The Salt Lake City skyline at night. (Adam Barker/Visit Salt Lake photo)

Destination: Salt Lake City

This year's conference will be year four for the popular Ignite sessions, which are five-minute talks on pretty much any topic.

The best U.S. industrial hygiene conference of the year, AIHce 2015, comes to Salt Lake City and its downtown Salt Palace Convention Center this month. Incidentally, the American Industrial Hygiene Association- and American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists-sponsored conference is taking place in the state that topped Forbes' annual Best States for Business rankings in November 2014.

New at this year's May 30-June 4 conference are a Sunday evening welcome party and a Mark of Excellence Awards breakfast.

Educational Program Highlights
The conference is designed to enhance attendees' knowledge of important topics and build strong relationships with other occupational and environmental health and safety professionals. A variety of courses, sessions, posters, lectures, workshops and luncheon discussions address professional development, scientific issues, management trends, industry innovations and much more.

Program highlights include the Jeffrey S. Lee Lecture (12:30-1:30 p.m. Monday, June 1), the Donald E. Cummings Award Lecture (12:30-1:30 p.m. Wednesday), Unsolved IH Mysteries workshops both Monday and Tuesday, technical sessions on a host of topics Monday-Wednesday (including the Ebola virus crisis in West Africa, oil & gas wellhead exposure pathways and radiation safety, noise control, control banding, combustible dust controls, tower safety, nanotechnology, construction safety, ergonomics, real-time detection systems, confined space issues, health care, vibration hazards, and many more), and the Mark of Excellence Awards breakfast (7-9 a.m. Wednesday).

The breakfast replaces that day's general session. The general session speaker at 8 a.m. on Monday is Alison Levine, team captain of the first American women's Everest expedition. "Health & Safety Implications of the Fissured Workplace: A Conversation," is Tuesday's general session topic, with OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels joining David Weil, Ph.D., administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, to discuss the safety and health implications of the changes in working arrangements, with many employers contracting out work and relying more on independent contractors.

This year's conference will be year four for the popular Ignite sessions, which are five-minute talks on pretty much any topic. As AIHA put it in its invitation for members to submit Ignite topics, "All kinds of ideas work. A wide range of topics and concepts can be incorporated into an Ignite talk. These are not 20 minute technical abstract presentations that follow the scientific approach. They are quite the opposite, in fact. Presenters get creative and share their professional and/or personal passions, causes, or meaningful moments." The talks will take place Tuesday from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

A virtual AIHce is available again this year: four days of educational sessions, including the two general sessions and technical sessions on noise, training, combustible dust, control banding, and many more topics. Registrants for the virtual conference will pay fees ranging from $275 to $675 (member price) and $370 to $870 (non-member) to hear the broadcast sessions, and they can submit questions to the presenters and interact with other virtual attendees, according to AIHA. Visit http://aihce2015.org/virtual-conference/ for virtual conference information and registration.

Expo Highlights
The Salt Palace Convention Center has 515,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit hall space. The AIHce 2015 exposition will include at least 200 exhibitors occupying three of the center's halls, with approximately 5,500 people participating in the conference as a whole, according to Visit Salt Lake, which recently announced that 2015 will be Salt Lake City's busiest year ever for conventions. Three new hotels opened their doors within steps of the convention center, according to its March 2015 report.

AIHce expo hours are:

  • 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 1
  • 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday
  • 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Wednesday

City Attractions
The 2014-/15 ski season is over, but there are many great attractions in and around Salt Lake City worth visiting, beginning with Temple Square, the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Located only a block from the convention center, the 35-acre square is the most-visited attraction in Utah with 3-5 million visitors per year. Free tours of the grounds are available in numerous languages.

Adjacent to both Temple Square and the convention center is City Creek Center, which offers more than 100 retail stores and restaurants. Other top attractions, according to Visit Salt Lake, are the Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center, University of Utah, which is housed in a striking LEED-certified copper and glass building, and Clark Planetarium.

Salt Lake City's elevation is 4,330 feet above sea level, and its average daily temperature in June is 69 degrees F. The city's estimated population in 2013 was 191,180 people. The area's best-known geologic feature is Great Salt Lake, the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River and the largest saltwater lake in the Western hemisphere. The shallow lake covers an average of 1,700 square miles, depending on the volume of snow melt and runoff that reach it.

This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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