Where can you go to learn about the most pressing issues in health and safety today from some of the most grizzled industry veterans? The National Safety Council''s (NSC) annual Congress & Expo in Orlando, Fla., from Oct. 16-18 is a good place to start.
The Congress & Expo is a three-fold event, combining the annual meeting of the Council, educational sessions and the Expo. More than 170 comprehensive and targeted technical sessions and professional development seminars span over three days. Simultaneously, more than 800 national and international vendors and services are on display at the Expo.
NSC President Gerard Scannell will give the opening keynote session address Monday at 8:30 a.m. Scannell will take a look at where the safety industry is headed in the new millennium. Then, attendees will be entertained by The Capital Steps, a troupe of former congressional staffers who satirize the people and places that once employed them.
Technical sessions throughout the day cover such topics as ergonomics, ISO 14001, mine safety, industrial hygiene, fall protection, musculoskeletal disorders and safety signage.
E. Scott Geller, senior partner and safety performance systems professor at Virginia Tech, will look at behavior-based safety for the lone worker at 10 a.m.
Monday afternoon''s keynote address, "Corporate Leaders Forum," will be moderated by 20/20''s John Stossel. A panel of top-level executives will discuss what it takes to have an exemplary safety program from the top, down.
Tuesday''s occupational keynote at 8 a.m., moderated by R. Davis Layne, OSHA deputy assistant secretary, will take a look at OSHA in action. Attendees will hear an update from a panel of OSHA executives on ergonomics, construction standards, enforcement and Voluntary Protection Programs Partnerships.
Morning technical sessions begin at 10 a.m. Ron Preston, vice president, and Michael Topf, president of the Topf Organization explore the key elements and steps necessary to create a shift in an organizations'' culture and in management''s attitudes to reduce the "fear" in maintaining regulatory compliance and reducing injuries.
The afternoon''s plenary sessions include "Worker Restriction Protection in the OSHA Ergonomics Standard: Necessary or a Worker Scam?" A panel of experts will discuss employee safety committees and similar employee involvement programs in this contradictory framework.
"Incident Investigation: Getting Down to the Root," "Emergency Response to a Spill Incident and Recovery," "Traffic Work Zone Safety" and "OSHA Successful Interventions" are among Tuesday''s many technical sessions.
Choose from three plenary sessions on Wednesday at 8 a.m.
Joe Friday, director of the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, will give "just the facts" about how improving weather and long-term climate forecasting capabilities can contribute to public health and safety.
"Concerns for an Aging Workforce" will include a panel of experts discussing the safety concerns and training required for an aging work force in an industrial setting and public employee setting.
The other plenary session will take a look at new federal agency focuses on truck and bus safety. Learn how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to reach its goal of reducing truck and bus fatalities by 50 percent in the next 10 years.
Wednesday''s technical sessions focus on such topics as confined space rescue, indoor air pollution, OSHA training requirements, fatigue, workplace drug testing and forklift training.
At "Workplace Violence and You," speakers will show attendees how understanding the complexities of workplace violence is the key to overcoming the problem. This session addresses how to identify rage buildup, how to cope with it and how to prevent it.
Thirty-three different professional development seminars will take place before and after the conference from Friday, Oct. 13 to Sunday, Oct. 15 and from Thursday, Oct. 19 to Friday, Oct. 20. These daylong workshops feature topics such as "OSHA 10-Hour Program for General Industry," "Incident Investigation: A Management Approach," "OSHA Recordkeeping" and "Safety Management Leadership."
Attendees will also have the chance to browse the convention hall floor and view more than 800 products and services from a variety of vendors during the Expo. Expo hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday, Oct. 16 and Tuesday, Oct. 17, and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18.
For more information, visit NSC''s Web site at www.nsc.org
by Virginia Sutcliffe