Over 1300 safety leaders from North America (and beyond) gathered in Orlando, Florida March 12-16 to take part in DEKRA’s annual “Safety in Action” conference. In its 31st year, this event has become the premiere gathering for front-line safety workers in the U.S. Over 180 companies from 30 different industries were represented at this year’s conference. Those industries included Chemicals, Oil & Gas, Utilities, Mining, Food & Beverage and dozens of others – from some of the biggest companies in their categories: Tyson Foods, BNSF Railway, Shell Oil, BASF, etc.
One of the signature events of the Safety in Action conference is the “Safety Showcase” on Wednesday night. This year, about 40 exhibitors took part in the Showcase and many of them kept their booths up throughout the week to take advantage of a unique set-up that allowed the Showcase to take place in the lobby area of the Hyatt Regency hotel. Attendees also embraced a new event technology called “DC Touch” (DC: short for “DEKRA Connect”) that let them exchange contact information instantly through the touch of a small hand-shaped gadget on their conference pass.
Also, on Wednesday, the conference hosted the “Leadership Summit”: a get-together for organization leaders from over 50 different companies to share best practices and learn new ways to promote safety in their areas. Called the “Executive Forum” in years past, this year’s Summit hosted speakers including Mark Crelia, Corporate Manager for Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) at Helmerich & Payne oil and gas company, and Jennifer Swain, Global Vice President of HSE at manufacturing company Terex. Their focus was on how to best prevent serious injury and fatalities in the workplace.
The conference kicked off officially on Thursday, March 15, with a welcome ceremony and keynote address in the Grand Ballroom of the hotel. This year’s keynote speaker was Craig Morrison, the retired CEO of Hexion, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. Morrison talked about his experience as a U.S. Navy pilot to help illustrate the importance of culture in creating a safe work environment. He also drove home how corporate arrogance can sometimes make you lose sight of how fragile employee safety can be.
Afterwards, attendees dispersed into sessions covering a wide variety of safety issues including new solutions from DEKRA Organizational Safety & Reliability called Exposure Based Safety™ technology and the Brain-Centric Reliability™ system – both received with great enthusiasm at this year’s event.
Conference participants also warmly greeted this year’s Safety Icons. The Icons are nominated by their peers and honored at Safety in Action for their contributions to safety at their organizations. This year’s Icons were Donnie Massey of Shell Oil, Donny Owens of Owens Corning and Kim Urie of BASF.
Thursday’s activities ended with a cocktail hour that allowed DEKRA consultants to answer questions about things like World Class Safety and Serious Injuries and Fatalities in a laid-back environment.
The conference concluded on Friday, March 16, with a fun-filled half-day of activities that included:
- A lively podcast conversation with DEKRA Organizational Safety & Reliability Chief Client Officer Jim Spigener on the topic of “Who Eats Who: Culture or Strategy?” – listen to it here - Episode 5
- 20-minute presentations on safety from the Spotlight Stage
- Questions and answers from the TECHBar – where all of the conference-goers’ queries about technology were answered by experts from the contract company, The Meeting Pool
SAVE THE DATE
The 2019 Safety in Action Conference will be held April 3-5, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee and with attendees this year from far away as Nigeria and Trinidad, next year’s conference promises to be bigger in reach and better than ever! Sign up for more information.