Oregon occupational safety and health conferences return!

Those active in Oregon’s occupational safety and health landscape know the tremendous opportunities provided to us through conferences sponsored by Oregon OSHA, with support from partnering organizations and associations. These regional events create annual opportunities to learn and network with colleagues and friends. Our Institute and Oregon Healthy Workforce Center prioritize our attendance at each of these conferences: Cascade (March even years, Eugene), Blue Mountain (June, Pendleton), Southern Oregon (October, Medford), Central Oregon (September, Bend), Western Pulp, Paper and Forest Products (December, Portland), VPPAA Region 10 (March rotating to OR, ID, AK or WA) and the premier Governor’s Safety and Health Conference (March odd years, GOSH in Portland). See Oregon OSHA conferences.

We appreciate the opportunity to exhibit, share our research and teach technical sessions, particularly after two years of conference live event cancellations. Based on the interactions I had this week in Pendleton it is clear that attendees share the same enthusiasm I feel! We know large gatherings continue to carry a risk of COVID exposure, and I appreciate conference planners and attendees all doing what we can to minimize that risk. Within a few minutes of my arrival at last month’s Region X VPPPA conference in Boise and this week’s Blue Mountain event I was reminded of the importance of our in-person, sometimes spontaneous interactions. It was here at our exhibit table I reconnected with Apollo Mechanical’s Corporate Safety Director, Mike Ellis. Apollo was an early adopter of our Oregon Total Worker Health® Alliance education, including their entire safety staff in “Total Worker Health 101: The Basics.” (Mike will present at our July 2022 Summer Institute.) It was here too that I reconnected with a safety committee from Lamb Weston, the same team who shared shift work scheduling successes in a class I taught several years ago: this week I learned how it has progressed. It is these events that allow us to reach out to employers to share our work and learn about challenges and successes in diverse workplaces across Oregon.

These opportunities happen because of commitment from Oregon OSHA and its amazing conference team composed of Diane Kronemann, Jill McConnell and Sharell Lien, with support from safety educator Craig Hamelund. Because COVID disrupted prior conferences, this week the Oregon SHARP Alliance awarded all star Sharell Lien with the 2020 Blue Star Award.

The mission of the Oregon SHARP Alliance is to “promote safety and health management and cooperation among companies and government for the betterment of all Oregon workers.” The Blue Star Award recognizes outstanding service and dedication to safety and health and for the positive impact the awardee has on others. Congratulations to Sharell! Anyone who has been involved in an Oregon OSHA conference as an attendee, speaker, conference planner or exhibitor has observed Sharell’s magic in conference planning.

We thank all who make these conferences happen, and can’t wait to see you at the Central Oregon Conference in September!

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