The World Safety Organization (WSO) was founded in 1975 as a result of an international conference, organized by the Safety Organization of the Philippines Inc. (SOPI), in Manila, Philippines. There were over 1,ooo delegates from over 20 countries represented at that conference (Thailand, USA, Japan, Australia, China, Iran, Singapore, Spain, Nigeria, Sweden, Iraq, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Papua New Quinea, Philippines, Hong Kong, and others). On that occasion the conference delegates agreed on the need for an international exchange of information, programs, new research methods, and data, in the areas of safety, environment, and all associated fields.
Dr. Emiliano Camarillo, one of the SOPI’s board members, was the Chairman of the above conference and later was confirmed as the first WSO President-Director General. The charter members of the WSO Board of Directors were representatives from all continents.
In 1975 the WSO was incorporated as a not-for-profit, non-governmental, non-religious, civic entity in the Philippines, and started to work with safety professionals around the world on the promotion of the organization, development of programs, etc. Conferences, seminars, congresses, and small classes/courses were given through the years in the Pacific Rim Countries. The purpose of the organization was to protect people, property, resources, and the environment; to promote safety; and, of course, to work toward the goal to “Make Safety a Way of Life.”
During the first 10 years of the operation, approximately 7,000 WSO individual memberships were awarded. There were no services/benefits provided at that time for the WSO members. A single issue of the World Safety Journal was published in 1984 for attendees of the conference held in Manila, Philippines. Based on the information provided by Dr. Camarillo, there were no “renewals of membership” requested from the WSO members. Funds for the office operation were provided from the successful conferences and seminars.
In 1985 Dr. Glenn E. Hudson, at that time a private consultant (loss control) and a retiree from the U.S. military service after 28 plus years, participated at the Asian Safety Educational Conference organized in Manila, Philippines. During that visit the WSO Board of Directors nominated Dr. Hudson, and later confirmed him, as a Chairman of the WSO Certification Board.
The first WSO Certification Board was established in 1975, but only the general program outline was completed under the pro-term chairmanship of Dr. Frederic Baldwin.
In 1985 the WSO Certification Board was fully established under the leadership of Dr. Hudson as the Chairman of the WSO Certification Board, incorporated as the Missouri not-for-profit corporation.
When the WSO certification program was transferred to the U.S.A., the complete operation of the WSO had to be brought up to standards of other professional organizations as they exist in industrialized countries. Membership brochures were designed and published, members of the certification board were appointed and confirmed, certification standards and requirements were designed, and the certification program was completed and presented to the professionals and practitioners in the fields of safety, environment, security, public health, transportation, construction, and all of the allied disciplines which the WSO brings together. The WSO Certification programs are being periodically reviewed and updated to incorporate all of the changing needs of the safety, environmental, and occupational community.
To further increase promotion of the WSO program and to achieve better contact with the new members, the WSO began to publish the WSO News-Letter, WSO Tech-Letter, and the World Safety Journal.
During the 1986 conference in Manila, Philippines, Dr. Camarillo, who wished to retire, nominated Dr. Hudson to the position of the Vice President-Deputy Director General. Dr. Hudson would take over the leadership of the organization in 1987 during the 4th World Safety and Accident Prevention Congress, which was held in Anaheim, California.
WSO World Management Center was established in the U.S.A. to assist with the administrative management of the organization under the leadership of the Chief Executive Officer.
In 1987 the WSO received the Consultative Status, Category II (non-governmental), with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. At that time, 157 Missions of the United Nations were awarded Honorary Membership in the WSO for their support of the WSO programs.
In 1987 the first WSO Division was established in the transportation safety field, comprised of the Maritime, Highway, Rail, and Aviation Committees. At present, there are three WSO Divisions, several committees, numerous chapters, and national offices throughout the world.
To insure the undisturbed continuity of programs and unified leadership, the complete administration of the organization was moved to the U.S.A., first to Doniphan, Missouri, and then in 1988 to Warrensburg, Missouri. As there was not enough support for the international administration in the rural area of Southeast Missouri, Warrensburg, with its proximity to Kansas City, was selected.
Programs developed in the following years, including member networking, promotion of new programs, support in establishment of new safety groups, international and national conferences, chapters and divisions/committees, and national offices.
In 1989 the new WSO Board of Directors was confirmed and the Board’s first meeting was in Warrensburg, Missouri, during the WSO Regional Conference for Americas. At that time Dr. Hudson accepted another term of the presidency of the WSO, but a change was included in the WSO By-Laws and Constitution to limit the re-appointment of the WSO President-Director General to three consecutive terms. Some other changes were confirmed as well. Possibly the most important change was the change of operation in the Philippines to the WSO Philippine Islands Chapter. There was no apparent benefit to keep the operation in the Philippines as part of the administrative body, as the economical, political, and staffing problems would be eliminated by changing the operation into the operation of the Chapter. More recently, the WSO Philippine Island Chapter was re-assigned as the WSO International Office for the Philippines.
There are now several thousands of national and international companies, corporations, and other entities, which have received the WSO Honorary Membership for the support they provide for their employees by paying their WSO dues. There are also several organizations holding the “WSO Organizational Membership” in the WSO, which, together with the “WSO Institutional Membership,” brings to the WSO universities and research institutes, national and international associations, societies, organizations, and covers additional scores of members.
The WSO has set up offices, recruited personnel, and provides facilities to pool technological and methodological knowledge in the health, safety, environmental, and accident prevention fields worldwide in order to share this wealth of information.
The WSO is undergoing a strong growth period. With individual referrals and recommendations from the WSO members, there is a continuous growth of the membership and a pool of professionals seeking the WSO certifications. One of the latest WSO programs is directed toward professionals seeking the WSO certifications, and toward the new generations of the professionals and practitioners of safety and accident prevention: the students of the safety and environmental programs of various universities in the U.S.A and other countries.
The WSO’s purpose is to internationalize all safety fields including occupational and environmental safety & health, accident prevention movement, etc., and to disseminate throughout the world the practices, skills, arts, and technologies of the safety and accident prevention fields.