'Safety in the Bizarro World' & 'Savannah Sugar': All in a Day's Learning

Safety professionals from all walks of life attend ASSE's annual PDC & Expo for a variety of reasons, but the common draw for almost everyone is the number and quality of educational sessions available every year. And this year here at the Baltimore Convention Center is no different. Before the week is done, more than 200 specialized sessions will have taken place, which translates to thousands of pages of notes taken, PowerPoint slides viewed, and handouts filed.

Today's full day of sessions has something for everyone. To give you a taste of the offerings, here are the ones our staff will be attending (assuming we arrive in time and there's a seat available):

"OSHA Challenge Update," presented by instructors Lloyd J. Bloom of OSHA, Cindy Lewis of the Gulf Coast Safety Institute - College of the Mainland, and Matthew J. Taylor of OCP Contractors in Swanton, Ohio. The workshop will highlight the OSHA Challenge Program, which is designed to help large and small employers implement effective safety and health management systems and reduce injuries and illnesses. The panel will discuss program basics and benefits, success stories, and the role of Challenge Administrators.

"Safety in the Bizarro World" (the class title just caught our eye(s)), a session taught by Gaylord I. Yoshimura, CHST, of Honolulu-based Pankow Construction. According to the class description, Yoshimura will discuss the reality of opposites--an unconventional approach that he says can prove to be more effective than the normal/conventional approach to engaging an organization's workforce. "Remember, if you always do what you did, you will always get what you got," he says.

"The Seven Delusions in Disaster-Prone Organizations," presented by Corrie Pitzer of SAFEmap International (Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada). Organizations are like the Titanic, Pitzer says. Our delusions let us enter dangerous waters at full speed, ignoring obvious signs of impending catastrophe. The course description says Pitzer will analyze "seven delusions in disaster-prone organizations such as BP Texas, Bhopal, Piper Alpha -- and possibly yours…"

"The ANSI/ASSE Z359 Fall Protection Code Grows; How Will New Standards Impact You?" In this session, sponsored by ASSE's Standards Development Committee, Randall M. Wingfield of Gravitec Systems Inc. (Bainbridge Island, Wash.), the chairman of the ANSI Z359 Accredited Standard Committee, will discuss the evolution of the Z359 Fall Protection Code and identify the highlights and significance of recently released and draft standards. Wingfield says he will welcome questions from session attendees about the impact these standards will have on workers at height, their employers, and other players in the fall protection industry.

And then, from 4:30 to 5:30 this afternoon, there's this one on our list: "Savannah Sugar: Case Studies of Recent Dust Explosions," sponsored by ASSE's Fire Protection Practice Specialty and taught by Walter S. Beattie, CSP, CFPS, CSHM, of Matrix Risk Consultants Inc. in Pottstown, Pa. The session description notes that three out of the four deadliest accidents investigated by U.S. Chemical Safety Board were determined to be combustible dust explosions. This session will cover the conditions that led to these disasters and explore what causes a dust explosion, as well as what NFPA dust standards exist.

In all, today's educational lineup features 65 sessions, so the above merely scratches the surface. For a complete lineup, visit www.asse.org/education/pdc10/sessions-monday.php. The first of these starts at 10:45 a.m. -- which means we have to get moving! Stay tuned.

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