Safety 2020 Goes Virtual

Safety 2020 Goes Virtual

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ASSP shifts its multi-day tradeshow to a full online platform.

The cancellation, postponement and digitization of sporting events, concerts and festivals has become a common headline in the pandemic-driven news coverage these days. With CDC guidelines urging social distancing practices and essential travel only, it is not surprising that large scale events have been moving to online platforms.

This rings true for industry-focused events such as the Safety 2020 Professional Development Conference and Exposition that was originally slated for June 23 - 25 in Orlando, Fla. at the Orange County Convention Center. The conference, put on by the American Society of Safety Professionals, is touted as an industry-defining event for OSH development where attendees can learn new solutions to some of their biggest problems.

The ASSP Board of Directors announced the change to a fully virtual show, “after weeks of assessing risk factors and monitoring the latest information from government and public health authorities.”

“Safety 2020: Virtual” will move forward on the days originally carved out for the physical show and will still feature informational general sessions, focused educational tracks, networking opportunities and an interactive virtual exposition, according to a press release on April 30, 2020. ASSP Board of Directors were excited to move forward with a plan to put on the event in a way that was safe to those interested in attending.

“It’s important we adapt to our environment and support the safety and health profession in new ways, recognizing the vast potential and reach of a virtual conference,” said ASSP President Diana Stegall, CSP, CFPS, ARM, SMS, CPCU. “We’ve been closely tracking coronavirus developments and examining all risk factors. The progression of the pandemic has made it clear that the most prudent course of action for the safety and health of everyone involved is to present a virtual event.”

The virtualization of the Safety 2020 trade show allows for a larger and more diverse group of attendees. Those who would not normally be able to make the trek to the show or take multiple days off work, now have the opportunity to learn practical information they can use right away to protect workers and enhance business operations—all from the comfort of their own home or workspace.

Registration for the Safety 2020: Virtual tradeshow will include the following:

  • General sessions with speakers Alex Sheen, TEDx Talk Speaker, author and humanitarian and Neil Pasricha, NY Times Bestselling Author and TED Speaker
  • 60 concurrent education sessions, featuring live Q&A with the speaker
  • 6-day access to all recorded concurrent education sessions
  • Two Plenary sessions
  • Ability to earn up to 6.5 CEUs/recertification points
  • Virtual Expo access

The event will have set hours of operation on June 23, 24, and 25. Programming will run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central Time on June 23 and 24, and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. on June 25. Attendees can use the program schedule to mark sessions they are interested in and create their own itinerary.

ASSP recognized the opportunity to allow attendees to gain more than ever before from a virtual event. According to the press release, attendees will now have the ability to earn up to 6.5 continuing education units for their career advancement—nearly four times as many as the in-person event.

That sounds like a lot to get done in three days, and ASSP realizes that, so they decided to make more than 60 educational sessions accessible to attendees for 60 days post-event. This allows attendees to virtually attend as many sessions as they want, including sessions that were recorded concurrently during the three days of the event.

According to the ASSP Safety 2020: Virtual website, attendees can access the online event from most up-to-date laptops, desktops or handheld tablets. When the event page goes live, attendees can perform a system check to analyze their device and internet browser. If issues arise, they can trouble shoot before the event starts.

ASSP also announced that Safety 2020: Virtual will include a virtual exhibition. Attendees will have the opportunity to connect with top vendors as well as ASSP sponsors to learn about the latest OSH innovations throughout the event. This will also include the opportunity to join live chats, access resources and more.

Registration fees for the virtual trade show are the same as the in-person conference. For those that were already signed up for the in-person event, registration can be transferred to a virtual event or refunded. Visit the event website,, for the most up-to-date information.

Though it is certain many are disappointed to not be attending a live event this year, those in the safety industry understand the lengths our communities must go through to ensure safety during these uncertain times.

“ASSP has stood for safety for more than 100 years and has overcome many significant challenges along the way,” Stegall said. “Our 40,000 global members understand the value of being nimble, resourceful and open to shifting gears when situations call for it.”

With the announcement of the shift to a virtual event for Safety 2020, ASSP also announced that the in-person event is expected to return next year. It is currently scheduled to take place June 6-9, 2021 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colo.

This article originally appeared in the June 2020 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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