A Return to (Somewhat) Normal

It was around this time last year that OH&S began reporting on the digital shift safety tradeshows would be making as a result of COVID-19. At the time, the world was still and events were either put on hold, or transitioned to an all-virtual model to accommodate those still interested in attending conferences from their quarantined work station.

A lot has happened since then: Three COVID-19 vaccines are now readily available to anyone over the age of 16 who wants one, cases are on a steady decline downwards and the CDC has officially said that “fully vaccinated” people can gather with other “fully vaccinated” people without having to social distance or wear a face covering.

With this news of vaccines, declining cases and vaccinated guidelines comes the news that some safety tradeshows are looking to return with in-person events this fall. As I am writing this, there are three trade shows in the safety sphere that are all looking to make a comeback in 2021. Here’s a rundown of the shows and their tentative plans on holding a safe show.

ASSP Safety 2021. The American Society of Safety Professional’s Safety 2021 Conference and Expo will be returning to an in-person event from Sept. 13 – 15 in Austin, Texas. According to the website for the conference, “You can expect an unmatched conference experience that is mindful of the public safety and health challenges we continue to face due to the pandemic.” As of right now, most of the usual activates will return and face coverings will be required to attend.

NSC Congress & Expo 2021. The National Safety Council has announced that the next Congress & Expo will be in Orlando, Florida from October 8 – 13. The Council said, through a statement on their website, “We’ve all missed being together in-person and we’ll provide safe opportunities to reconnect with safety professionals.” As of right now, the Council is considering proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours leading up to the event.

VPPPA Safety+. The Voluntary Protection Programs Participants’ Association will be holding their annual Safety+ Symposium from August 31 – Sept. 2 in Nashville, Tennessee. While there is not much information on the website as of the writing of this column, it is safe to assume VPPPA will be taking proper precautions against COVID-19 as well. Despite the great news, there is still a lot of hesitancy in America. Some employers may not allow employees to travel yet, even domestically, so most conferences will all be holding hybrid events—where there is a virtual way to attend as well. Sessions available at the in-person events will also be available through digital portals. Opportunities to network with other safety professionals will also be available to those who are unable to attend in person as well as ways to connect with manufacturers on the expo floor.

While I, for one, am very excited to get to see some of you in person towards the end of the year, I do hope that we are all doing so in the most safe and healthy way possible. Take care of yourself and those around you and have empathy and compassion towards those who are dealing with the after-effects of this global pandemic.

This article originally appeared in the June 1, 2021 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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