreditation after a hiatus of several years. It is an honor to offer one of only 14 undergraduate bachelor's degrees in the country with the designation. Now our graduates, retroactively to the Fall of 2013, can apply for the Graduate Safety Practitioner® (GSP) designation to complement their academic degrees.

Our graduating seniors still need to complete their summer professional practice courses before they receive their diplomas, but they are already well prepared and confident in their abilities, as are their professors. Challenging courses in accident investigation, industrial hygiene, OSHA regulations, management, fire safety, hazardous materials, and ergonomics-to name a few-have prepared the graduates well for a broad range of job activities. It is incredibly rewarding to see graduates "leave the nest", so to speak, to quickly assume positions of responsibility.

In just the past few years the demand for Safety graduates has grown exponentially. Where most employment application qualifications used to require up to five years of experience, numerous jobs are accepting new graduates into primary safety leadership roles today. There is routinely 100% placement for our graduates within a couple months.

In a field where 55% of the workers are over the age of 50, these young graduates have the opportunity to make huge advances in the practice of safety. Wise organizations are taking the opportunity to match the older professionals with the younger workers as a form of capacity building and mentoring. But these organizations and older professionals better be on their toes, we don't teach our students to accept the status quo. We teach our graduates that there is usually one "best" way to do something, and the best way usually requires continuous improvement and thinking outside the box.

We appreciate that it is incredibly difficult for a 22-year-old to tell a 55-year-old professional that you have to throw a lanyard away if it has been used to arrest a fall, even though it still looks perfectly fine. Or that workers cannot override the interlocks on a machine guard even though they have done so without incident for the past ten years. It not only takes a good understanding of the issues and regulations, but the confidence in their decisions. It is what makes us professors most proud of our alumni that we are sending out into the workforce to protect workers and save lives.

From Student to Professional   

Going from student to professional is a challenging and exciting transformation. There are ways to prepare for the change, through inquisitiveness in class and practice in internships, but when you enter the profession having a desire to continue learning is just as important.

"It was difficult to adjust to so many things changing at once - new city, new job, new people, new expectations," says Stephanie Miller, CSP, OHST, STS. "All of those changes can be overwhelming, but keeping my focus on the future helped me move through those changes more easily."

Miller graduated from Murray State University in May 2012 with a BS in Chemistry and a MS in Occupational Safety and Health. She now works as an Environmental Safety and Health Specialist.

"Being prepared for the profession was always a fear of mine while I was in school," Miller shares. She tackled some of her uncertainties by participating in an internship at a chemical plant the summer before her graduation. "The best thing about doing an internship is that it helped me understand the basics of the chemical industry and the safety field. Having an internship under my belt helped me adjust much more quickly to the role of being a professional once I graduated."

While entering the safety profession marks the completion of hard work as a student, it is also the beginning of a career. "Once you get out of school and you start dealing with all of the changes, it is easy for things like participating in professional organizations, getting certifications, and networking to fall by the wayside," she recalls. "Staying plugged into societies, staying on top of emerging safety issues, and surrounding yourself with experienced people are all ways that you can continue to get better."

When she graduated Miller was qualified to hold the Graduate Safety Practitioner® (GSP) designation. She took her own initiative in pursuing certifications, and that communicated her dedication to others. "I got my certifications because I wanted to learn through the certification process, and I felt like they gave me additional credibility, especially since I am early in my career," Miller explained. "Since then, I have taken more active leadership roles at work, in professional safety organizations, and I have attended professional development conferences."

Continuing to develop your knowledge and skills involves others as well. Miller believes, "people will not always remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel." This plays a big role in her work. "Take the time to personally connect with others; employees that you are helping to keep safe will not care what you know until they know you care. Approach them with the mindset that you are on their team to help them be more successful."

Above all, Miller emphasizes that "no matter how much education or experience you get, you can always learn from someone else."

The Importance of People in Safety  
Tanner Neese, ASSE Student Section President, Murray State University 
Deciding to go into the field of safety has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made. As I near the end of my undergraduate degree in Occupational Safety and Health, I have learned many technical skills that I will be able to take with me when I join the work force. While in college I had two different internships that opened my eyes to a different skill that I am currently trying to master. The ability to positively affect and influence people every day by a simple interaction with them is a skill that can go a long way. During my internships I found that being able to lead people and clearly explain safety to them is just as important as, or more important than, knowing every safety standard.

I recently read a book called How to Win Friends and Influence People written by Dale Carnegie. There are a few parts that really struck me in the book that help show the importance of being able to influence people. Carnegie states "My popularity, my happiness, and sense of worth depend to no small extent upon my skill in dealing with people". What Carnegie is saying is that his happiness comes from being able to deal with people for positive outcomes. As a safety professional I find this line to be very crucial to me. I can have all of the right safety answers in my internships or my job, but if I do not work with people well, I will essentially fail. Safety is not always about inventing the newest safety device, but it can be an opportunity to infectiously impact people by how you present yourself as the safety professional.

Carnegie also hits on some other personality traits and social interactions that I hold very close when working with people. Carnegie explains that you cannot win an argument. His reasoning is that when you win an argument you make the person you are arguing with feel insecure because they are wrong. Instead he suggests avoiding arguments and simply discussing the issue at hand in a way that produces little conflict. The last thing I want to do as a safety professional is to make someone feel insecure or bad about themselves as I present my safety topics. Lastly, Carnegie suggests that a person smile as much as possible. On my last internship I actually had a manager always ask why I was smiling. I used to reply to him that I was just happy to be working. By the end of my internship he told me to always keep smiling because it affects the people around you.

