The Northwest Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers had its beginning in November, 1941, when a group of safety engineers formed an association known as the Casualty Safety Engineers of Minnesota. Regular meetings were held monthly through May of 1943.
In January, 1943, another group of safety engineers not affiliated with insurance companies formed an association known as the Minnesota Society of Safety Engineers. This group drew its members from qualified safety engineers, regardless of business sector.
On June 9, 1943, a joint meeting of the Casualty Safety Engineers of Minnesota and the Minnesota Society of Safety Engineers was held in Minneapolis, with the purpose of proposing formation of a chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers, Engineering Section of the National Safety Council. A model constitution and bylaws conforming to the requirements of ASSE were adopted. Officers of the new organization were elected; they were:
- Chairman: Burton A. French – Marsh & McLennan
- Vice-Chairman: H. S. Lee – Travelers Insurance Company
- Secretary: J. A. Elsberg – Anchor Casualty Company
- Treasurer: Clarence Dow – Northern States Power Company
On June 13, 1943, a formal chapter application was made to the American Society of Safety Engineers. Chapter status was granted on August 2, 1943.
Over the years the Chapter has undertaken numerous professional safety and health projects beneficial to its members and the public. Successful seminars and workshops continue to be held. The first seminars were held at the University of Minnesota, which cosponsored them. The Chapter was one of the first ASSE chapters to sponsor a Junior Achievement Safety Program. Chapter members regularly serve on the committees of national, state, and local safety, health, ergonomics, and fire protection agencies and organizations.
The Northwest Chapter is located in ASSE Region V Area 1 and serves a geographical area that includes:
- North Dakota (Northern Plains Section)
- South Dakota
- Minnesota, and
- 22 counties in Wisconsin: Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Iron, Jackson, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, St. Croix, Taylor, Trempealeau, and Washburn.
Student sections at the University of Minnesota Duluth and the University of Wisconsin – Stout are affiliated with the Chapter.
The Chapter membership currently includes approximately 800 members.