While its effects are ongoing, the lesson of 2020 is simple: we can never take safety, or safety professionals, for granted.
The once-in-a-generation global pandemic has become the nation’s leading cause of death, made our roads more dangerous, and forced seismic change in workplaces everywhere. Last year forced our national attention on areas of society that had been neglected for far too long, from chronic underinvestment in public and mental health to the recognition that safety is often the privilege of a few, not a right enjoyed equitably by all — while traditional safety risks persisted.
We faced each obstacle and embraced every opportunity just as we always do: following the data, identifying best practices, and readying for the next safety issue. You can read more in the pages that follow about the Council’s work to:
- Realign for maximum impact. Guided by our strategic plan, we created three distinct practice areas — workplace, roadway, and impairment — which led the Council’s massive COVID-19 response effort and will guide us beyond the pandemic to navigate the future world of work.
- Lead employers in the absence of uniform COVID-19 safety guidance. The Council launched Safe Actions for Employee Returns (SAFER), a national task force with dozens of Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, public health, and government experts to provide employers with emergency playbooks and safety resources to help protect their workers throughout the pandemic and in a post-quarantine world.
- Elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion in our lifesaving mission. In partnership with community leaders, we are more intentionally recognizing and confronting systemic safety disparities and inequities. This includes broadening our definition of safety to include the notion that one cannot be safe unless they feel safe.
- Provide best-in-class training and education to help save lives. Traditional safety risks never paused, and neither did NSC. We quickly pivoted to a virtual environment so organizations and individuals could reduce injuries, build a safety culture, and stay compliant as in-person learning was severely limited.
- Remain America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate. We are grateful to the individuals, corporations, and foundations who contributed $3.2 million in philanthropic donations in 2020 to make a difference in people’s lives. We reinvest every dollar we raise, along with revenue from our training offerings and resources, back into our lifesaving mission.
We are proud to continue our century-long legacy of providing thought leadership, resources, research, and advocacy to safety leaders and organizations as they find their place in a drastically altered landscape. Whatever shape the future world of work takes, the National Safety Council will be there to lead the way, from the workplace to anyplace.