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Safety21 Conference + Expo What to Expect

The American Society of Safety Professionals’ (ASSP) Safety 2021 is “back and better than ever,” according to the organization, which had to convert last year’s conference to a virtual version due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This time around, virtual is still an option, but attendees can also take in the conference in person, in Austin, Texas as “a re-imagined in-person experience.”

The Safety 2021 Professional Development Conference & Exposition will run September 13-15 and include all of the features that have made this annual gathering one of the top occupational safety and health conferences in the world. There’ll be dozens of education sessions, and the chance to earn continuing education units (CEUs), the opportunity to network with peers and the chance to connect with exhibitors and learn about new products and services.

Key issues facing safety professionals will be identified and explored. Both the information gained in sessions and through speakers and the products and services shown by exhibitors are intended to provide safety professionals with solutions that they can apply to their workplace challenges. These include, of course, issues related to or revealed by the pandemic. The ASSP notes that “health and safety have never been more critical to operational success, and safety professionals are at the center of it all. What have we learned in this past year, and how can we apply it to a safer, stronger future?” In-person attendees will get to venture outside of the conference center and enjoy Austin, which is considered the live music capitol of the world, while those connecting online through the conference’s event platform will get live streaming and new ways to connect.

Session categories include:

  • Business leadership skills
  • Fall protection
  • Risk assessment and management
  • Total Worker Health

According to the ASSP, “There will be over 60 more concurrent sessions available in our online event! The sessions listed below will be pre-recorded and are designed specifically for our virtual format. Speakers will be available to chat live with online attendees during the premier broadcast of the session, and support materials can be downloaded after the presentation.”

Session topics include: Innovating for Safety: How Technology Can Create Safer Workplaces; Diversity in Global Organizations: Challenge for OSH Professionals; How to Leverage Social Media to Push a Safety Message; Agile Knowledge Sharing Through Microlearning;  Deploying Operations Risk Management in any Organization; Interesting OSHA Cases From the Field: Part 1; Mentorship In Safety: A Mentee/Mentor Phase Model; ANSI/ASSP Z359 Fall Protection and Restraint Forum; Lessons Learned From Recent OSHA Lead Inspections; A Risk-Based Approach to Fatigue Management; Virtual Ergonomics Solutions in the COVID-19 Environment; Our Dust Hazard Analysis Is Complete: What’s Next?; COVID-19 and Construction: How We Kept Working Safely; Driving Risk to an All-Time Low: The Journey to Zero; SMS implementation in the Military and Government Agencies; 500 Voices: Key Findings from a H&S Survey of Oil and Gas Workers; and Systems Thinking for Diverse Workforce Safety.

The speaker at the Opening General Session will be Connie Podesta, whose talk is entitled: “Relationships: Life Would Be Easy If It Weren’t for Other People.” Imagine what you could accomplish if you could understand what makes people do what they do and say what they say. Our ability to get along with others, at work and at home, is key to success. How we choose to relate to, communicate with, be accountable to, resolve conflict with and garner respect from other people directly impacts our ability to be happy, develop healthy relationships, collaborate effectively and experience success. Human relations expert Connie Podesta will share insight and tools to help us act rather than just react to whatever life throws our way.  

The Closing Session speaker on Wednesday afternoon will be Michael Bonner, Teacher of the Year and published author. Bonner’s topic: “Adapt and Elevate: Improving Performance Through Metacognition.” Challenge your assumptions. The entire world was forced to stop due to COVID-19 as it wreaked havoc across multiple industries. It dismantled many businesses and forced most organizations into emergency online systems. Despite all of the damage that has taken place, we have been presented with a prime opportunity to reimagine how we operate from a new perspective! In this keynote, Michael Bonner breaks down important principles of environment and culture, the importance of purposeful collaboration, and how self-development can create a higher level of performance.

The ASSP has established a range of protective measures for Safety 2021 intended to safeguard the health of attendees, exhibitors and ASSP staff. In-person attendees will be required to:

  • Provide proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours prior to the event.
  • Wear a mask (one will be provided to those who arrive without one).
  • Practice physical distancing in the convention center, hotel meeting rooms and on the exhibition floor.
  • Practice good hygiene (frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer).

The conference will have contactless registration and badge printout; regular cleaning protocols throughout the event; one-directional aisles and designated entrances/exits; seating limitations for all meetings and sessions and food options that are outside, to reduce the amount of time someone has their mask off indoors. WMHS

For more information about Safety 2021, visit

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