UW-Platteville to host inaugural Construction Safety Summit, welcome professionals from across country

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The University of Wisconsin-Platteville, along with industry partners, is hosting the inaugural Construction Safety Summit, March 27-30. The event is open to construction safety professionals at any stage in their career, as well as manufacturers and distributors in the safety field.

“This Construction Safety Summit aims to bring the culture of safety in the construction field to the forefront,” said Gretchen Bockenhauer, program coordinator and assistant professor of building construction management and lead organizer of the summit. “We hear from everyone in industry how important it is to create a culture of safety and the mindset of leadership will follow.”

The summit officially kicks off with the opening night keynote speaker, Gregory Sizemore, Associated Builders and Contractors vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development. Sizemore is a leader in the construction industry and business community on safety, total human health and workforce development.

Throughout the week, attendees will choose from more than 20 sessions, ranging from topics on crane operations, insurance programs and rigging safety to safety leadership for supervisors and value of certification. One of the sessions will feature nationally-known Regina McMichael, author of “The Safety Training Ninja,” a book used in UW-Platteville’s Construction Safety Management program’s curriculum.

Bockenhauer said one of the unique highlights of the week will be the Safety Apparel, PPE and Footwear Fashion Show. The event is co-organized with Amy Roosa, founder of The Safety Rack and advocate for women’s safety in the industry with a focus on personal protection equipment, or PPE, made specially for women.

“I am excited for this,” said Bockenhauer. “Growing up in the construction industry, I always had to buy men’s apparel, safety gear and footwear, and none of it ever fit right, which is a safety hazard in itself, because it can get caught on things. Now, we see this trend happening where companies are designing gear for women. We are even hearing of companies that have safety coats and safety vests for women who are pregnant. It really shows how the culture has changed and what used to be a male dominated field is now more diverse.”

The fashion show will highlight new apparel for both men and women and space is reserved for attendees to try on the gear. Other highlights of the summit include the vendor trade show, which will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday of the summit. More than 30 vendors will feature the latest tools, equipment, software, and resources for the safety professionals.

The four-day summit will offer multiple opportunities for networking, certifications, continuing education credits and hands-on activities aimed at making individuals well rounded safety professionals. This includes opportunities to re-certify in OSHA 500 and OSHA 510 certifications.

The event ends with the closing keynote speaker, Camille Oakes, president and CEO of Better Safety, LLC. Oakes has more than 15 years of experience in the field of safety and health and works with organizations to help them build better training and culture around safety.

“We are so excited to be bringing in all of these industry professionals from all over the country to one location that will allow for discussion and networking and show that we all have the same mindset of how important safety is,” said Bockenhauer.

The event will be held at the Grand River Conference Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Registration is currently open and will close at the end of February. For more information about the summit and to register, visit www.uwplatt.edu/css.