By Stephanie Malench
EDWARDSVILLE — The Southern Illinois Occupational Safety and Health (SIOSH) held its annual SafetyCon in the Morris University Center at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville on Jan. 29, 2024.
The conference has been held for nearly 10 years to raise awareness of the importance of safety in the workplace and on construction sites. Over 240 construction, manufacturing, and trades business owners, managers, and leads attended this all-day event that began with a powerful keynote address by business coach Marc D. Braun titled “Creating A Courageous Safety Culture”.
Attendees chose three breakout sessions, two in the morning and one in the afternoon on topics including presentations on equipment, leadership, managing the workplace risks of marijuana, traumatic brain injuries in construction, an update on OSHA initiatives and programs (offered all three breakout sessions), and more.
During lunch, Illinois Department of Labor Industrial Hygiene Supervisor Mica Chunes explained the purpose and benefits of the Illinois OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). The program is free for businesses and are under no obligation to do anything with the report unless there is a serious violation that has to be remediated within a specified length of time. Companies that participate in the VPP have to submit annual reviews and undergo rigorous on-site evaluations and are exempt from having OSHA come in for an inspection unless an injury or death is reported.
At the end of the day, attendees had two hours to network with industry leaders and vendors, including the Illinois Department of Labor Onsite Safety & Health Construction Program, Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, Occupational Safety & Health Consultation Program, Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Archview Services, Flex-Line Automation, Inc., SIH Work Care White Cap Supply, TVG-Medulla L.L.C/Chiro One Wellness, and TekSolv. Attendance prizes were also given out at this time, including a $500 cash prize, two $250 cash prizes, six $100 bills, six $50 bills, 10 $100 gift cards to Bass Pro Shop and Cabela’s, an 18 oz Yeti hopper with lid, 12 oz Yeti hopper with lid, a Yeti lunch bag, four Milwaukee Sawzalls including battery kit, 3 Milwaukee M18 hammer drill and impact tool kit.