ASSP honors Bobick for work on safety standards

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) has named Thomas G. Bobick the recipient of the 2024 Thomas F. Bresnahan Standards Medal for his extensive work in developing and advocating voluntary national consensus standards in occupational safety and health, including a groundbreaking heat stress management standard that is expected to save many lives.

Bobick, Ph.D., P.E., CSP, CPE, is a safety engineer and ergonomist who is president of Bobick & Associates Consulting in Spokane Valley, WA. His wide range of practical experience covers more than 50 years in safety and health research with the federal government, including two decades of ergonomics research.

For the past three years, Bobick served as chair of the A10.50 subcommittee that wrote the first voluntary national consensus standard on heat stress for workers in construction and demolition operations. ASSP published the new standard in February. Hundreds of thousands of workers face outdoor hazards such as high heat and humidity.

“Workers have died from exposure to excessive heat, but there is no federal regulation focused on heat stress,” said John Johnson, CSP, chair of the ANSI/ASSP A10 standards committee on safety in construction and demolition operations. “Tom’s leadership on this important initiative was invaluable. The new standard outlines industry best practices and proven solutions to protect workers who do strenuous jobs in challenging conditions.”

As a 20-year member of the A10 committee, Bobick has been directly involved in 10 safety standards subcommittees that have addressed workplace risks such as falls from height, musculoskeletal problems and hearing loss. He also was a member of the ASSP Standards Development Committee for four years.

Bobick worked for 19 years at the U.S. Bureau of Mines and the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and 33 years at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). His mining areas of focus included ventilation studies, noise abatement, methane gas control to eliminate underground explosions, and the redesign of tasks to reduce upper extremity and low-back injuries. With NIOSH, Bobick was involved in safety projects in meatpacking, wood products manufacturing, apple harvesting, residential construction and warehousing.

Bobick was the project officer for a team of NIOSH researchers who designed a new guardrail system in residential construction. The patented system was lab and field tested for more than five years, and is now a life-saving commercial product that has prevented workers from sliding off steep-sloped roofs.

“Tom’s entire career has been focused on preventing worker injuries and fatalities through consensus standards development, process modifications and equipment redesigns,” Johnson said. “He understands that government regulations are slow to change and often out of date, so federal compliance is not sufficient to protect workers. With his enthusiasm and tenacity, Tom has helped get key standards created or updated in a timely manner.”

Bobick will be honored at ASSP’s Safety 2024 Professional Development Conference and Exposition, held Aug. 7-9 in Denver. The global event will bring together thousands of safety professionals to learn about best practices, industry trends and the latest product innovations in workplace safety and health.

The Thomas F. Bresnahan Standards Medal recognizes an ASSP member who actively participates in developing voluntary national consensus standards that advance worker safety. The award is named in honor of Thomas F. Bresnahan, a former ASSP staff member and Fellow who reinvigorated the Society’s standards development program and helped position the organization for growth in this strategic area.

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