By Jeff Cloninger
BOONE, N.C.—The third annual Appalachian Safety Summit will take place in the Plemmons Student Union on the campus of Appalachian State University May 30 – 31.
The Appalachian Safety Summit educates and informs safety employees, teams and managers about the latest research in behavioral safety approaches in changing safety culture. Attendees learn the tools and strategies to help motivate employees to maintain safe behavior that ensures a more productive and safe workplace.
Registration for the event is now underway and is offered through the Appalachian Safety Summit web site: https://www.appalachiansafetysummit.com
The summit will begin with pre-conference workshops May 30 from 1 – 4 p.m. on topics such as collecting and using data to assess and evolve safety programs, hazard identification, implementing a safety analytics solution for your organization, and safety/life lessons from psychological science. The summit’s main event will take place May 31 from 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., featuring presentations by experts in the field and breakout sessions.
According to Dr. Timothy Ludwig, director of the Appalachian Safety Summit and professor in the Appalachian’s Department of Psychology, attendees at last year’s summit numbered nearly 100 and “included safety professionals and business people in medium and large industries who are dedicated to safety in their work environments.”
Steeped in behavioral psychology, Ludwig approaches workplace safety with an eye to how the environment influences behavior. He said his approach, and that of other presenters at the summit, “focuses on how to shape safety systems and culture, with the goal of helping employees to make good judgments.”
When asked about goals for the summit, Ludwig replied, “Ultimately, we want to reduce workplace injuries in companies in the region. We want to make people’s lives better, reduce suffering caused by workplace injuries with the science we have to offer.”
He continued, “More locally, we want to provide professionals in North Carolina with access to experts who are known internationally, and for Appalachian we want to build relationships with the business community, so our students can secure internships and get to know professionals in the field. Also, proceeds from the Safety Summit can benefit students with projects and research.”
Speakers at this year’s Appalachian Safety Summit include top experts in the behavioral safety field. The keynote speaker is Dr. Aubrey Daniels, head of the Atlanta-based firm Aubrey Daniels International. His consulting firm helps organizations around the world enhance employee productivity while building a culture of safety. He is the author of six books, one of which is in its third edition: “Bringing Out the Best in People: How to Apply the Astonishing Power of Positive Reinforcement.”
Other speakers include Ludwig, one of Industrial Safety and Hygiene News Magazine’s “Power 101” Leaders in the Safety and Health World; Dr. Chuck Pettinger of Blacksburg, Virginia, an expert with analytics to improve safety culture who was named among Industrial Safety and Hygiene News Magazine’s “Top 50 Thought Leaders for Today and Tomorrow”; Connie Engelbrecht, director of Total Safety Culture App Ltd., headquartered in South Africa, who advocates proactive safety solutions, including positive reinforcement; and Dr. Thomas Cunningham, a behavioral scientist and head of the Research and Evaluation Branch of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.