Riding Out the Turbulence

The global economy continues to struggle, but safety and health will fly high at this year's Congress and Expo in Orlando, Fla.

Since its start in 1913 as the National Council for Industrial Safety, the National Safety Council has weathered its share of storms. In 1941, it answered the call from President Franklin D. Roosevelt to "mobilize its nationwide resources in leading a concerted and intensified campaign against accidents, and to call upon every citizen, in public or private capacity, to enlist in this campaign and do his part in preventing wastage of human and material resources of the nation through accidents." In 1953, NSC was rewarded for its efforts when President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved an Act of Congress that granted a Congressional Charter to the council.

Facing another global financial crisis, NSC President and CEO Janet Froetscher acknowledges there are no small expenses in today's economy and emphasizes the organization has worked hard to ensure its 2009 Congress & Expo (Oct. 25-30 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando) will offer "an enhanced mix of technical sessions, half-day workshops, technical tours and executive sessions at a great value." This includes a 120 percent increase in "advanced" technical session offerings, a new "Executive Edge Track" with half-day workshops, technical tours, and off-the-job workshops--all for the purpose of making this year's event a "must attend."

Staying the Course

This year's Opening Session will feature a keynote presentation appropriately named in more ways than one: "Successful Strategies Through Turbulence." It will be presented by Howard P. Putnam, former CEO of Southwest and Braniff Airlines and group VP of Marketing for United Airlines. Scheduled for Monday, Oct. 26, from 8-9:30 a.m., the session promises to offer a look at Putman's guidelines for leaders with a clear understanding of their business and vision in order to survive and thrive through challenges.

The executive forum, scheduled from 10-11:30 a.m., will discuss "The Role of the EHS Executive in an Economic Downturn -- How Do We Deal with the Conditions of the Economy Strategically?" As part of NSC's new Executive Edge Track, the forum will address timely and relevant concerns as Greg Hale, chief safety officer and vice president of safety at Walt Disney Park & Resorts, moderates a discussion with Col. James Grace, director of safety for the United States Marine Corps; Peter Knollmeyer, chief operating officer and executive vice president at Fluor Hanford; and Mike Murray, president and CEO at FirstGroup America Inc.

The Executive Edge Track was newly established this year within NSC's Technical Sessions offerings because of the overwhelming success of last year's Executive Forum, which saw a 49 percent increase in executive-level attendees from 2006 to 2007. Its purpose is to provide a mechanism for evidence-based practices and solutions to be captured for those engaged in decision making, strategic planning processes, resource allocation, and the integration between EHS and operations in their organizations.

NSC's new Off-The-Job Workshop, "Bringing Safety Home: Developing and Sustaining Off-The-Job Safety and Health Programs," is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 1:30-4:30 p.m. This hands-on workshop will show attendees how to make the case for off-thejob safety and health programs, create work plans for a successful program start-up, and more.

Get Walking

As the attendees get their fill of the 120 Technical Sessions and 24 in-depth Professional Development Seminars, they'll be sure to wander over to the expo floor, which will feature more than 800 exhibitors displaying their latest and greatest innovations in safety. An old and popular favorite will return to booth #3029 with the annual presentation of "OSHA's Top 10." Each year, the NSC expo is the destination for the unveiling of the 10 most-cited OSHA violations of the previous year.

For more information on this year's NSC Congress and Expo, catch our continuing coverage in the upcoming October issue.

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

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