The Washington State Convention Center is located in downtown Seattle and hosts AIHce 2017. (Washington State Convention Center photo)

Seizing on Seattle

The year's biggest U.S industrial hygiene show, AIHce EXP docks in the Emerald City next month.

The Washington State Convention Center is "in the heart of downtown Seattle's vibrant retail and entertainment core," the center's website informs visitors, and that's good news for safety and health professionals attending the 2017 American Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition early next month.

Co-sponsored by the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, AIHce 2017 is set for June 2-8 and will take place at the convention center a few blocks from the famed Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square's attractions. Chinatown is a bit farther south and to the north are the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass.

Visit Seattle's blog featured a January 2017 roundup of the best urban adventures that Seattle has to offer, written by Corinne Edmiston. Her list included the aforementioned attractions—you'll find Starbucks' first store at Pike Place Market, she pointed out—as well as Seattle's museums, the region's green spaces and hiking and biking opportunities, locally caught seafood, and Elliott Bay Book Company in the city's Capitol Hill neighborhood and other "amazing" bookstores. She described Seattle as a destination that appeals to almost anyone.

Visitors may want to use the Washington State Ferries (www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/) to travel from the Seattle waterfront to Bainbridge Island (35 minutes one way) and other stops. Some of the routes offer great views of the Seattle skyline and harbor, for visitors with time enough for sightseeing.

Seattle is Washington State's largest city, with about 685,000 residents as of 2015, and the city and King County welcomed about 19 million visitors in 2014, according to Visit Seattle. The city's average high and low daily temperatures in June are 69.2 degrees and 51.4 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.

Educational Program Highlights and Keynotes
This brings us to AIHce 2017, this year's biggest U.S. industrial hygiene conference. More than 3,500 industry professionals are expected to attend what conference organizers have dubbed AIHce EXP. ("Our education team listened to what our attendees have said and turned AIHce into an educational EXPerience," they explained.) Last year, 4,205 IH and occupational health professionals attended the conference in Baltimore and 227 exhibiting companies’ personnel participated.

The main conference will take place June 4-7, while Professional Development Courses are scheduled for June 3-4 and June 8. Those PDCs are half-day, full-day, or two-day courses designed to broaden the attendees' knowledge, enhance their technical competence, and provide practical skills and tools for them to use.

The education program is divided into a dozen tracks that include chemical and material hazards, safety, IH program management, environmental issues, controls, and emergency preparedness and response.

This year's IGNITE! talks, technical sessions, posters, keynotes, and luncheon discussions will address professional development through mentoring and international work, scientific issues, management trends, and industry innovations. Program highlights include the Jeffrey S. Lee Lecture (1-2 p.m. June 7), the Donald E. Cummings Award Lecture (11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. June 6), and the Herbert E. Stokinger Award Lecture (2-3 p.m. June 5) and William P. Yant Award Lecture (3:15-4:15 p.m. June 5). Technical session topics will range from nanomaterials to GHS, notable confined space issues, beryllium, disinfectant use in health care, noise-induced hearing loss, predicting worker fatigue, asbestos, and many more worthwhile subjects.

Ken Jennings, who won a record 74 games on Jeopardy! and now is a prolific speaker and author, is scheduled to speak at the Monday Opening Session on June 5. His topic is "Life in the Form of a Question."

Dr. John J. Medina of the University of Washington School of Medicine is the keynote speaker for June 7's closing session starting at 2:15 p.m. "The Brains Behind Leadership" is his topic, with his talk described this way on the AIHce 2017 website: "Can the cognitive neurosciences inform us about what in the brain makes a great leader? What transforms a competent executive into a trailblazing boss is a combination of two seemingly contradictory skills: an intense focus on results coupled with strong social skills. Recent findings in the brain sciences have discovered the neurological basis behind these traits. Discover the behaviors that make great leaders and learn how to take the guesswork out of hiring or cultivating individuals with these characteristics."

Virtual EXP
A virtual AIHce 2017—Virtual EXP is its name this year—is available. It consists of five days of educational sessions, including the Jennings and Medina keynotes and technical sessions on prevention through design, fatigue, ergonomics, exposure monitoring, respiratory protection, nanotechnology, and more. Registrants for the virtual conference will pay fees ranging from $220 to $575 (member price) and $295 to $770 (non-member) to hear some or all of the sessions. Visit http://www.aihce2017.org/plan/VirtualConference/Pages/default.aspx for virtual conference information and registration.

The Virtual EXP allows professionals to get high-quality education and acquire CM credits while saving on travel expenses.

Expo Hours
The chief facility for the conference is the Washington State Convention Center (www.wscc.com/), which opened in downtown Seattle in 1988. With its Conference Center, it is the largest meeting and event facility in the state and is located within walking distance of more than 12,300 hotel guest rooms. The convention center has 414,722 square feet of rentable space and is only 25 minutes' drive from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

AIHce 2017 expo hours are:

  • 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 5
  • 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday
  • 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Wednesday

This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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