OHS Canada Magazine

National Safety Council president urges U.S. businesses to speak up

Protests continue across nation following murder of George Floyd


June 2, 2020
By OHS Canada
OHS Canada
Categories
Health & Safety
Human Resources

Lorraine M. Martin is the president and CEO of the National Safety Council in the U.S. (Submitted)

The president and CEO of the National Safety Council (NSC) — a non-profit safety association in the Itasca, Ill. — released a statement on June 2 in the wake of the protests occurring in the wage of George Floyd’s murder on May 25.

The statement is a call to action for employers across the U.S. as the country faces national strife in the midst of a global pandemic.

“In this moment, all of us at the National Safety Council and organizations across the nation are forced to ask once more what it means to truly keep people safe,” said Lorraine Martin, president and CEO of the NSC.

“We must strive not only to ensure physical safety, but to create an environment where everyone feels secure and welcome.”

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The question is especially significant in U.S. communities of colour that continue to face painful, systemic inequities, she said.

“Each of us has a role to play in enabling those around us to live their fullest lives with dignity and respect. We must open hearts and minds to acknowledge the pain as well as the work it will take to address it.”

Role of employers

“I believe that business leaders have an important role in this critical conversation,” said Martin. “As the face and conscience of our organizations, we have an obligation to recognize and respond to systemic social challenges, to participate in and encourage open dialogue that ensures everyone is heard and represented.”

All employees and citizens deserve support to live in freedom, she said, and leaders’ voices must provide guidance within our institutions and across our country.

“To that end, I call on my fellow business leaders to use your voice,” said Martin. “Include a strong inclusion and diversity platform that considers persons of all backgrounds as part of a post-quarantine re-opening strategy and training plan for employees.”

“For those who already have strong practices in place, share your best practices with others. This is the right time for a reset.”

Having an inclusion and diversity mindset at work can inspire employees to take messages around respect and belonging home to their loved ones, she said.

“This moment requires all of us — and especially business leaders — to be catalysts for positive and lasting change that will protect all people from the workplace to anyplace.”