The Congress on Safety in Engineering and Industry 2021 (Safety Congress 2021) will feature a broad cross-section of subject matter experts and thought leaders representing industry, regulatory organizations, and academia to share best practices and perspectives on the future of safety management. Plenary and keynote talks will provide context for more in-depth exploration of specific safety issues in breakout sessions and workshop settings.
The congress will host pre-conference opportunities for professional development.
Pre-Conference Course: Process Safety in Engineering and Industry
This course offers the one-day overview of risk-based process safety from the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS).
Pre-Conference Examination: Certified Mine Safety Professional (CMSP)
This exam is required for the Certified Mine Safety Professional (CMSP) credential. Interested candidates must be approved to sit for the exam and pay the certification fee. Apply now.
Keynote: "Controlling Risk—In a Dangerous World"
On the front lines of danger, operators face hazards and make life-and-death decisions in dynamic, complex situations. They are the last line of defense. How do we help them stay alive—and be more productive? Managers in organizations manage risk with systematic processes intended to limit the assessed risk. Even in the best organizations, when it is time to go to work, operators don’t manage risk; they control risk. To prevent all accidents—even unpredicted ones—the front-line workers need techniques to supplement the rules and procedures. Since the beginning of the space program, astronauts have developed techniques based on the principles of operating excellence to execute missions and stay alive in unforgiving environments. These principles-based techniques can help optimize performance in any high-risk businesses and accomplish more in our dangerous world—or out of this world!
Plenary Session: "The Value Proposition for Safety"
The engineering, construction, manufacturing, and transportation industries continue to experience significant operational and process safety incidents, despite having made great strides to improve safety. This is especially true in the construction industry, which when compared to other work industries, appears to have a disproportionate number of worker injuries and fatalities. Current safety management knowledge and concepts indicate a need to start addressing safety during planning and design. Hazard identification along with risk assessment and mitigation play a big part in injury and fatality prevention. Developing an overarching, comprehensive safety program requires forethought and planning. Using the hierarchy of controls as a starting point, this presentation outlines recommended practices for such a program that takes advantage of both design and construction to promote safe work sites.
Morning Breakout Sessions:
A. The Role of Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) Management Systems
Effective management systems require a high degree of ownership and involvement at all levels in an organization. This session will address the following aspects of management systems: What is the value of developing and implementing structured management systems? Why is management of change so important? How can management systems help in managing company versus contractor interfaces?
B. Integration of Safety in Regulatory Frameworks
Companies responsible for implementing innovative and sustainable safety management systems need a healthy partnership with regulators who are charged with oversight of those companies. How have industries and regulators effectively worked together in the past without compromising a regulator's core mission and role? How can build they upon this partnership in the future to promote a safer workplace?
C. Leadership Development
What are the key elements of a strong safety culture, and what can industry leaders do to foster a more effective culture within their organizations? This session will explore this important topic in more detail as well as address related issues.
Afternoon Breakout Sessions I:
A. University Safety Culture Best Practices & Opportunities
Laboratory operations often combine high-risk work and high resource investment due to the nature of research, development, and discovery. As such, academic research labs require consistent diligence toward safety, especially with regard to human health of the laboratory workers. In many cases, there are simple changes in policy, habit, or process that can both increase safety in the workplace and improve resource efficiency.
B. Effectively Managing Complex Systems
With the onset of innovative engineering solutions to technical problems and the application of increasingly complex technology in engineering, it is important to understand the roles and limitations of automation that should be considered as part of the equipment and process design. Key among these are the human factors considerations that should be addressed, as well as the challenges and effective management of human-machine interfaces.
C. Leadership for Today’s 24/7 Problems
For most companies, the cost of off-the-job injuries is higher than on the job, and command and control strategies have had little positive effect. Employees need to be introduced to practical tools that can be used every day to reduce injuries both on and off the job. This session will teach you how to recognize the repeated critical errors we make in virtually all injuries and drastically reduce injuries 24/7.
Afternoon Breakout Sessions II:
A. Finding Effective Partnerships for Improving Safety
Improving safety is a significant investment that may also improve management, communication, and productivity. But achieving the benefits of a safety culture can be a long-term and occasionally disruptive task. This session will focus on strategies and resources for organizations to find effective external partners. Funding sources, access to research and training materials, and effective coaching and consulting approaches will be discussed.
B. Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): The Changing Face of Risk in Facility and Infrastructure Inspections
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly known as drones, are being used increasingly for inspections of industrial facilities and infrastructure, as well as other applications such as mapping and seismic surveys. This discussion will cover uses of drones in inspections, new technologies for detecting issues such as flaws and defects, and how to ensure that the drone pilot is qualified and capable of safe and professional flight.
C. The Day We Will Remember—Safety Leadership on a Personal Level
We often fail to realize the effect of decisions on the circle of people in our lives. This session brings to light a real steel mill incident highlighting the impact it had not just on the injured, but more so on others who work and live with us daily. It is a moving and emotional session hosted by a career steel industry expert who has the knowledge and experience to talk directly about good decision making.
Morning Plenary Session: "Executing an Effective Risk Management Program"
Risk management is critical to all industries, as well as laboratory environments, but unfortunately it sometimes requires a disaster to remind us of this fact. Each and every individual is in the risk management business, and each person must take responsibility to identify and recognize the elements of risk in their respective operations or activities. No one can afford to ignore the risks in their activities or assume that someone else will address the risk exposures. Once risk is identified, we all have a responsibility to understand the consequences associated with the failure to address the risk by finding economically viable solutions that either eliminate the risk, mitigate it, or find a way to manage it to an acceptable level.
