NSC president and CEO Deborah Hersman, asked audience members if it’s possible to eliminate preventable deaths. In her opening she said to focus on starting with your team and moving up from there. She asked attendees to stand if they thought it is possible to eliminate all preventable workplace injuries. Many in the audience stood. She then asked whether they thought they could eliminate preventable workplace injuries at their company. Nearly everyone stood up.

“We’re nine times more likely to be injured off the job than on the job,” she said. “On any given day, our workplaces are among the safest places for us to be.” Hersman said that decades ago, at the turn of the century, that isn’t something any company would have thought.

“They proved it wasn’t impossible, they just hadn’t done it yet,” she said, likening it to getting to the  goal of zero today. She recommended companies begin with policies requiring employees remain alert and aware, such as a cell phone policy.

“We will eliminate preventable deaths in our lifetime,” Hersman said. “We know this is a bold idea, but it’s one that we cannot ignore.”