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The "trade fair of the future" at NSC 2011 Congress & Expo

November 1, 2011
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touch screenOne exhibitor tells us the safety world has to get with it and conduct business like business-to-consumer models. He has a touch screen service in testing where, as his signs say, “Order Here” and “Buy Now.” Imagine walking up to an exhibit booth and placing your order, like you do from home on Amazon. You can purchase based on hazards, sizing, volume, delivery dates. Of course most trade shows prohibit actual selling from booths.  But distributors like Grainger and Airgas have electronic safety product directories with hundreds of manufacturers. PPE and other manufacturers have flat screens everywhere on the expo hall detailing hundreds brands and applications. Do you believe five or ten years from now these screens will still be static and only show buyers what they can go back to the office and purchase?

Tuesday’s agenda

Time was the annual Congress highlight was the state of OSHA speech from the assistant secretary of labor for OSHA.  Now there is not a lot of “content” for OSHA to discuss in terms of coming standards. So OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels will be one of four panelists Tuesday morning discussing the value of safety management systems. The acronym “I2P2” has become so controversial and toxic that talk of an Injury and Illness Prevention Program has dropped in favor of the more generic “management systems.”

Tuesday afternoon we’re looking to sessions on engaging employee energy; how leadership influences  culture (a popular topic this year;, values, leaders and culture influencing safety; and applying lean and safe concepts to your safety program.

For 20-30 years OSHA led the safety field. Now leadership of any sort out of Washington is scoffed at, derided, and generally a good place to start an argument. Just duck into one of the “Occupants’” tents. In the safety field, there is no lack of consultants, authors, lecturers and safety pros themselves jumping into the OSHA leadership void.

Corporate execs in in non-safety jobs spoke this morning about the hard journeys of culture change and leadership challenges. But their brief, 20-minute presentations is like reading the Cliff Notes versions. In tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) e-briefing from the National Safety Congress we’ll give you other perspectives on leadership, culture and engagement, the current holy trinity of hot topics in safety.

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