Northwest Occupational Health Conference 2022 Recap

Blog submitted by Jackie Boyd, Research Project Coordinator

I was able to attend the Northwest Occupational Health Conference (NOHC) in Kennewick, Washington hosted by the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (PNS-AIHA). Not only was this their first in-person conference in a couple of years, but it was also their first hybrid conference. It was wonderful to see both an in-person and a virtual audience, with people from different areas of expertise in the health and safety profession. With this being my first conference, it was nice to attend a conference with a smaller and regional venue. Everyone was so welcoming and it was great to connect with health and safety professionals from across the Pacific Northwest in different organizations.

The first day of the conference was a Professional Development Short Course focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the health and safety field. The day was filled with a mix of presentations and workshops. One workshop focused on ethics in the health and safety profession, where we ran through different scenarios to dissect DEI issues presented in the scenarios. Later in the afternoon, a couple of researchers from the Diversity, Allies, Stereotypes and Health (DASH) Lab at Portland State University presented a workshop on becoming allies for coworkers tailored to the health and safety field. Overall, from the short course, I learned how to identify and approach difficult DEI topics within health and safety in order to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace environment for everyone.

Tabling at the Northwest Occupational Health Conference (NOHC)

The other two days were filled with presentations on a wide variety of topics in health and safety. Some topics from the presentations included hazards within the workplace, workplace violence, managing employee risk expectations and maritime safety. There was even a presentation on using technology in the wake of the pandemic to develop interactive health and safety trainings. It was great to get a wide variety of health and safety topics during the conference, some that I was not familiar with.

I was delighted to give a presentation on the Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE) program. The OR-FACE program conducts surveillance, investigation and assessment of traumatic workplace fatalities in the state of Oregon. This program also produces and disseminates safety materials to promote worker safety. During my presentation, I gave an overview of the OR-FACE program while going through our current grant cycle aims. I touched on our core areas of surveillance, investigation and outreach while talking about our many key partnerships. OR-FACE’s current aims include:

  1. Maintain and evaluate core research processes of occupational fatality surveillance, investigation, and outreach.
  2. Conduct epidemiological surveillance research with disabling workers’ compensation injury claims to inform fatality surveillance and prevention.
  3. Partner with established training series to disseminate fatality prevention information in high-risk industries.
  4. Implement targeted outreach through intermediary organizations based on our prior field research.

Photos showing the agenda for the NOHC

Visit the PNS-AIHA website to learn more about the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the events they host. Next year’s NOHC will be in Olympia, Washington.

Learn more about Jackie on her Staff Spotlight blog post.