The National Safety Council is sad to announce the passing of its longtime colleague Joseph M. Kaplan, known to many as "Mr. Safety." On May 6, Mr. Kaplan passed away; he was 95 years old.
Mr. Kaplan was a life-long friend of NSC. He served the Council in many capacities for more than 60 years, including such roles as chairman of the NSC Public Safety Education committee, member of the NSC board of directors and a member of the team that led NSC to be granted a U.S. Congressional Charter in 1953.
Mr. Kaplan was the first employee and president of the Southern California Chapter of NSC. He was instrumental in building awareness for safety belt use through the "Buckle Up for Life Challenge," a program that combined a unique coalition of media, local government, employers and community groups. He also was one of the founders of the Operation Safety program.
Since his initial involvement with the Los Angeles Safety Council in 1936, Mr. Kaplan was a pioneer in the creation of safety education films for the public and industry. In the 1950s, he served on the White House Commission for Traffic Safety under President Eisenhower and was the first safety council manager to serve as chairman of the Conference of State and Local Safety Organizations of the U.S. and Canada.
In 2004, NSC established the Joseph M. Kaplan Safe Driver of the Year Award. The award pays tribute to Kaplan's life-long dedication to traffic safety and recognizes outstanding drivers throughout the country who have driven a significant number of miles/years behind the wheel without incurring a preventable accident.
Among his many achievements, Mr. Kaplan received the ASSE J. Wesley Gebb Memorial Award in 2005 and was made a fellow of the Institute for the Advancement of Engineering in Los Angeles.
Mr. Kaplan was a friend to many at the National Safety Council and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.