• Information Date
  • Presented To
  • Speaker(s)
    Edwin G. Foulke Jr.
  • Status
Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

"The Road to Safety"

As Prepared for Delivery
Edwin G. Foulke Jr.
Assistant Secretary of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Frances Perkins Building
Washington, D.C.
Monday, May 7, 2007

Good morning, and welcome, everyone, to the official start of the North American Occupational Safety and Health Week.

This is the 11th anniversary of NAOSH Week. NAOSH Week was launched in June 1997 through an agreement with Canada, the United States and Mexico.

I want to welcome our special guests in the audience: the many young people, including the winners of the American Society of Safety Engineers' annual ASSE Kids' "Safety on the Job" poster contest. It is wonderful to have you here today, and in just a few minutes we are going to put you in the spotlight because I know that you have important things to say about workplace safety and health. I hope you are having a wonderful visit here in Washington, D.C.

I also would like everyone to join me in welcoming my colleagues and co-sponsors of NAOSH Week:
  • Donald Jones Sr., President of the American Society of Safety Engineers, and
  • Andrew Cooper, Secretary of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering.
I appreciate their being here, and in a few minutes we will hear why NAOSH Week is important to them and their distinguished organizations.

Also In our audience is ASSE National Capitol Chairperson Mary Winkler. Mary has been very supportive of NAOSH and OSHA's efforts. Thank-you, Mary.

Also with us today is Carl Schnee, a Turner Construction employee and the ASSE Chapter President in upstate NY. Carl was involved with the first Turner Construction site to achieve recognition in OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs. Welcome, Carl, and welcome to all the Turner employees and family members who are with us today.


I also want to recognize the representatives from our many NAOSH Week supporting organizations who are in the audience. Many of these supporting organizations are participants in OSHA's Alliance Program.

Many of our Alliance Program participants are supporting NAOSH Week in order to demonstrate their commitment to workplace safety and health and are willing to share the NAOSH Week message with their members and the public.

Among these Alliance Program participants, we have in our audience today representatives of -
  • The American Industrial Hygiene Association,
  • Club Managers Association of America,
  • The National Safety Council, and
  • SkillsUSA.
ASSE members and other participants in OSHA's Alliance Program recognize how embracing workplace safety and health helps prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

Our Canadian partner certainly understands this concept. CSSE's Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Week had been observed for ten years before NAOSH Week began.

Now, through NAOSH Week, Canada, Mexico and the United States are combining their experience, enthusiasm and resources. All this week and throughout the year, scores of major organizations across our vast continent will sponsor an international series of events. Our combined efforts will raise awareness of the importance of workplace safety and health, and the value of safety, health and environmental professionals who strive every day to protect North America's working men and women.

Together, we have the opportunity and potential to affect the lives of millions of employees in countless industries by encouraging improved safety and health practices in the workplace every day.


This year the theme of NAOSH Week is "All Modes of Transportation." It reminds us that employers and employees need to be aware of safety and health hazards on the job - particularly for those working in or around motor vehicles. The theme is also a reminder to stay safe while on the job and when commuting to and from work.

OSHA's website offers a Safety and Health Topics page on "Motor Vehicle Safety." There you can find a number of fact sheets and other resources, including a downloadable QuickCard in Spanish and English that describes "Safe Driving Practices for Employees."

Also posted on this webpage is our "Guidelines for Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes," and our training guide, "Operating Motor Vehicles: A Guide for Employees in the Automotive Repair Industry." These guides are products of OSHA's Alliances with
  • the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
  • the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS), and
  • the Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR).
I am pleased to note that CCAR, NHTSA, and NETS are all supporters of NAOSH Week.


All supporters of NAOSH Week recognize how workplace safety and health practices not only save lives but also save jobs.

In recent years many studies have been conducted, and statistics compiled, to link prevention with savings. OSHA has posted some of the best of these studies and data on our website.

Our Safety and Health Topics page, "Making the Business Case for Workplace Safety and Health," is a product of the Alliance Program. Since we launched this page last fall, the site has recorded over 28,000 visits. I hope you will visit our webpage to see the evidence for yourselves, and I am counting on you to share this information during NAOSH Week and throughout the year.


The many young people who are in our audience today remind us, however, that the chief goal of NAOSH Week is priceless:

Every employee who comes home, safe and healthy at the end of the workday, is someone's family member, neighbor, or friend. These young people remind us of three important things:

First, while the details of complying with workplace safety and health standards can sometimes be complex, the goal is simple and straightforward, as you will see in their marvelous, creative and inspirational artwork.

