IEEE Forms Product Safety Engineering Society
An IEEE News Release

The IEEE Board of Directors, upon recommendation of the Technical Activities Board (TAB), approved formation of the IEEE Product Safety Engineering Society (PSES) at their meeting on Sunday, June 22 in Nashville, Tennessee. This action brings the total number of IEEE societies to 38. This new society targets product safety professionals and design engineers from around the world interested in product safety. It will begin formal operation 1 January 2004. Membership starts with the 2003 renewal package for existing IEEE members who may select membership in the PSES as one of their options. Others wishing to join the society may do so upon joining the IEEE.

The IEEE Product Safety Engineering Society will address safety engineering for equipment and devices used in the scientific, engineering, industrial, commercial and residential arenas. It will allow safety engineers and other technical professionals an opportunity to discuss and disseminate information, enhance professional skills, and to provide outreach to other engineers, students and professionals with an interest in the field. It also will encourage cooperative promotion and coordination of product safety engineering activities with other IEEE Societies and with non-IEEE groups.

According to Daniece Carpenter, a co-chair of the IEEE Technical Activities Board Product Safety Committee that helped form this group, this new society fills a void in the electrical and electronics engineering fields. "While product safety has been addressed in various committees over the years, there has not been a widely accepted professional organization solely devoted to product safety engineering as a discipline. Now IEEE has established a home for this important technical field."

Jack Burns, also a co-chair of the Product Safety Steering Committee said, "The EMC Society played an instrumental role in establishing this new society. The idea began with the formation of an ad hoc group in Santa Clara, California in 1988. That group was redirected in their first attempt to join IEEE, and was adopted by the Product Safety Technical Committee (TC-8) of the EMC Society, which has supported and nurtured the group since the early 1990s. The EMC-PSTC list-server is a tangible reflection of the interest generated by that alliance. In 2001, the group decided that with over 1000 list-server participants and a history of Product Safety Workshops held at EMC Society Symposia, critical mass had been achieved and it was time to restart the effort for a new society. The EMC Society supported that effort and helped initiate the successful approach to IEEE TAB.

Mark Montrose, an EMCS Board of Directors member, and a participant in the Product Safety Committee presentations to IEEE-TAB, is one of the original California members of the ad hoc group and has participated in its activities since its inception. According to Mark, "Fifteen years of effort has finally come to fruition. It's a fantastic feeling knowing a goal that was extremely difficult to achieve has become a reality - spinning off PSTC from TC-8 into a new society. It is an honor to work with other dedicated professionals to provide a home for product safety engineers worldwide. It was especially gratifying since the usual route to forming a society within IEEE is to first form a Council. Through the support and mentoring of the EMC Society and the New Technology Direction Committee of TAB, we were able to form a society which is more appropriate to represent our members than a Council."

IEEE PSES will become a member of Division VI, which consists of other Societies and Councils having a similar broad interest. The EMC Society resides in Division IV. When the new society begins operation, a 12-member transitional Board of Directors (BOD) will operate with six BOD members from other IEEE Societies and Councils appointed by the IEEE Division Directors forum. The remaining six members will be appointed by TAB upon recommendation by the IEEE TAB Product Safety Steering Committee. During a 3-year transitional period, appointed directors will be replaced by elected ones resulting in a fully elected board starting 1 January 2007. This form of management will bring experienced IEEE Directors knowledgeable with the politics of IEEE to this new society on their first day of operation. This three-year transitional period will also be a training session for those committed to ensuring a successful new society.
The IEEE Product Safety Engineering Society plans to continue working with the IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Society, along with other IEEE Societies, and will maintain a close relationship with TC-8, which will finally have an opportunity to refocus their efforts on product safety implications of electromagnetic compatibility.

IEEE members may join the society during the 2003 renewal period at EMC

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