The exposition will take place at the Henry B. González Convention Center, which was built in 1968. (VisitSanAntonio.com photo)

Safety and Security in Sunny San Antonio

A particularly relevant session this year is the June 6 General Session, a panel discussion about preparing for workplace violence and active shooter incidents.

The Safety 2018 Professional Development Conference & Exposition takes place next month in San Antonio, Texas. Sponsored by the American Society of Safety Engineers, Safety 2018 is set for June 3-6, with post-conference courses scheduled for June 6-9. The conference and exposition will take place at the Henry B. González Convention Center, which is located downtown on the banks of the world-famous San Antonio River Walk, just a few blocks from Alamo Plaza.

As members are no doubt aware, the society is changing its name to the American Society of Safety Professionals during this event.

San Antonio Attractions
San Antonio is the second-largest city in Texas. Average high and low daily temperatures during June are 92 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively. One of the city’s best-known attractions is the River Walk, or Paseo del Rio, a park and network of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River, one story below the city streets. The scenic River Walk is home to many restaurants, as well as leisurely tours by river boat.

The convention center is not far from the historic downtown district, as well, for those who would like to "remember the Alamo." The 4.2-acre complex at Alamo Plaza houses exhibits on the Texas Revolution and Texas history, as well as the Alamo Gardens.

Visitors can explore San Antonio by using the Greater San Antonio Region's VIA Metropolitan Transit system. VIA's VIVA service line has stops at popular attractions and landmarks, including different historical missions and museums such as Mission San Juan and the San Antonio Museum of Art.

Safety 2018 Educational Program Highlights
The educational program is divided into 24 tracks that include fire protection, oil & gas/mining & mineral resources, health care/wellness, environmental/hazardous material, ergonomics, transportation, and safety management.

Some noteworthy sessions in the educational program are "Common Warehouse Hazards and Protection—Preplanning to Prevent a Disaster" (June 4, 3:15-4:15 p.m.), "Crystalline Silica: Using Science to Simplify the Rules" (June 6, 1:45-2:45 p.m.), "Fake News and False Systems Kill People and You May Have Them in Your Company" (June 5, 10:30-11:45 a.m.), "The Fatal Flaws in Your Active Shooter Response" (June 4, 4:30-5:30 p.m.), and "Opioid Crisis: Emerging Risk to Responding Personnel" (June 5, 3-4 p.m.).

Safety 2018's brochure highlights keynotes by speakers that include Polly LaBarre (Opening General Session, "A Maverick Manual for Success," starting at 7:30 a.m. June 4); Mike Walsh ("Reinventing Leadership for the Age of Machine Intelligence," starting at 7:30 a.m. June 5); Chris Helder ("The Power of Influence . . . Master the Customer Experience," the BCSP Awards of Excellence Luncheon speaker starting at noon on June 6); and Ryan Estis ("Unleash Your Inner Superhero: Keys to Achieve Breakthrough Performance," the Closing General Session starting at 3 p.m. June 6).

A particularly relevant session this year is the June 6 General Session, "The Before and After Summit: A Safety Professional's Guide to Prepare for, React to, and Address Workplace Violence Events." ASSE's brochure for Safety 2018 states that active shooter situations are reaching an epidemic level in the United States and that safety professionals must be prepared for what could happen in their workplaces. This is a panel discussion taking place from 9:15 to 10:30 a.m.; the panel will include experts from the FBI, local law enforcement, and employee assistance.

The June 5 Plenary Session from 1-2 p.m. is structured as a town hall, and will continue last year's plenary session on the history of behavior-based safety and its evolution by focusing on how to operationalize the discussion and put it into action. "Town Hall Debate Part II—Operationalizing It!" will feature a panel of safety executives including Al Johnson of Cargill; Laurie Shelby, VP of EHS at Tesla Motors' and Ellis Jones, senior director of Global EHS&S at Goodyear. If you miss a session or want to revisit a presentation at a later date, you're in luck. Registration for Safety 2018 now includes free recordings of all concurrent sessions whose speakers give ASSE permission to record them, with video and slides synced to audio. Registrants will receive an email with instructions on how to access these recordings a few weeks after the end of the conference.

Networking and Social Learning
More than 5,000 occupational safety and health professionals will be bringing their experience and expertise to Safety 2018, which makes it a great opportunity for networking and learning from others. The conference and exposition offer a number of ways to meet other professionals, including key issue collaboration sessions, the ASSE Lounge in the expo hall, social learning stations, community-specific evening receptions, and a Safety Escape Room Challenge, where attendees will team up to solve a series of puzzles and riddles by spotting hazards.

The Pitch for Safety offers attendees the opportunity to pitch their ideas for improving workplace safety to upper management and receive feedback on the best way to refine their messages. The Pitch is broken into two parts, with the opportunity to mingle with six senior safety leaders on Monday and six "elevator" stations set up Tuesday where participants will be given two minutes to present ideas to a senior operational executive and receive feedback.

Expo Highlights, Hours
The exposition will take place at the Henry B. González Convention Center, which was built in 1968. The convention center offers 514,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, including the largest ballroom in Texas.

In addition to more than 600 exhibitor booths, Safety 2018's exposition floor is also host to Flash Sessions, which are short bursts of information that take place in various locations around the exhibit hall. This year's flash session topics include "Tablet-Based Audiometry: Hearing Conservation for the 21st Century," "Which Works Better in Safety Training—Humor or Narrative?", "Smart Sensors Are Eliminating Workplace Hazards and Saving Lives," and "Women in Construction: Case Studies in Health Safety Workplace Culture." The expo will also include Super Sessions, where some of the most popular sessions will be delivered right on the exposition floor, and hands-on demonstrations by exhibitors.

Safety 2018 expo hours are:

  • Sunday, June 3: 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m.
  • Monday, June 4: 9 a.m.-3:15 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 5: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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