The National Safety Management Society seeks to:

  • Promote the advancement of the safety/loss control function through the application of management principles;
  • Provide educational growth in the philosophy and concepts of the Society relating to the integration of all aspects of safety (error-free performance) into all functions and activities of management;
  • Conduct or sponsor research projects designed to identify new techniques and methods for improving management activities relative to error-free performance; and
  • Assure broad dissemination and implementation of the Society’s philosophy and concepts for enhancement of the safety management profession.

Philosophy

Safety (error-free performance) is an integral part of the responsibilities of every manager and employee in an organization. The major responsibilities are inherent in the responsibilities and authorities of staff and line managers who design and implement the organizational/operational system within which employees must perform.

Safety management then is that function which exists to assist all managers in better performing their responsibilities for operational system design and implementation through either the prediction of management systems deficiencies before errors occur or the identification and correction of management system deficiencies by professional analysis of accidental incidents (performance errors).

The successful implementation of safety/loss control activities requires a clear understanding of all functions and activities of management at all levels in an organization and requires the safety management professional to work knowledgeably and effectively with all managers towards improvement of the total management system.

Mission

The National Safety Management Society endeavors to attain the purpose of the Society with its activities and projects being limited to those which contribute directly or indirectly to the…

  • Educational growth opportunities in the philosophy and concepts of the Society relating to the integration of all aspects of safety (error-free performance) into all functions and activities of management;
  • Periodic opportunity for participating in specialized training programs sponsored or conducted by the Society designed to impart the necessary knowledge and develop the skills required to implement organizational safety programs consistent with the concepts and philosophy of the Society;
  • Results of the Society’s research activities in terms of research findings and methods of application in current programs;
  • Professional assistance and an opportunity for exchange of information among safety managers;
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  • All organizational managers with education and assistance in accomplishing their responsibilities for safety (error-free performance);
  • National recognition for outstanding achievement or contributions in the management and safety management professions;
  • Recognition for Society members as participants in a unique professional management-oriented organization.

Remembering the Early Years

Over three decades have passed since a group of “challenged” safety “people” decided they had a vision for the future based upon a philosophy that made sense. While putting together a special anniversary booklet, memories of the past flowed fast as existing files were searched for information to include.

When I enrolled in the “Value Management” course taught by two instructors listed as William C. Pope and Thomas Creswell, little did I realize what the future would hold. The philosophy and concepts expounded by the two instructors — each a principal safety director of his respective department — was so facinating and “down-to-earth” that the students found themselves beginning the thought process of how to further such an approach to accident prevention.

Those weekly sessions were attended by several of the seven founders of “the movement:” Trenton Crow, Hal Gordon, Charles Grundmann, and myself. As the enthusiasm grew, planning sessions took place, leading up to the “formal” first meeting on September 28, 1966. I was elected Chairman.

Our vision sustained through the years

The original organization, called then the “Safety Management Association,” was formed to promote the advancement of the safety function through application of management principles. It’s purpose then, as it is today, was to provide a medium of communication to encourage the development of information and the application of techniques to advance the degree of professionalism of safety management. It provided a favorable environment to encourage the contribution of all academic and managerial disciplines for the purpose of promoting safety as a truly integrated management function.

Growth in vision and interest

As interest in our philsophy and goals increased, so too did the potential for an expanded organization. That meant consideration of a name that was reflected a more “professional” and geographic purpose. We first decided to call the organization the American Safety Management Society…to be later changed to the National Safety Management Society, and formal incorporation within the District of Columbia took place in 1968 as a non-profit [501(c)(3)] corporation.

The seven of us were restricted by little or no funds, but with great expectations. We knew we had something that was practical and workable, We were so convinced of this that we didn’t want to “loose control” of the philosophy. For several years we restricted membership to people in the Washington, D.C., area! However, as word spread, and safety professionals learned of the Society, we “branched out” and began the growth process.

Back to the future

Today, over three decades later, the NSMS continues to fulfill its original purpose. As with any organization, regardless of size, there are “ups #038; downs.” NSMS has had its share of peaks and valleys. Some days are filled with frustrations; others with excitement!

Thanks to a deep belief in the potential for our philosophy making a significant contribution to reducing losses due to what we call “accidents,” the spark remains. Reading the letters received from some of the “older” members brought back great memories. But, it pointed out a more important fact: “The best kept secret in the profession” has lasting qualities. As long as there’s a challenge; as long as there are professionals seeking challenging approaches to their mission, all of the efforts are worth the time.

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