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Corporation Associates: Industrial safety and the society

by Diane Grob Schmidt, Chair, Committee on Corporation Associates
April 9, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 15


Diane Grob Schmidt.
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography

Founded in 1952, the American Chemical Society’s Board Committee on Corporation Associates provides a formal link between ACS and the chemical and allied industries. Among the committee’s goals are to influence ACS programs, products, and services to meet the needs of chemistry-based enterprises while providing a business and corporate voice for the ACS Board of Directors and across the society.

One area in which Corporation Associates is making a significant impact is in chemical safety. By influencing board actions and partnering with society programs, the committee is working to improve safety awareness throughout the chemistry enterprise and foster competitive advantages in industry by creating a culture of safety.

Chemical companies understand that being safe is the right thing to do. It is cost effective and prevents injuries and damage to health and property. In addition, being safe is environmentally responsible. Green chemistry and engineering can play a role in developing inherently safer technologies.

In December 2016, the ACS Board of Directors adopted safety as one of the society’s core values, recognizing that safety is the responsibility of everyone involved in the chemistry enterprise.

Industrial chemists have historically been charged with minimizing risks while optimizing benefits throughout the product life cycle. This experience makes industrial chemists valued resources in helping guide the society through the implementation of safety as a core value. Because Corporation Associates member companies employ a substantial number of ACS members, the committee looks to these members to help shape its work on chemical safety.

The following are recent activities of the committee.

Organizing the 2018 Safety Summit.

Safety has been an important theme of recent ACS presidential initiatives. ACS President Peter Dorhout started his presidential year with a 2018 ACS Safety Summit. Leaders from Corporation Associates, the Division of Chemical Health & Safety (CHAS), and the Committee on Chemical Safety(CCS) helped organize the event.

The summit provided a unique opportunity for stakeholders, both internal and external to ACS, to share information, resources, and initiatives designed to enhance safety across the chemistry enterprise. The ideas generated during the summit will help guide the society’s future strategy on chemical safety.

For example, participants agreed that ACS should become a premier provider for integrated chemical safety, that safety should be part of every ACS program, and that ACS should advocate for such an approach in all education and outreach activities.

Summit participants also championed the concept of ACS becoming a home for chemical laboratory safety.

Partnering with divisions and other committees.

Working with the Committee on Chemical Safety and the Division of Chemical Health and Safety, Corporation Associates participates in technical programming at national and regional meetings, as well as safety program development.

Corporation Associates provides financial support and expertise throughout the society in support of chemical safety. Specific areas of chemical safety focus are maintaining safety as part of all Corporation Associates conversations, improving safety practices, contributing to integrating safety into society programs, improving safety awareness among new-hire candidates, and leveraging and supporting ACS’s industry efforts to improve safety culture throughout the chemistry enterprise.


Corporation Associates member company representatives have helped develop the CSS documents “Influencing Safety Performance in Academic Institutions, Employer Expectations” and “Identifying Best Chemical Practices.”

Corporation Associates has also provided significant development funds to help create the ACS Online Course in Chemical Safety, which, when launched, will provide a certificate of completion to successful students.

Creating a forum on chemical safety.

Corporation Associates is creating a Forum on Chemical Safety, which will interface with CHAS, CCS, the Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Division (I&EC), the Division of Chemical Education (CHED), and others to bring the industrial point of view to safety discussions within the society. This forum will be freely available and open to all members of ACS and their employers.

In addition, the forum will work with CHAS and others to enhance technical programming with industrial safety input and will reach out to ACS members’ employers to increase safety awareness at their workplaces.

The forum will also meet periodically via conference call and will report its progress to the ACS Board through Corporation Associates.

You can learn more about Corporation Associates at Join the committee and participate in the Forum on Chemical Safety. After all, safety should be a core value for every chemist. Let’s work safe, think safe, and be creative.

Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of C&EN or ACS.


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