As safety professionals, we are accustomed to working in concert with established standards. The Code of Professional Conduct is the standard for ASSE members, approved by the Board of Directors and House of Delegates. The Fundamental Principles and Fundamental Canons provide the guidance necessary to ensure that we exercise our duty to the profession with integrity, honor and dignity.

The Code was updated and approved by the Board of Directors in March 1999 and subsequently approved by the House of Delegates. The Code was changed to reflect measurable actions focused on ethical practices. The intent of the changes was to help all members better relate to the Code of Professional Conduct and to assist the Professional Conduct Committee in their difficult deliberations.

I will review the Principles and Canons with you, after which Allen Macenski will address the legal implications, and Phil Ulmer will conclude with a review of how the Code applies to ethics in the safety profession. Now, let's look at the fundamental principles and canons.

Fundamental Principles
1. Protectpeople, property and the environment through the application of state-of-the-art knowledge.

As we go about the practice of our profession on a daily basis, we are obliged to apply state-of-the-art knowledge to the services we provide and the advice that we give. While we can learn from past practices, we cannot dwell on them. As leaders, we must always be contemporarily challenged and utilize the most current methods available to protect people, property and the environment.

2. Serve the public, employers, employees and clients with fidelity, honesty and impartiality.

As we deal with people in our professional capacities, it is incumbent upon us to be open, honest and impartial. Our advice and decisions should be fact-based and not encumbered by emotion. What is best to protect people, property and the environment? That is the primary question to answer. We should avoid telling people what we think they want to hear. To do otherwise could lead to a loss of credibility, not only for the individual, but for the profession as a whole.

3. Achieve and maintain competency in the practice of the profession.

It is imperative that we each maintain currency in our areas of expertise. With the rapid and vast changes that we see in today's business world, we must make every effort to keep the cutting edge knowledge of our profession at our fingertips. The advancement of our profession is contingent upon our individual competencies.

4. Avoid conflicts of interest and compromise of professional conduct.

The integrity that we display in the performance of our duties speaks volumes about our profession. To be effective, we cannot compromise our professional conduct for "political" reasons or personal gain. We must work fervently to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest that could cast a cloud over the integrity of our individual performance, as well as that of our profession.

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