Our fall safety & health conference season extended into Washington state at the end of October, when about 120 local and regional occupational health and safety professionals and students gathered in Spokane for the 60th annual Pacific NW Section – American Industrial Hygiene Association (PNS-AIHA) fall conference (a.k.a. NW Occupational Health Conference, or NOHC). Three concurrent technical sessions kept everyone hopping. Exhibit booth time also gave us an opportunity to engage in conversation with dozens of colleagues about the Oregon Healthy Workplace Center and OR-FACE.
The Institute was well represented, with Kelsey Parker, PhD, project manager for the Community or Practice and Safety Support program, presenting updates on her field research study on the impact of caregiving on worker health. Barb Epstien, MPH, CIH, FAIHA (OR-FACE) and Todd Schoonover, PhD, CIH, CSP (WA FACE) collaborated on a joint presentation about FACE program perspectives on fatal logging injuries in the PNW: a review of Oregon and Washington surveillance data, investigations, field research, and prevention outreach.
Of course, the networking aspect of this conference is always a highlight, connecting and reconnecting with folks in all stages along the IH career pathway. My hopes for the future of our profession were boosted by the many student presentations, especially on relevant emerging issues, e.g. injury and illness prevention in non-traditional workplaces and industrial/occupational psychology perspectives.