In 1911 the United Society of Casualty Inspections was formed in New York and in 1914 its name changed to American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). In 1924 ASSE joined the National Safety Council as its Engineering Section and during the late 1940’s repositioned itself as an independent organization. At this time there were several ASSE members from the Milwaukee area who were attempting to form a chapter in Wisconsin. They were successful and the first ASSE meeting was held in Milwaukee on February 25, 1949. A charter for the Wisconsin chapter was received from ASSE headquarters on April 10, 1950, which created the Milwaukee Chapter.
The Milwaukee Chapter continued to meet regularly with growth and achievements. At a chapter’s meeting, June 26, 1961, the constitution was amended to change the name from the Milwaukee Chapter to the Wisconsin Chapter. Currently our chapter’s membership approximates 325, which for the most part, is spread throughout southeastern Wisconsin.
In the late 1970’s our chapter assisted in the formation of the Northeast section and within several years it became the Nicolet Chapter. Their current membership resides in the surrounding Green Bay-Appleton area. With our chapter’s support, the Badgerland Chapter was formed during the mid 1990’s. Its current membership is concentrated in the Madison area and its adjacent counties. Also, in the early 1980’s our chapter helped to create a student section at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, which is now a student chapter with about 70 members.
In 2017, society members, customers and stakeholders indicated a need for branding to reflect the organization’s current membership and eliminate confusion about who could join the society. In June of 2018, the American Society of Safety Engineers was rebranded as the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), which better reflects the diversity of the 37,000+ members worldwide and the disciplines that make up the dynamic occupational safety and health community.
In the early 1980’s, with the support of MSOE, our chapter and MSOE co-sponsored a 2½ – day CSP refresher seminar, which was held annually into the mid 1990’s. The seminar was so successful that ASSE headquarters utilized it as a pattern for developing their similar nationwide seminar.
To assist our members in becoming CSPs, our chapter purchased study materials and has coordinated study groups. For those with CSPs, our chapter along with help from Alverno College developed and sponsored two ½ day seminars, which started in the late 1980’s. The seminars were held annually into the early 2000’s and covered OSHA and other safety compliance issues, with both seminars issuing Continuing Education Credits (CEU’s).
In 2008, our chapter partnered with Milwaukee’s OSHA office by co-sponsoring their annual OSHA Safety Day held at WCTC’s Pewaukee Campus. The seminar was an outreach activity for OSHA and concentrated on training employees from smaller manufacturing companies. OSHA provided the speakers for specific OSHA topics and the Wisconsin Chapter provided speakers for general safety management topics, such as accident investigation, workers’ compensation and safety committees’ best practices. With nearly 300 employees attending, the annual event was successful.
In 2019, following the success of the earlier half day seminars and the OSHA Safety Day, the “Risk, Health and Safety for All” Professional Development Conference (PDC) was developed to create a local conference that provides topics for both general industry and construction as well for both the seasoned safety professional and the non-safety professional. The 1.5 day PDC is a collaboration of local, state, and national groups led by the ASSP Wisconsin Chapter which also provides CEUs to participants.
The Wisconsin Chapter is not just about running technical meetings, seminars and preparing for certifications, we also have fun. Since the mid 1990’s our annual golf outing has attracted upwards of 80 members and guests and we also find time to offer multiple community-based networking opportunities throughout the year.