Can Denver's Safety 2012 Measure Up?

Industrial hygienists saw the Mile High City's expanded convention center last year. It is the site of ASSE's annual conference next June.

The Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver will be the site of Safety 2012. Organizers have their work cut out for them; the June 3-6, 2012, event follows the record-breaking 2011 conference and its 21 percent increase in exhibit square footage. The 2011 event in Chicago included 475 exhibitors, well above the 2010 showing of about 400 exhibitors that was the previous high.

The 2010 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo took place at the same Denver convention center during the blustery month of May. It was the 71st AIHce and featured two particularly memorable, unconventional keynote speakers: environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cecil E. Roberts, Jr., president of the United Mine Workers of America and a former coal miner.

Kennedy touted the benefits of renewable energy before a packed and receptive audience. Roberts denounced the management of Massey Energy -- then under fire for the Upper Big Branch disaster and only recently acquired by a large competitor -- in an impassioned speech calling for tough enforcement and stronger regulations.

A general session at the meeting gave many attendees their first look at OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels, who had been sworn in five months earlier.

ASSE now has more than 34,000 members and will have commenced its second century by the time the doors open for Safety 2012. Denver spent more than $8 billion in recent years on new attractions, including doubling the size of the convention center. Because of the center's central location, shuttle service was not offered to and from AIHce hotels in 2010.

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