Celebrating the National Safety Council's First Century

Chicago's McCormick Place once again will host one of the world's largest conferences for environmental, health, and safety professionals.

As autumn 2013 approaches, the Windy City is a great place to be. The National Safety Council is preparing to welcome workplace safety and health professionals from around the world to Chicago for its annual Congress & Expo, one of the largest such meetings of the year.

Whether you're an exhibitor, presenter, or attendee, the Sept. 28-Oct. 4 event offers many chances to network, learn, examine new products, evaluate industry trends, and take back knowledge and techniques applicable to practically any industry.

Last year, more than 12,000 people attended the event in Orlando, Fla. -- a 26 percent increase from the year before, and this year's number is expected to be at least as high. The 2013 event is especially unique because it is part of the National Safety Council’s Centennial Celebration. The council estimates 6 million lives have been saved during its first century by the collaborative efforts of people working to save lives and prevent injuries.

Expo & Educational Highlights
For many, the main attraction at this event is the expo. With about 190,000 square feet to fill inside Chicago's McCormick Place, the more than 850 booths will be a great way to swap ideas with others in the industry. Because there are so many booths to navigate, NSC's online tools are imperative to maximizing your expo experience. With an interactive floor plan and exhibitor list & search function, navigating the expo floor has never been easier, and plotting and organizing a schedule is easy.

The online tools available at also can help visitors find the best educational sessions, speeches, and events to attend. Many of the sessions concern leadership, management, and culture. With the session search option, attendees can narrow down their educational choices and quickly search options by keyword, track, date, format, speaker, session type, and participation level (introductory, intermediate, or advanced). With about 160 options, it is best to choose sessions in advance, allowing for plenty of expo time, as well.

The 160 options include 130 technical sessions that were selected by a team with hands-on knowledge about the industry and its trends and challenges, according to the council. The remaining 30 are Professional Development Seminars that focus on attendees' professional growth and improving skills for the future.

The initial keynote session starts at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, in McCormick Place West's Skyline Ballroom. It will be opened by council President and CEO Janet Froetscher and NSC Board of Directors Chairman Kent McElhattan, with keynote speaker Mark Kelly. Kelly was the commander for the final mission of NASA’s space shuttle Endeavor and is the husband of Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who survived a gunshot wound following an assassination attempt in January 2011. This session, "Leading Safety into the Future," is one to mark for your calendars.

This isn't the only keynote worth attending, though. There are three more on Tuesday and one more on Wednesday that will offer insight into the industry's progress and development, injury prevention, and prescription drug abuse in the workplace; these keynotes range from a town hall format to lectures.

For the full NSC schedule and online tools to help you plan your stay in Chicago and professional development, visit the Congress & Expo website. Visit to find photos and information about all of the city's outdoor architecture, festivals, food, and attractions ranging from the Lincoln Park Zoo and Wrigley Field to the Art Institute, the Willis Tower Skydeck, and Shedd Aquarium.

This article originally appeared in the September 2013 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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