NSC Keynotes Down to the Eleventh Hour

The speakers for the Oct. 1 keynotes that are scheduled to feature three top federal officials will change if there is a federal government shutdown because of the congressional impasse

CHICAGO - Safety and health professionals attending this year's National Safety Congress & Expo may miss some popular keynote speakers on Tuesday, Oct.1, and it won't be because the shuttle buses are too full or downtown Chicago traffic is jammed. Three top federal officials, the chiefs of OSHA and NIOSH and the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, will be unable to participate in keynotes Oct. 1 if Congress has failed to reach an eleventh-hour budget agreement to prevent a federal government shutdown starting that day, National Safety Council media personnel said Sept. 30.

NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, MPH, and OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels, Ph.D., are scheduled to participate in a 12:30-2:00 p.m. "The Future of Workplace Safety and the Impact on the Safety Profession" keynote along with Paul O'Neill, former Treasury secretary and Alcoa CEO. If Howard and Michaels can't join him -- because they could not be certain they could fly back to Washington, D.C., as scheduled afterward if there is a shutdown -- then O'Neill will handle the keynote alone, the media officials said.

Gil Kerlikowske is director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and he will be unable to take part in the Prescription Drug Keynote from 2:30-4:00 p.m. Oct. 1 if the shutdown occurs. Two other speakers scheduled to participate are not federal employees.

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