The Georgia World Congress Center hosts Safety 2016, the American Society of Safety Engineers

Dateline Atlanta

For those who attended the 2015 National Safety Council Congress & Expo nine months ago, the facility’s layout and downtown Atlanta are familiar territory.

The Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) hosts Safety 2016, the American Society of Safety Engineers' annual conference, June 26-29, a not-to-be-missed event on the OSH profession’s calendar. For those who attended the 2015 National Safety Council Congress & Expo there only eight months ago, the facility's layout and downtown Atlanta are familiar territory. ASSE's big meeting is a whirlwind of activity as attendees hurry between distantly located sessions and fill their schedules with keynotes, technical tours, receptions, seminars, and expo appointments—all of this packed into just three days for the main conference and only 2.5 expo days, to be precise.

Taking place June 29-30 in conjunction with Safety 2016 is the ISFP Symposium—a program put on by the International Society for Fall Protection ( that features a lineup of international speakers discussing research, engineering, best practices, and equipment issues. The symposium’s theme is Prevention + Protection = Progress, and it will focus on the importance of both approaches to minimize fall risks. The symposium will include a wrap-up panel discussion beginning at noon June 30 with ISFP board members and speakers participating.

Atlanta Attractions, Convention Center Details
Atlanta's events calendar is packed during the final week of June with plays, concerts, festivals, baseball games, and exhibits. Area theaters are presenting "Of Mice and Men," "The Wizard of Oz," and "Charlotte's Web" during Safety 2016's run, for example.

The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau's website lists 50 fun things to see and do while downtown and in other parts of the city, including the World of Coca-Cola, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Shops Buckhead Atlanta, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Delta Flight Museum, the Georgia Aquarium, and many more.

For maps and more information about Atlanta events during the conference, visit

An economic impact analysis report for FY2015 that was prepared for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority found that the GWCC, which boasts 3.9 million square feet of space, represented $852.8 million in event impact during that fiscal year and that the facilities managed by the authority brought in more than 950,000 people from out of state to attend their events. The convention center hosts more than 1 million guests annually, according to information available on the authority's website.

Technical Tours and Program Highlights
Technical tours usually sell out well before a big safety conference begins. Organized by local chapters, these are behind-the-scenes tours of the safety operations at local sites. The list of seven sites for Safety 2016 includes a Lockheed Martin assembly facility; the locomotive shop at Norfolk Southern's Inman Yard; the construction of SunTrust Park, a new stadium for the Atlanta Braves that will open in 2017; and Delta Airlines' Technical Operations Atlanta facility.

ASSE's annual conference always offers an outstanding educational program. This year's program includes a host of sessions in 21 tracks plus key issue roundtables, keynote speeches, and pre- and post-conference training seminars. Sessions topics range from fire protection and construction safety to ergonomics, oil & gas, combustible dust, workers’ compensation, confined spaces, fire safety, regulatory matters, sustainability, training & education, industrial hygiene, health care, hazardous materials, and environmental protection.

ASSE's popular career center will be open Sunday through Wednesday.

The keynote speaker at Monday's opening general session beginning at 7:30 a.m. is Frans Johansson, author of "The Medici Effect," whose talk is titled "The Click Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World."

Tuesday's morning keynoter, also starting at 7:30 a.m., is Dan Gardner, speaking on "From Forecasting to Superforecasting," and OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels has been invited to speak during Tuesday’s plenary session at 1-2 p.m.

Wednesday's schedule features a luncheon keynoter, Walter Bond, with the topic "No One Can Stop You But You," and closing general session speaker Drew Dudley from 3-4 p.m. speaking on "Creating Cultures of Leadership and the Power of 'Lollipop Moments.' "

Pre-conference seminars will take place June 22-26. The half-day, full-day, or multi-day post-conference seminars will take place June 29-July 2, with most of them scheduled for Thursday, June 30. They include seminars on becoming an effective consultant, preparing for workplace conflict, reducing losses from occupational health risks and environmental exposures, and workshops to prepare for the ASP and CSP exams.

Expo Highlights
This year's Safety 2016 expo will feature flash sessions (described by ASSE at as "short bursts of information that will grab your attention and convey key information while you visit the exhibits"), daily morning SuperSessions, an ASSE Foundation raffle at the foundation’s booth, with proceeds from the raffle benefiting the Foundation Scholarship Program.

Expo hours are:

  • Sunday, June 26: 3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., including a kick-off welcoming reception on the expo floor sponsored by Coca-Cola
  • Monday, June 27: 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 28: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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