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Safety Fest of the Great Northwest, Boise 2020

February 10, 2020

Safety first. And second and third.

Late in January I had the professional pleasure, along with Recon Dynamics’s Justin Loidolt, V.P. of Enterprise Solutions, of attending a trade show. Not just any trade show. It was a 4-day event in Boise (called Safety Fest of the Great Northwest.

The show was described by its organizer’s as “a training event that offers free safety and health training to workers, supervisors, and managers of all levels.” As you can imagine, safety was not just a topic, it was the topic – an extremely necessary one given the injury statistics.

Last year alone there were more than 4 million workplace injuries. How many workers died? More than 5,000. Which industry had the highest number of fatalities? Construction, with roughly 20% of all worker deaths. The total annual cost of workplace injuries is staggering: more than $150 billion. I could go on, but you get the picture.

 According to OSHA, most workplace injuries and deaths can be avoided. This was a major goal of the event.


Seminars, ladders, and cookies

We saw distributors, manufacturers, educators, tool reps, associations and, of course, a wide variety of vendors – all with safety on their minds and often on display. There were terrific prizes (DeWalt tools) given to the winners of vendor bingo. A keynote speaker, Tim Creasey, who was both funny and informative. Even fabulous cookies. (Ask Justin about the oatmeal raisin.)

There was a luncheon with OSHA, where attendees got a chance to meet some of the OSHA staff, get quick updates, and ask any burning questions.

There were seminars on healthcare sponsored by the event’s Platinum Sponsor, St. Luke’s Health System, covering everything from Making Physical Environments Safe to Job Hazard Analysis to Workplace Violence.

Attendees were treated to an informative talk on safety as a competitive advantage, and even learned how to do simple stretches to prevent injury, the Captain Morgan stretch.

Werner Ladders was there with a very smart safety harness that allows blood to flow to a person’s legs if they fall off the ladder. (Other harnesses cut off blood supply to the legs, which can lead to serious problems.) Construction companies of many types and sizes were also there, including the event’s Gold Sponsor, Anderson Construction.


A horn to remember

Recon Dynamics was there with our Aerial Lift Training System. Too many workers are seriously hurt, some even die, simply because they forget to clip in to their aerial lift bucket. Recon’s device, which encourages people to use their lanyard and safety harness, works like a car’s safety belt system. But instead of sounding a mildly annoying beep, it emits a very loud, piercing blast if a worker isn’t strapped in securely.

Because this feature is so important and plays such a key role in the system’s success, we brought a display to the show that demonstrated the horn. Nobody who heard it will easily forget it. We hope they also remember the horn’s purpose.

Perhaps my favorite vendor was the local Woodcraft store. They were there demonstrating a table saw called SawStop that can actually sense human skin hitting the blade – and automatically shuts off within milliseconds. Wow. Although I wasn’t about to personally test that feature, I have no doubt it works.

I was also wowed by a company called Hard Hat Training. As its name suggests, it offers all kinds of useful safety education tools, including online training, onsite courses, videos, DIY kits, etc.

Justin and I walked away seriously impressed, not just by the efficient way the show was run, but by the many innovative ideas and products developed to enhance worker safety. By the way, Safety Fest of the Great Northwest is an annual event. See you there next year?

If by chance, you were able to attend, we’d love to hear your thoughts. If you take a minute to answer this brief survey we’ll also share the results with you. 



Want to learn more about Recon Dynamics’s tech-based safety advances? Contact me.

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