- ISHN GLOBAL
- EHS RESEARCH
Articles by Dave Johnson
1. Paul O’Neill would be voted in as OSHA chief by safety pros in a heartbeat. Or they would like to clone him for every boardroom meeting on safety. He is an inspiration to professionals, with his straight talking passion for safety.
The safety job has matured, and will continue to do so – that was one of the takeaways from last week’s National Safety Congress & Expo, sponsored by the National Safety Council.
For the record, there were 204 exhibitors from foreign countries; 100 of them from China. Most of the rest were from Canada, with a smattering of vendors from India, Malaysia, Pakistan, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Portugal, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Bahrain and Argentina.
Talking to vendors at last week’s National Safety Congress & Expo, sponsored by the National Safety Council, it’s clear a safety pro who comes to work without a smartphone is going to lost in the dark.
One of the changes in the nature of workplace safety work happens to be the nature of conversations revolving around safety. Back in the day when safety was largely a policing job with a heavy emphasis on rules and discipline, conversations between the safety manager and an employee tended to be short and direct.
“You know, a lot of safety managers don’t like that saying, ‘Safety Pays.’ They think it’s cold and heartless, impersonal,” said the PPE vendor from the NSC’s Congress & expo show floor. “But let me tell you, when you get down to it, a lot of businesses look at safety now in terms of dollars and cents.
“We were up in a customer focus group in Milwaukee not long ago. We had companies there from Fortune 100 to mom and pops,” said the VP of safety for a major distributor. “I’d say seven out of ten had had recent brushes with OSHA. So OSHA is still a big driver of sales, no doubt about it.”
No, they didn’t turn off the lights and locked the doors. The show definitely goes on, and when you’re inside the expo or attending education sessions, the ugly world of federal government shutdowns seems far far away.
1 – Ties are out. The men’s tie business must be dying a slow death. Of 13,000 people at the Congress and Expo, you might count the number wearing ties on one hand. OK, maybe on both hands. Business casual rules, no doubt. Many attendees are comfortable in jeans and sports shirt. You don’t see many suits at all. Mostly it is the speakers in suits. And certainly not all of them.