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|Region X Boise, Idaho, Area Office Co-Sponsors Safety Fest of the Great Northwest|
OSHA’s Region X Boise, Idaho, Area Office joined with local construction-related businesses and trade and professional associations to provide more than 400 people with safety and health training and information at the 1st Safety Fest of the Great Northwest. This event, November 29—December 2, 2005, was free of charge. A key organizer of Safety Fest was OSHA’s Alliance Program participant Washington Group International (now known as Washington Division of URS Corporation). In addition, the Associated General Contractors of Idaho and the Idaho Division of Professional Technical Education helped support the event. During the event at Washington Group's offices in Boise, Idaho, presentations and training courses were given on a number of occupational health and safety issues related to youth initiatives, fall protection, highway work zones, accident investigation, cranes, and hearing conservation.
Keynote speaker, Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne told the attendees how important the Safety Fest was to the construction industry in the Northwest and commended the sponsors for making such an extensive construction-oriented safety training program possible. Safety Fest’s attendees represented a broad range of local businesses from the public and private sectors in Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington State.
During the event, more than 165 attendees completed the OSHA 10-Hour General Industry or Construction Outreach Training Programs and earned the 10-Hour OSHA Training Card. Thirty six of these participants attended the two OSHA 10-Hour Construction Outreach Training Programs conducted in Spanish. Bill Bankhead, Compliance Assistance Specialist, from OSHA’s Region X Boise, Idaho, Area Office presented the OSHA portion of the Programs.
Fall protection issues were addressed by instructors from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), an Alliance Program participant, and safety equipment companies. "Falls account for most of the deaths in construction. Anytime you can teach on that subject, you have the potential to save lives," said Dick Terrill, OSHA Region X Administrator. He emphasized that Idaho’s safety professionals are addressing this critical element of construction work, and as a result, "It’s significant in Idaho that construction activity has grown dramatically and the number of injuries and fatalities has been reduced."
Safety Fest also provided an opportunity for attendees to meet with representatives from professional safety organizations such as ASSE and the Council on the Certification of Health, Environmental and Safety Technologists, another Alliance Program participant, and various safety equipment companies. These organizations were available in Safety Fest’s vendor area to discuss improvements in safety equipment and best practices. In addition, representatives from the Boise State University OSHA On-site Consultation Program talked with the attendees about its free services, available to Idaho’s small business owners.
2009 Safety Fests
Since the 1st Annual Safety Fest was held in 2005, three more Safety Fests of the Great Northwest have been held in Boise, Idaho. The events, which continue to be free, have attracted a growing audience.
The 4th Annual Safety Fest of the Great Northwest, held in Boise on January 27-30, 2009, attracted 718 attendees. This event offered 39 safety and health training classes on topics including accident investigation, combustible dust, ergonomics in construction, fall protection, forklift operation, and respiratory protection.
The classes also included the OSHA 10-Hour General Industry and Construction Outreach Training Program courses in English and Spanish. Over 200 people attended these courses and earned their OSHA 10-Hour Cards, including 18 people who took the OSHA 10-Hour Construction course in Spanish.
Building on the success of the events in Boise, a Northern Idaho Safety Fest of the Great Northwest was held for the first time on February 24-27, 2009 in Post Falls, Idaho. This event was organized to bring free safety and health training to front-line employees, supervisors, and managers in the northern part of Idaho and surrounding states. Over 400 people attended this event, which featured 26 classes. The event was sponsored by several businesses, including Ansley Inc., the Washington Division of URS Corporation, ACI Northwest Inc., Merritt Brothers Lumber Company, and the Idaho Forest Group. Other sponsors included OSHA, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Pacific Northwest OSHA Education Center, the Associated General Contractors of Idaho, and the Associated Builders and Contractors – Inland Pacific Chapter.
Richard Terrill, Regional Administrator for OSHA Region X, gave the keynote presentation at both of the 2009 Safety Fests. Both events also featured a presentation during the opening session on homeland security issues for businesses given by Major Fred Long, the Commander of the 101st Civil Support Team from the Idaho National Guard.
For additional information about this Regional Showcase Story, please contact Jerry Hockett, Area Director of the Region X Boise, Idaho, Area Office.
As of July 2006 (updated March 2009).