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What We’re Looking Forward to at the 2019 NSC Congress & Expo

Toby Graham /
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In a few days, environmental health and safety professionals from all over the world will converge on San Diego for the 2019 National Safety Council Congress & Expo. As the world’s largest annual event dedicated to workplace safety, the gathering showcases the latest EHS solutions and features numerous keynotes and exclusive educational sessions.

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Chris Fanning, CEO, President

The KPA team will be there this year—how about you? As thrilled as we are to demonstrate the latest developments in our EHS and workforce compliance platforms (and there’s plenty to show off), we’re equally excited to connect with our clients, colleagues, partners, and friends.

Rather than simply list everything we’re looking forward to, we thought we’d share a conversation between our VP of Marketing, Abe Cohen, and our CEO, Chris Fanning. Abe and Chris will both be in attendance at the 2019 NSC Expo. The two recently sat down to discuss their expectations, goals, hopes, and dreams for the event.

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Abe Cohen, VP Marketing

Take it away, Abe and Chris!

ABE COHEN: Hi Chris.


ABE COHEN: So, tell me, Chris—what’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get to San Diego?

CHRIS FANNING: Well, the honest answer is grabbing a fish taco at Rubio’s, but I know you’re talking about NSC.

ABE COHEN: Right, let’s start with what happens after Rubio’s.

CHRIS FANNING: I’m looking forward to the opening keynote from Mick Ebeling, the CEO of Not Impossible Labs, who will be talking about the ways we can transform what seems impossible today into the innovations of tomorrow. I watched the NSC’s teaser video with Mick, and his work seems quite powerful.

ABE COHEN: That’s something we talk about with clients, and internally—making the impossible possible.

CHRIS FANNING: Right. Nothing that can improve safety should be considered impossible.

ABE COHEN: What other talks are you looking forward to?

CHRIS FANNING: There’s a session titled “Aligning to Velocity: Mitigating Safety Risk in the Era of Acceleration,” presented by Jim Carroll. That caught my eye immediately. Jim is a futurist who has worked with major organizations like Pfizer, NASA, Disney, and Johnson & Johnson. He’ll be talking about technologies and trends like machine learning, augmented reality, and 3D printing, and how organizations can tap into all of that effectively without causing regulatory headaches.

I’m betting there will be a lot of talk about automation, which is an important component of what we do. His mantra is “think big, start small, scale fast,” and I think that’s generally great advice for any new initiative. I also noticed a question here in the description of Jim’s session: “Are you ready for what comes next, with a risk and safety management strategy that aligns to the faster evolution of new trends today?” I think that’s at the top of a lot of organizational leaders’ minds right now—balancing staying ahead of innovation with the need to minimize risk.

What sessions caught your eye?

ABE COHEN: I noticed a good number of sessions focused on data: how to use data to address safety issues and measure performance, measuring culture, evaluating and controlling risk, etc. Those are important topics given how much data we’re able to produce these days and how challenging it can be for many companies to harness and analyze the numbers.

Another session that stands out to me is “Risk Management: Faster, Funnier (It Doesn’t Have to Hurt),” which is described as a “high-energy, humorous” look at selling risk management in less than a minute to an “attention-challenged workforce.” We’ve found that organizations that embrace humor in their training and frame issues in terms workers can easily relate to tend to perform better, because things stick better.

And there are a couple sessions I’m planning on attending about drugs in the workplace—one about the changing landscape around cannabis, and another about opioids. We get questions from clients and prospects all the time about those substances. So many organizations see the obvious risks but don’t know what their legal options are.

CHRIS FANNING: Those are definitely some relevant topics. I also noticed a handful of sessions this year that draw on psychology: “The Psychology of Risk Homeostasis: Why Smart Technology Makes Us Take More Risks,” “The Human Dynamics of Achieving an Injury-Free Workplace: Life Lessons from Psychological Science,” and “How Personality Tendencies Impact Risk.” I’m sure those will be fascinating. Many employers don’t realize how big of a role personality plays in EHS and risk management. We hear about it in HR matters, like sexual harassment, but it impacts safety practices, too. Speaking of HR, there’s a session about the relationship between human resources and risk management.

ABE COHEN: There are really so many great sessions to choose from. But you and I know the best parts of these events frequently happen outside of sessions. Out on the floor, talking to people, learning how companies are addressing their safety challenges.

CHRIS FANNING: I completely agree. NSC is a tremendous opportunity to network and connect with safety professionals from around the country—and the world—and learn what goals and challenges they’re facing. KPA is a company founded on partnerships with the organizations we serve—our clients rely on us for expertise and industry-leading solutions, and we depend on them to guide us in improving our platform and developing our priorities. And with other safety practitioners, there’s always so much to learn in how others are approaching their problems and what new processes and innovations they’ve come up with.

ABE COHEN: In other words, for anyone reading this conversation on our blog, what we’re looking forward to most is connecting with them.

CHRIS FANNING: Yes, time with our clients, prospects, and contacts is invaluable to us—and we’re dedicated to making it invaluable for them as well. They’re the reason we’re going to San Diego.

ABE COHEN: The people… and the fish tacos, right?

CHRIS FANNING: And the fish tacos.

Attending the NSC Expo in San Diego? Come talk to Chris, Abe and the rest of the KPA team at booth 4355. We would love to dig into your organization’s individual needs and concerns and give you a personalized demo of our EHS software platform.

 Schedule a free consultation with KPA at NSC Expo 2019.

Or, want to chat directly with Chris or Abe, contact them at or

See you there!

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