Deep in the Heart of Safety

Safety 2009 takes place this month in San Antonio, a city of historic missions where a safety pilgrimage is altogether fitting

To the thousands of visitors planning to attend the American Society of Safety Engineers' Safety 2009 conference and expo, symbols are valuable tools. At the job site, symbols can warn workers of imminent danger, advise them about proper PPE, or convey the quickest egress route during an emergency.

In historic San Antonio, the setting for this year's conference and expo, symbols now play an even larger role. Based on the Quatrefoil—a four-lobed geometric shape whose French name stands for "four leaves"—the city has embraced a new logo whose four sides allude to the famed gabled roof of the historic Alamo, site of the March 6, 1836, battle where 189 Texans held the mission against 4,000 Mexican troops for 13 days. The city chose the logo to convey a sense of its people, pride, passion, and promise. As droves of safety offi cials pack the Henry G. Gonzales Convention Center, be on the lookout for this important symbol, because it is hidden among the very fabric of the city and can be found on historic missions, bridges, and along the River Walk.

A Safety Pilgrimage

San Antonio is known for its many historic missions, so attendees may want to make a safety pilgrimage of sorts when they sample what Safety 2009 has to offer. To begin, plan to attend Concurrent Education Session 513 on Monday, June 29, from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. Titled "A New Frontier for Safety," this session will carry attendees beyond the present world of safety compliance to safety's roots, looking at the past risk-taking culture that became the vehicle for innovation and illustrating its promise for the future.

Next stop: From 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. the same day, Concurrent Education Session 565, "Engineering: The Safety Holy Grail!," will review the process method that can be employed to address hazards during the design phase, thereby stopping problems before they're created.

If your journey leads you over troubled waters, crossing the generation gap, then it may be a good idea to attend Concurrent Education Session 645, "Know the Gap Before Attempting to Bridge It: How to Effectively Deliver Training to Employees of All Ages," scheduled for Tuesday, June 30, from 1 to 2 p.m. This session focuses on the age factor. Attendees will be taught how to maximize the effectiveness of training, regardless of any generation gap. Concurrent Education Session 780, "Talking 'Bout My Generation" and taking place Wednesday from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m., will address in further detail the different learning styles and characteristics present in today's workforce generational mix, which includes the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. Case studies and recommended practices will be used to show how employees can use each generation's traits to reach that group.

Journey's End

The future may be a mystery, but there are guideposts for planning a safety engineering professional's career. Concurrent Education Session 653, "The Future of the Safety Engineering Profession in the United States," will take place Tuesday from 3 to 4:15 p.m. and will cover the ever-expanding role of the safety engineer. According to the session's description, the term safety engineer has become harder to defi ne as it has grown to include health, fi re protection, insurance, behavior, management, systems, law enforcement, environmental, legal, industrial hygiene, engineering, disease control, and more. Despite this expansion, safety engineers will be poised to move forward on national/global strategies to control hazards in and out of the workplace.

Expo Hours

The Safety 2009 expo will be open during these hours:

Sunday, June 28, 3-5:30 p.m.

Monday, June 29, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, June 30, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

This article originally appeared in the June 2009 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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