EHS Management, Personnel Safety

ASSP Expects its Biggest Annual Meeting

The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) expects its annual Safety 2024 Professional Development Conference and Expo to be its largest event ever, the ASSP announced May 29.

The group’s annual workplace safety education event is scheduled for August 7–9 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. The group’s largest conference and exposition to date was Safety 2019 in New Orleans, which featured more than 600 vendors and covered nearly 120,000 square feet. With more than two months of preparation remaining, Safety 2024 is already approaching those record numbers, according to the ASSP.

The exposition floor will include an expanded ASSP Career Advancement Center designed for all attendees, not just those seeking a new position. There will also be a “Leaders in Safety Tech” area, where exhibitors will demonstrate their product offerings. Three locations on the exposition floor will feature “flash sessions,” covering safety challenges with research results, best practices, and audience participation.

“Our expo is so engaging and illuminating that some safety and health professionals just come to the conference for that,” ASSP President Jim Thornton said in a statement.

The annual conference is in its 63rd year. The ASSP was founded in 1911 as the United Association of Casualty Inspectors months after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which killed 146 garment workers. The group is a nonprofit with a global membership of over 35,000 safety and health professionals.

Corporate Listening Tour report released

On May 13, the ASSP announced the release of its latest Corporate Listening Tour report, which contains feedback from executives on industrial safety and health concerns.

Key findings of the group’s listening tour include:

  • Focus on What Matters: Prioritize the prevention of serious injuries and fatalities over minor incidents to avoid spreading resources too thin. Prioritizing might mean accepting a slight increase in less severe incidents, but it’s ultimately about spending valuable time and resources where they count the most, according to corporate leaders.
  • Manage Workforce Changes and Safety Priorities: Keeping everyone safe becomes more challenging due to unpredictable shifts in the workforce and a shortage of skilled labor. High turnover and the struggle to attract and keep good employees increase the risk of incidents and employee burnout. Occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals must influence how new employees are trained and provide input on retention strategies.
  • Embrace OSH-Related Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI): Technology, particularly AI, is constantly reshaping the safety and health profession. Technology both offers opportunities for safety improvements and introduces new risks. OSH professionals should focus on using AI to enhance safety while ensuring their organizations don’t neglect traditional safety practices that have proven effective.
  • Manage Cultural Shifts and Governance in Uncertain Times: Economic and political uncertainties affect how businesses operate. OSH professionals can drive changes in organizational culture, ensuring leaders take accountability for safety, and demonstrate the importance of safety and health even in uncertain times.
  • Empower Influential OSH Leaders in the Changing Workplace: OSH professionals must maintain their technical skills and certifications while seeking organizational support to become better leaders who can drive operational excellence.

“The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that nearly 5,500 fatal work injuries occurred in 2022–-a 5.7% increase from the previous year. This means a worker died every 96 minutes. That’s simply not acceptable. On-the-job fatalities and serious injuries are preventable,” ASSP CEO Jennifer McNelly, who led the listening tour, said in a statement.

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