On September 8, 2016, more than 500 people gathered at the Coralville Marriott Hotel & Conference Center for the third annual Hawkeye on Safety conference. Hundreds of workers from dozens of organizations throughout the region received potentially life-saving information from leading voices in safety and health.

The program was a mix of new content and popular and important sessions from previous years. Topics included fall protection, distracted driving, stress in the workplace, ergonomics, and creating a culture of safety in the workplace. Trainers from the University of Iowa Police Department provided an especially popular presentation called Violent Incident Survival Training, which prepares participants to survive violent incidents like an active shooter scenario.

This year’s conference also introduced two-hour sessions that allowed the conference to address essential topics in much greater detail. Two-hour sessions included the UIPD’s VIST course, an update on OSHA news and rules, safety communication, substance abuse in the workplace and at home, trench and excavation safety, and the 2015 edition of the NFPA 70E safety standard. This format also allowed for a screening of the film A Day’s Work to be followed by an expert discussion panel that provided context for the film.

Keynote Speakers Dan Gable and Eric Giguere

The opening keynote speaker was Olympic gold medalist and coach Dan Gable, who connected the themes of prevention and safety with his own personal experiences as an athlete, coach, and father. Eric Giguere of Safety Awareness Solutions provided a dramatic closing keynote describing his near-death experience during a trenching and shoring accident. Several participants in the program lined up after Giguere’s presentation to tell him how strongly his story had affected them.

In a surprise lunchtime ceremony, the first annual Hawkeye on Safety Excellence in Safety Award was granted to Robert “Safety Bob” St.Clair, honoring his commitment to providing safety education and training in the region. The Hawkeye on Safety planning committee will soon begin accepting applications for the second annual Excellence in Safety Award—so start thinking now about whom you’re going to nominate!

Robert “Safety Bob” St.Clair Receives His Award

The date for Hawkeye on Safety 2017 was also announced: make sure to mark your calendar for September 20, 2017. We hope we’ll see you there.

The Hawkeye on Safety conference is the result of a unique partnership that includes the Heartland Center for Occupational Health & Safety, University of Iowa Facilities Management, WorkSafe Iowa, the Healthier Workforce Center of the Midwest, and a number of community leaders from the worlds of organized labor and private industry.

The conference was also made possible by the sponsorship of many local and national organizations, including: Built by Pros; Carpenters Local 1260; Iowa’s Building Trades Unions; Laborer-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust; North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters; United Fire Group; Cedar Rapids & Iowa City Building Trades Council; Sedgwick; McComas-Lacina Construction, LC; Miron Construction Co., Inc.; Gilbane Building Company; Holmes Murphy; Iron Workers Local 89; Millwright Local Union 2158; Mortenson Construction; Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield; Benefits Management Group, Inc.; Blake &  Uhlig, P.A.; Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust; the Healthier Workforce Center for Excellence; and Rush & Nicholson, P.L.C.