Safety is Working in 'The City that Works'

Call the city what you will. The poet Carl Sandburg famously described Chicago as "the husky, brawling, City of the big shoulders." Almost 100 years later, that still seems an accurate reflection here in lakeside McCormick Place South, site of the National Safety Council's 95th annual Congress & Expo. Especially the "big shoulders" part.

The theme for this year's Congress is "Safety Works," an appropriate riff on the former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley's labeling of his hometown as "The City that Works." By the time the Expo portion of the convention opened at 9:30 a.m. yesterday, this building felt like the epicenter of the U.S. safety movement. This year's more than 850 exhibitors had much to do with that feeling, but so did the many conference attendees walking around visiting all the booths, bags in hand like they were getting a jumpstart on Halloween. Official numbers have yet to be released, of course (unofficially the number is 15,000 SH&E professionals), but from the OH&S booth, it is looking like a treat for those at NSC who gauge annual attendance.

Yesterday's lineup of national leaders delivering keynotes also contributed to the feeling that this year's theme is being fulfilled. In the span of less than seven hours the Arie Crown stage at Lakeside Center was occupied by NSC President and CEO Alan C. McMillan, former Homeland Security Secretary Thomas J. Ridge, FEMA's Deputy Administrator of the National Preparedness Directorate Dennis Schrader, MSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor Richard Stickler, NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, and OSHA Assistant Secretary of Labor Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. Today's keynoters include Dr. Ileana Arias, director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; Paul Kells, M.S.M., founder and president of Safe Communities Foundation, Canada; and Diana Ekman, MPH, Ph.D., of the Stockholm, Sweden-based World Health Organization Safe Communities Collaborating Centre, Karolinska Institutet.

Other highlights from today's busy schedule include tonight's Awards Banquet and this morning's live presentation on the Expo floor in which an OSHA representative will unveil this year's "Top 10 Violations" of the agency's regulations. We will be reporting live for the show's duration on the Occupational Health & Safety Web site, www.ohsonline.com. Hope to "see" you there--if we haven't already seen you here!

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