Second, these young people are the reason most of us go to work every day, and they are the reason we are eager to come home safe and healthy. They bring us joy and give us hope for the future.

Third, these young people are the future - tomorrow's working men and women - and so it is never too early to teach the next generation how to stay safe and healthy.


In just a few years, many of the young people in our audience and across our continent will enter the working world through summer jobs. Thousands each year receive their first paycheck this way.

For these new, inexperienced employees, a lot of workplace hazards will be unfamiliar to them. This is why last year OSHA initiated a multi-year campaign to raise awareness of the need to ensure the safety and health of young people working in summer jobs.

Last summer OSHA focused on workplace practices in landscaping. This year, we are focusing on safety in summer jobs in construction where many young people are likely to work during their high school and college years.

In whatever jobs young people will work this summer, they will be entering an important new chapter in their lives as they grow into the next generation of working men and women, so it is important that they develop good work habits from the start.

OSHA's website and several Alliance participant worksites - including Skills USA and ASSE - offer links to information on teen job safety, which echoes the spirit of NAOSH Week.

Now, let us meet some fine representatives of this next generation:


I am happy to see that the winners of the annual ASSE Kids' NAOSH "Safety-on-the-Job" poster contest have the right attitude about safety and health in the working world. The entries are from young people who have someone in their family who is a member of ASSE. This is a great way to focus attention each year on ASSE and NAOSH Week's mission.

I am pleased to present to you the winning posters for 2007 and their talented creators:

Madyson Warren, age 6, from Conehatta, Mississippi.
POSTER: "Think Safe, Be Safe."

Joel Adkins, age 8, from Marengo, Ohio.
POSTER: "Be Careful Around Moving Equipment."

Gabriela Corrigan, age 10, from Denver, Colorado.
POSTER: Safety in Action at the Sugar Beet Factory."

Abby McDaniel, age 11, from New Carlisle, Ohio.
POSTER: "In a factory, you need to wear a helmet and safety glasses."

Deepika Rathna Gandhavalla, age 14, from Muscat, Oman.
POSTER: "Work Safely."

As these posters illustrate with great clarity and power, workplace safety and health is something we can all understand - and something very important to people of all ages.

I would like to invite all the student artists here today to stand up, face the audience, look proud of what you have accomplished, and take a well-deserved bow.


It is now my pleasure to introduce a long-time and long-distinguished engineer with more than 33 years' experience in the petrochemical industry.

For more than 27 years he has built his career at Dow Chemical where he has been a great supporter of OSHA's VPP program and its private industry association of participants, the VPPPA. Over the last decade he served as a Special Government Employee, assisting with OSHA VPP audits and helping companies achieve elite VPP status.

He has dedicated many hours to programs that communicate safety and health messages to young employees, and has been a terrific supporter of OSHA's Teen Summer Job Safety Campaign.

Within ASSE, he is a Society Fellow, the highest honor the society can bestow on its members. I am honored to share this stage with him.

Please join me in welcoming the President of the American Society of Safety Engineers and a co-chairman of NAOSH Week: DON JONES.

* * *

...Thank-you, Don. Now we are going to hear from the National Secretary of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering.

He started his 20-year professional safety career serving the City of London, Ontario. Later, he joined the Industrial Accident Prevention Association where he worked as a senior management system consultant.

Today he is a certified health and safety consultant, a Professional Member of the CSSE, and the National Health and Safety Manager for Acklands-Grainger Inc. in Edmonton, Alberta.

Please join me in welcoming Canada's NAOSH Week Chairperson: ANDREW COOPER.

* * *

Thank-you, Andrew.


Thank-you, everyone, for attending this morning. Congratulations to the poster contest winners and runners-up.

This concludes our NAOSH Week kick-off event here in the Department of Labor, but it is only the beginning of a week-long and year-long effort to promote workplace safety and health.

I want to thank all the organizations that support NAOSH Week this year and every year through your individual activities. Your efforts are saving lives and touching thousands of people in important ways that we can never know. This is a priceless legacy to leave the next generation.

Last year, OSHA developed two tool kits for NAOSH Week supporters to use in their promotions. The tool kit is on the webpages of our co-chairs' organizations. Please use the posters, fact sheets and other materials in the NAOSH Week kit to communicate with employers and employees.

Our celebration of NAOSH Week is just beginning.

Thank-you for coming.

Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.