More than 6,000 safety and health professionals are attending the American Society of Safety Professionals Safety 23 Conference & Expo this week in San Antonio, Texas. The conference is an annual barometer of the state of the safety and health nation.

The profession continues to evolve. Ten years, even five years ago, these acronyms would have been foreign: ESG, DEI, HOP, and SIF. That’s environment, social and governance; diversity, equity and inclusion; human and organizational performance; and serious injuries and fatalities. All are topics of hour-long educational sessions. Meeting rooms were packed for presentations on mental health, sustainability, artificial intelligence, data-gathering personal wearables, leading indicators, mobile robots, risk management and psychosocial hazards, to name a few. 

The expo hall features a wide variety of personal protective equipment (PPE) made of new materials and designs, training companies, software firms, facility safety equipment, medical and health services and an ever-growing number of technology and data-driven companies. With 550 exhibitors, attendees can spend days touring the aisles.

“This event has just exploded,” says Blaine Krage, media relations manager for ASSP. Post-pandemic, there is pent-up demand to get out of the office, network with peers, and continue their education in the evolving world of occupational safety and health.