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October 24, 2002

Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Conference set for Oct. 30 - 31

TUMWATER - Washington's employers and workers will gather in Spokane next week for the 51st Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Conference. Attendees will devote two days to improving workplace safety and health while exploring the latest tools and technologies for producing safer workplaces.

An estimated 1,800 people are expected to attend this year's conference, to be held Oct. 30 and 31 at the Spokane Convention Center. The agenda includes workshops and panel discussions on terrorism, basic workplace safety and ergonomics, among other topics. Other events include the annual forklift rodeo, annual poletop rescue competition, trade exhibits and the presentation, by Gov. Gary Locke, of 24 lifesaving awards.

This year's keynote address will be given by Ron Heagy, who at the age of 17, fell victim to a surfing accident that left him a quadriplegic. Now in his thirties, Heagy is married, has a master's degree, and travels across the country sharing his story of triumph over tragedy and the importance of a positive attitude.

Washington state began holding safety and health conferences in 1949 after President Harry Truman convened a conference of governors in Washington, D.C., challenging them to cut in half the two million workplace injuries that were occurring each year. The President urged all the governors to return to their states and sponsor conferences to educate the workforce in incident prevention. Since then, Washington has held 50 annual conferences, alternating between Seattle and Spokane.

Wednesday afternoon will be dedicated to safety workshops covering various industries, including aerospace, agriculture, chemical and petroleum, construction, forest products and maritime. A health-care panel will discuss the selection and use of personal protective equipment against biological weapons. Thursday's sessions will cover such issues as ergonomics, how to effectively use safety committees, building evacuation following a disaster and hazardous-materials training for supervisors. Terrorism topics, to be covered both days, include lessons from 9-11, a terrorism assessment of threats and our readiness in Washington, decontamination procedures, homeland security and coping with a critical incident response.

The cost for the conference is $75 at the door. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday morning. The conference is sponsored by the Governor's Industrial Safety and Health Advisory Board and the Department of Labor & Industries

Conference at a Glance

Wednesday, Oct. 30



8 a.m. 

Registration and Exhibits open,
Cyber Caf, No-Zone display
School-to-Work Program (3-hour session), Cubical Yoga

9:30 a.m.

Opening Session, Welcome Addresses,
Lifesaving Awards, Keynote Speaker


Lunch on your own, Forklift Rodeo


OSHA Recordkeeping, Poletop Competition,
Forklift Rodeo, Panel Sessions

Conference at a Glance

Thursday, Oct. 31



8 a.m.

Registration and Exhibits open,
Cyber Caf, No-Zone display

8 a.m., 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Blockbuster Sessions: Safety 101, Terrorism/Security, Operating and Working Safely Around Vehicles and Industrial Equipment (not offered at 11 a.m.)

WISHA Regulatory Update, Panel Sessions


Conference Luncheon, Luncheon Speaker, Poletop Competition Awards, Forklift Competition Awards,
Grand Prize Drawings

2 p.m.

Conference ends


For media information, contact: 
Jim Knutsen, L&I, 360-902-5402, knuj235@lni.wa.gov

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