President, National Safety Council
at the 2nd biennial
United States/European Union Occupational Safety and Health Conference
San Francisco, Ca.
November 15, 2000
Good morning. On behalf of the united states industry delegation, I want to welcome you to this conference.
I am very much looking forward to our sharing of ideas to improve workplace safety and health.
Two years ago at our meeting in luxembourg, everyone in the united states delegation agreed that the conference was very valuable to us.
It enabled us to develop new relationships and exchange ideas among ourselves and with our counterparts from the european union.
We also agreed that we needed to keep the spirit of that meeting alive.
We have done that to some extent, at least within the u.S. Delegation, by corresponding and discussing certain issues from time to time.
We will be discussing a different set of issues this time. I believe that even within the united states delegation, there are different views on some of these issues.
However, I view any difference in views as a positive to this meeting.
And despite the possibility of some disagreement on some issues, I believe we all agree on at least three things.
First, we agree that this process of information exchange is a terrific process. The opportunity to learn about best practices from labor, government and industry representatives from the united states and europe is an opportunity that most of us do not often have in our careers.
Second, we agree that we come to this meeting with an open heart and an open mind. We are leaving our biases outside the door. We are genuinely and sincerely interested in understanding other's positions - especially when they are different than our own.
And finally, we share the hope that at the conclusion of this meeting, we can develop something tangible to build on.
I hope that we might develop a framework for taking what we have learned and putting this knowledge into some form of action that will lead to enhanced worker safety and health.
I recall that one of america's founding fathers, benjamin franklin once said, "Do not confuse activity with results".
When it comes to worker safety and health, that is one confusion I don't ever want to have.
Again, thank you for coming and I look forward to understanding all of your perspectives on the issues before us.