National Safety Council

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National Safety Council
Founded July, 1947
Chartered by Congress in 1953
Type 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
Key people Deborah Hersman, President & CEO
Jeff Woodbury, Chairman
Slogan Making our world safer.

The National Safety Council (NSC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nongovernmental public service organization dedicated to protecting life and promoting health in the United States of America. Headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, NSC is a member organization, founded in 1913 and granted a congressional charter in 1953. Members include more than 55,000 businesses, labor organizations, schools, public agencies, private groups and individuals. NSC is nonpolitical and does not contribute to or support any political party or candidate.

NSC focuses on areas where the greatest number of preventable injuries and deaths occur. The areas NSC focuses on include: workplace safety, teen driving, cell phone use while driving and safety in homes and communities.


First Cooperative Safety Congress[edit]

In 1912 the first Cooperative Safety Congress was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The event was sponsored by the Association of Iron and Steel Electrical Engineers. The approximately 200 attendees, representing industry and government, resolved to “organize and create a permanent body devoted to the promotion of the safety to human life in the industries of the United States.[1]

Formation of National Safety Council[edit]

At the Second Safety Congress in 1913, the National Council for Industrial Safety was established. It was headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and Robert W. Campbell served as first president and William H. Cameron served as secretary.[2] The name was changed to National Safety Council in 1914 to reflect the organization's expanded scope to include traffic and home safety. As membership increased, the NSC began producing posters, technical fact sheets, and other publications.[3] In 1953, the U.S. Congress and President Dwight D. Eisenhower recognized the importance of the NSC’s efforts with a Congressional charter to: “…arouse and maintain the interest of the people of the United States… in safety and in accident prevention, and to encourage the adoption and institution of safety methods by all persons, corporations, and other organizations."[4]

Focus areas[edit]

Traffic safety[edit]

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of unintentional injury deaths. NSC has teamed with public and private partners to lead the effort to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries on the road.

Defensive driving[edit]

The National Safety Council has offered defensive driving courses since 1964 was the first approved course in New Jersey and New York.[5]

Fleet safety[edit]

The NSC and its partners have hosted various symposia to bring international attention to the number of fleet driver fatalities that occur and to develop strategies for protecting workers while on the road.

Teen driving[edit]

NSC has a strategy to reduce teen driving motor vehicle fatalities by 30 percent over the next four years. Through education about Graduated Driver Licensing, an education process proven to reduce teen driving fatalities by 20 to 40 percent by gradually exposing teen drivers to higher crash risk situations. GDL puts restrictions on high crash risk factors such as passengers and nighttime driving.

Workplace safety[edit]

NSC is aligned with government agencies, such as OSHA and the Department of Labour, to further strengthen workplace safety and help reduce the number of unintentional injuries and fatalities.


NSC offers training courses for occupational safety and health, driver improvement and emergency care.


NSC brought together multi-national corporate leaders and federal safety experts to establish the nation’s first Off-the-Job Safety Symposium to help bring about a reduction of injury-related fatalities that occur off-the-job.

Home and community safety[edit]

Emergency preparedness/first aid[edit]

The NSC is a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen Corps, a network of organizations and individuals dedicated to raising awareness about the need for preparedness. Since the NSC’s Emergency Care Services program began in 1991, more than 8 million rescuers have been trained in the program.

Elder falls[edit]

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among older adults. The NSC is part of the Falls Free Coalition, which hopes to advance the national action plan among key national stakeholders and build community awareness and support for fall prevention activities among older adults.

Safe Communities America[edit]

As part of the World Health Organization’s Safe Communities program, NSC is a designated Affiliate Safe Communities Support Center and Safe Communities Certifying Center for the United States. Communities apply for the Safe Communities designation by indicating their long-term commitment to the promotion of safety.


Board of Directors and Board of Delegates[edit]

NSC is governed by a Board of Directors and a Board of Delegates. The Board of Directors [1] manages fiduciary and strategic affairs. The Board of Delegates develops the mission agenda, creates public policies, and tracks safety, health and environmental trends. More than 2,000 volunteers, drawn from NSC industry volunteer divisions, assist the boards in determining policies, operating procedures and programs to be developed and implemented by the Council’s professional staff.


The National Safety Council’s network of 40 local Chapters [2] conducts safety, health and environmental efforts at the community level, providing training, conferences, workshops, consultation, newsletters, updates and safety support materials, as well as networking avenues. Located in cities and towns across the United States, the Chapters provide a voice for advocating local safety issues.

Networking and events[edit]

Divisions or Special Interest Groups[edit]

Members of NSC are segmented into Divisions, also known as special interest groups.[3] Division members plan and create programs for the annual NSC Congress & Expo, and participate in discussions of research findings, new concepts, trends, and solutions for safety challenges. Divisions meet twice a year and have ongoing communications. The divisions are Business & Industry, Construction, Highway Traffic Safety, Labor, Motor Transportation, and Utilities. Some divisions are further segmented into sections.

NSC Congress and Expo[edit]

Held each fall, the NSC Congress & Expo [4] attracts between 15,000-18,000 safety and health professionals, plus industry suppliers from around the world. The event showcases the latest safety and health products and services, and provides an opportunity for members to exchange ideas and learn about new safety technologies and training methods. Members attending the annual Congress can also earn continuing education credits by participating in technical sessions and professional development seminars.

National Safety Month[edit]

In 1996 NSC established June as National Safety Month [5] to increase awareness of the leading safety and health risks and ultimately decrease the number of unintentional injuries and deaths. Each week focuses on a specific safety venue: workplace, traffic, home, and community.[6]

See also[edit]

  • Department of Public Safety
  • Robert W. Campbell Award
  • CEOs Who Get It - Every year Safety+Health Magazine recognizes CEOs who have made safety a core value of their organization. CEOs Who "Get It" ensure that best practices for safety and health are adopted consistently throughout their companies. They lead the establishment and measurement of safety initiatives throughout the organization. They create systems that measure and reward employees for their safety performance to drive the desired behavior. CEOs Who "Get It" who have been featured in the National Safety Council's Safety+Health magazine are listed to the right.
  • Rising Stars of Safety - Celebrating the safety leaders of tomorrow, the NSC Rising Stars of Safety program recognizes individuals younger than 40 who have distinguished themselves by improving workplace safety.
    • Does your company have an early- to mid-career employee who has resolved a difficult safety problem?
    • Is there a young safety innovator in your department whose ideas have helped eliminate workplace hazards, reduce exposure and minimize risk?
    • Or has a particular member of your team gone above and beyond to transform your organization’s safety culture?
  • Green Cross Medal for Safety

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ First Co-operative Safety Congress, National Safety Council, Chicago, IL, 1912.
  2. ^ Second Safety Congress of the National Council for Industrial Safety, National Safety Council, Chicago, IL 1913.
  3. ^ Third Annual Safety Congress of the National Safety Council, Chicago, IL, 1914
  4. ^ Transactions of the National Safety Council, Forty-First Annual Safety Congress, Chicago, IL, 1953.
  5. ^ Imhoff, C. "DDC - The First 10 Years." Traffic Safety v.74 no.10, October 1974, pp.8-11,35-37.
  6. ^ "June is National Safety Month." Safety & Health v.153 no.6, June 1996, p.26

External links[edit]