As safety professionals we all know the scrutiny we can come under for simply being the safety representative. I know that it is crucial for a safety professional to not only know the technical safety side, but to also learn to lead and positively affect the people around you. As a student of an undergraduate safety program, I was blessed to receive a firm footing on the technical side of safety and a "piece of the people side" of safety. It is my goal when starting my new job this summer to have an impact on the people around me and to have an infectious attitude.

Encouraging Safety Through Design 
As technology has evolved, so too has the knowledge required of the safety profession. Further, that technology has provided new opportunities to incorporate safety into systems for human use.

"In safety you have to see the big picture and consider all the things that come into play," says Dr. Paul Green, a Research Professor at the University of Michigan. "Who are the people involved, what are their knowledge and skills?  What tasks are they performing?  What is the context - the environment, the tools, and the culture. You achieve safety when all of these elements are considered."

These factors are important not only in themselves, but in their interactions with each other, and their implications for designing systems that have a human-centered focus.

"One of the big challenges here is designing high technology systems for ease of use," explains Dr. Green. "My focus is in motor vehicles. A well-designed vehicle puts the driver in a position to control the vehicle with minimal distraction and prevents crashes. You have to think positive (ease of use) over negative (distraction)."

Dr. Green made these connections and contributes to the safety profession's body of knowledge as the Human Factors Engineering Program Leader at the University of Michigan, where he leads the Human Factors Engineering Short Course, addressing "the design of systems, products and services to make them easier, safer and more effective for human use."  This two-week short course is the flagship continuing education activity in the profession, now in its 57th year.

Continuing professional development is important to Dr. Green. He is certified by the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE), is a Past-President of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), and has attended every HFES Annual Meeting since 1974. Echoing many BCSP certification advocates, Dr. Green points to the fact that professionals such as doctors and engineers need to continue learning to remain in practice and certification is a way to demonstrate professional commitment. "Jump at opportunities to build up your technical knowledge by attending short courses and professional conferences, participating in professional societies, seeking and maintaining professional certifications, and most importantly, reading technical material - books, journal articles, and conference papers-outside of work" he says.

Safety practice changes, and continuing to learn not only leads to your professional development, but can put you in the position of leading that change.  

Communicating the Value of GSP Qualified Academic Programs  

BCSP collaborates with Qualified Academic Programs (QAP) to provide those programs' graduates the Graduate Safety Practitioner® (GSP) designation, allowing them to sit directly for the Certified Safety Professional® (CSP) examination once they meet its experience requirement. A QAP must also meet certain requirements, and BCSP is committed to sharing the programs' quality with potential students.

BCSP updated the ASP blueprint in 2015 and is now in the process of reviewing its QAPs. QAPs award graduates the GSP because their coursework imparts knowledge that substantially matches the domains and topics of the Associate Safety Professional® (ASP) certification's examination blueprint, required as part of the CSP's accreditation.

"Each time the ASP examination blueprint is updated, BCSP reviews QAPs' equivalency, in accordance with ANSI/ISO 17024 requirements" explains BCSP's Examinations Director, Susan Gould, CSP, ASP, OHST, CHST, STSC. "We appreciate our QAP coordinators and their colleagues for providing us the information required to complete this task, and we show that by bringing these programs to the attention of individuals seeking rewarding careers in the safety profession."

QAPs are listed on the GSP webpage and highlighted in the searchable BCSP Academic Database. BCSP encourages QAPs to share the GSP as an additional reason prospective students should enroll in their program by providing free posters and literature. Use of the GSP logo on program materials is available upon request as well.

Contact BCSP to learn more about taking advantage of these benefits of being a QAP.

In This Issue
Send Us Your News

Consider the BCSP Collegiate
eNewsletter your eNewsletter.

This BC SP eNewsletter is currently published twice annually, at the beginning and end of each academic year.

If you have any SH&E education news ideas, contact Colan Holmes, BCSP Communications Manager.

Newsletters and Annual Reports Archive

BCSP keeps an archive of all of its eNewsletters and Annual Reports. You can view these and other publications in the About BCSP webpage's  resources column. 
BCSP Academic Database

BCSP maintains the Academic Database for those seeking the knowledge required to become an SH&E professional, looking to earn Recertification Points, or to stay knowledgeable of the latest developments in safety practice. 
Promote the Value of Your School 

If your academic program is a Qualified Academic Program, BCSP would like to work with you in making sure individuals seeking quality SH&E education know your school produces future leaders.

Contact Lisa Spencer, BCSP Marketing and Outreach Director, for more information.

BCSP's Toolkit for Advancing the Safety Profession

Banner displays are a great way to promote BCSP certifications and earn Recertification credit. A display is available to any certificate holder for use at chapter meetings, regional or local conferences, career fairs, and other safety-related seminars, meetings, and presentations. BCSP ships to and from any U.S. venue and provides literature at no cost.

If you would like to reserve a display, please fill out the Display and Literature Request Form. Displays are first come, first serve and must be returned.

Presentations on safety certification can also be done for Recertification points, and BCSP has many resources that can be used for presentations, including pre-made PowerPoints, on our Articles and Presentations webpage.

Item writing illustrates your safety knowledge, earning you Recertification points as well. Find out more on our Item Writing webpage.