The George R. Brown Convention Center opened in downtown Houston in 1987. It boasts 1.8 million square feet of space, with more than 500,000 square feet dedicated to its exhibit halls.

NSC Congress & Expo Heads to Houston

More than 14,000 safety professionals are expected to attend this year's NSC Congress & Expo, being held in Houston from Oct. 20 through 26.

The National Safety Council will hold this year's NSC Congress & Expo in Houston, with more than 14,000 attendees expected to attend. The Congress & Expo will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston during Oct. 20-26, with the exposition floor open Oct. 22-24. With thriving industries in manufacturing, aeronautics, transportation, and energy—particularly oil and natural gas—Houston will serve as a great background for the safety education opportunities at this year's event.

According to the council, fatal work injuries have surpassed 5,000 for the first time in almost a decade, marking the third consecutive increase in workplace deaths. This increase in fatalities serves as a reminder of the importance of workplace safety and how vital it is to continue learning and networking in the safety industry through events such as the NSC Congress & Expo.

Educational Opportunities
Monday's opening session at 8 a.m. Oct. 22 will feature remarks by NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman and Adm. William H. McRaven, USN (Ret.). The Tuesday keynote, "The Future (of Safety) Ain't What It Used to Be. . . ," will be given by SAFEmap International CEO Corrie Pitzer at 8 a.m. Oct. 23. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett will deliver Wednesday's keynote, "Lessons Learned After a Major Natural Disaster, Hurricane Harvey," at 8 a.m. on Oct. 24.

The NSC Congress & Expo will offer more than 125 technical sessions in 12 education tracks. The education tracks include Research to Practice, Risk Reduction and Management, Construction/Labor/Utilities, and the new Technology track, with sessions ranging in level from introductory to advanced. Many of the technical sessions are also tagged as Personal Stories, Case Studies, Journey to Safety Excellence Sessions, or Hot Topics. It seems that workplace violence may be especially relevant at this year's event, with "Hot Topic" sessions including "Workplace Violence: What Really Happens" and "Active Shooter Preparedness: Going Beyond Workplace Violence Training."

More than 25 professional development seminars will be offered at the Congress & Expo, including 11 new sessions. The professional development seminars are designed to help in career advancement and job performance in the safety industry; they include topics such as conducting workplace safety inspections, creating a safety culture, and root cause analysis.

NSC Congress & Expo also is offering registrants the opportunity to take part in a technical tour of Space Center Houston and the Johnson Space Center, the training base and home of the U.S. astronauts and the site of NASA Mission Control, or the ExxonMobil Baytown Refinery and Chemicals Complex. The Baytown Refinery and Chemicals Complex is one of the world's largest integrated and most technologically advanced refining and petrochemical complexes. Both of these tours require a separate fee and pre-registration, and there is limited space available.

The Convention Center & Expo Hours
The George R. Brown Convention Center opened in downtown Houston in 1987. It boasts 1.8 million square feet of space, with more than 500,000 square feet dedicated to its exhibit halls.

More than 1,100 exhibitors will be present at the expo hall this year. Dedicated expo hours make up the majority of the time the show floor will be open, meaning there will be no conflict with educational sessions and plenty of time to get product demos and information at exhibitor booths.

Expo hours for the event are as follows:

  • Monday, Oct. 22: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.; dedicated expo hours 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 23: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.; dedicated expo hours 9:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 24: 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.; dedicated expo hours 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

New to the expo floor this year is the Time Out Lounge, an area designed to be a meeting place to do business or for attendees just to catch their breath. The NSC Learning Lab, also located on the show floor, will play host to 45-minute educational presentations such as "Safety Excellence Maturity Model: A Roadmap to Success," "OSHA's Top 10 Violations," and "The Future of Electrical Safety: Beyond OSHA and NFPA 70E Compliance."

Houston Highlights
Houston is the largest city in Texas and the fourth-largest city in the United States. The average maximum and minimum temperatures for October are 82 and 61 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, so attendees should be sure to dress for warmer fall weather.

The George R. Brown Convention Center isn't far from Houston's pedestrian-friendly Museum District, home to 19 cultural institutions. Highlights of the Museum District include the Museum of Fine Arts, which is the sixth-largest art museum in the United States; the Holocaust Museum Houston; and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. One of the most exciting parts of the Houston Museum of Natural Science is the Cockrell Butterfly Center, a conservatory with a three-story glass cone filled with tropical plants and butterflies. For those who may be traveling with children, there is also the Children’s Museum of Houston, which has been rated the No. 1 children's museum in the United States by Parents magazine.

There are a number of convenient ways to get around Houston, including the Greenlink Buses, which are free in downtown Houston, and taxis, which have a flat fare of $6 for all trips in the downtown area. There are also options such as Uber and a low-cost bike-share program.

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

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