Morning Breakout Sessions:
A. Suicide and Fatigue in the Construction and Other Industries—Something We Need to Talk About
This panel is set to discuss mental health, depression, and suicide in various industries. A great place to start the conversation around wellbeing is simply just that: to start the conversation, encouraging a new era of dialogue around mental illness and physical health, and asking for all to take ownership of their mental and physical health and to keep an eye out for any concerning signs and symptoms in their workmates and colleagues.
B. Incident Investigation
The importance of conducting effective incident investigations is to prevent future incidents by understanding and learning from past experiences—both incidents and near misses. This session describes the components of an effective incident investigation program. The underlying facts, root causes, and contributing factors of events over time, or across sites and organizations, must then be analyzed for trends in an effort to identify potential broader, systemic implications for things like procedures, design standards, and practices.
C. Identifying Critical Issues during the Review of Lift Plans for Cranes and Alternative Lifting Methods
The panel will discuss identifying critical issues that can be found during the review of lift plans that may affect safe crane and rigging operations. Discussions will highlight critical items that can be incorporated into a prepared jobsite pre-lift checklist to ensure a safe lift. The panel will also discuss sensor technology and its benefits and challenges.
Young Professional & Student Session
Afternoon Plenary Session: "The Role of Technology & Innovation in Improving Safety Performance"
Over the years we have seen a dramatic improvement in safety (and environmental) performance through the implementation of new technologies. While some of these technologies help mitigate the outcome of an incident such as seatbelts and airbags, others help prevent the incident or take the worker out of a harmful situation. We have developed vehicles that can be remotely driven or piloted to conduct inspections and replace workers at height and in hazmat gear. Innovations such as robots to maneuver heavy equipment can help with safety and quality in manufacturing. What innovations are in the works and what should we expect to see in the future that will help improve safety in our working environment? We also must ask, what new risk might we introduce with these new technologies?
Afternoon Breakout Sessions:
A. Preparing University Students for Industry
The transition from a university environment to industry can be an eye-opener. This session will explore what can and should be done to prepare students to enter the workforce from a safety perspective, as well as how modern technology can be applied in industry to improve safety. While still at the university or in a laboratory environment, this session will also explore what learnings from industry can be applied to improve safety and also start instilling a safety culture at the personal level.
B. Case Studies: Challenges in Learning from the Past
Aligned with the theme of learning from the past, one of the most effective ways to do this is to highlight case studies and incident investigations. This session will discuss the barriers to sharing and improving within an industry sector and across industries.
C. Interfacing Workers and Machinery in an Industrial Environment
Every year the injury statistics continue to highlight the risk we face when workers and machinery work in the same environment. This session is designed to provide the attendee with the latest information on what work is being done to lower the risk of this interface through the use of awareness training, equipment technology, workplace designs, and more, which are all designed to reduce or even eliminate the interaction and subsequently lead to improved safety in an industrial environment.
Afternoon Plenary Session: "Planning & Preparedness for Safety and Health Emergencies"
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on society and the way we conduct business. What lessons have we learned, and what do we continue to learn, to make our responses effective? The panel will explore some health strategies of organizations, examine their efficacy, and discuss potential improvements to ensure a sustainable and resilient approach going forward. The panelists will discuss the health and safety issues around COVID-19 and the latest thinking of how we manage disease now and in the future.
Dinner with Keynote: "The Power of Collaboration to Improve Safety"
In the mid-1990s, the fatal accident rate in U.S. commercial aviation, after declining significantly for several decades, had begun to reach a plateau. The industry’s response was a collaborative safety improvement program called CAST, the Commercial Aviation Safety Team. CAST brought together the key industry participants – airlines, manufacturers, pilots, air traffic controllers, mechanics, airports, and the regulator – to collaborate. Their work would (a) identify safety issues; (b) prioritize those issues, since more issues would be identified than there were resources to address; (c) develop interventions for the prioritized issues; and (d) evaluate whether the interventions were producing the desired outcome. CAST has been successful beyond all expectations. Although many safety experts thought that the fatal accident rate in the 1990s was already exemplary, CAST reduced the rate by more than 80% in less than 10 years, while also improving productivity. This presentation is about the transferability of CAST to improve process safety in other potentially hazardous industries, including nuclear power, petroleum exploration and refining, chemical manufacturing, and healthcare, to name a few.
Plenary Session: "Leading the Future of Safety by Learning from the Past"
At the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), we recognize that a safe and healthful workplace is essential to our mission delivery. Safe work practices and a safe work environment are critical to employee wellbeing and to the conduct of world-class science. In fact, world-class science demands world-class safety. The essential elements for world-class safety are: leadership commitment; clearly documented and well-communicated roles, responsibilities, and requirements; employee participation in creating and implementing safe work procedures; and a robust safety management system grounded in continual improvement. As each of these elements strengthen and improve, so does the safety culture of the organization. In this presentation, I will discuss the development and evolution of each of these elements as part of the NIST journey that led to the safety management system, practices and culture that we have today.
A. Prevention through Engineering Design
A proven method to improve safety for any facility is to remain focused on engineering safety during the front-end engineering design (FEED) stage and on the maintenance of effective programs, procedures, and practices. This session will explore considerations in the development and application of new technology, the role of digital technology, and how organizations can effectively assess prospective new operating environments.
B. The Role of More Effective Data Management
In this age of big data, it is important to recognize the role of effective and innovative data management in improving safety performance. Several studies show a clear need and benefit for pooling data in order to have a complete picture of the safety in any industry sector. To do this effectively, it is important to recognize the need for common definitions to facilitate data and experience sharing.
C. Risk Identification and Tolerance
The objective of this session will be to address processes for identifying and managing different types of risk that may present the greatest challenges in any work environment. Specific aspects to be discussed include: the value of risk matrices and risk registers; the integrity and effectiveness of barriers; risk tolerance at the individual and company levels.
Event Wrap-up and Closing Remarks