Quotes from the 2021 VelocityEHS Short Conference

An image of a DNA strand demonstrating the relationship between human expertise and technology.

The second VelocityEHS Short Conference, held last Wednesday, May 12th, was a hit! With 500 virtual attendees, this one-day event was packed with information and guidance from true environmental, health & safety (EHS) experts. VelocityEHS was tweeting live throughout the day, sharing top tips and insightful quotes from the sessions.

The day's opening remarks, How Technology is Transforming EHS”, given by VelocityEHS President & COO, Matt Airhart, set a strong tone for the conference. He marveled at the endless innovations that can be made when humans use their expertise to enhance the software they create. To best utilize EHS technology in the future, it should be guided by world-class practitioners who will develop ideas based on process and backed by data.

"Combining expertise with high-performance technology is in our DNA. The two strands of expertise and technology connect in important ways that activate a capacity that would otherwise remain untapped potential." - Matt Airhart, President & COO, VelocityEHS

VelocityEHS is proud to know many of those world-class EHS practitioners, who led the Short Conference's sessions.

The first session of the day, Risk vs. Compliance: A Fast-Paced Panel Discussion,” was a unique panel discussion between three EHS professionals, Jules Hinske, Frank Skiba, and Alex Apostolou, about the significance of risk and compliance in the workplace. Moderated by Rick Barker, CPE, CSP, and Principal Solutions Strategist for Ergonomics with VelocityEHS, the panelists each had 90 seconds to answer questions submitted from the session's audience members. Here are some of the strongest quotes of the conversation:

  • "History has shown a compliance-based approach isn't enough to reduce incidents... A risk-based approach lets you put your resources where your risk is highest." - Jules Hinske, North America Process Safety Manager at Unilever
  • "Looking at the letter of the law is not enough to be compliant anymore...sustainability is grounded in the concept of risk." - Frank Skiba, Audit & Risk Product Manager at VelocityEHS
  • "Risk management works best when it drives across all levels of the organization. Empathy & engagement is key to unify and improve the business." - Alex Apostolou, Principal Solutions Strategist, Risk Management at VelocityEHS

In the next session, W.L. Gore and Associates, Inc. Systems Approach Built to Stand the Test of Time,” Michael Mauro of W. L. Gore  shared with attendees how this company created and implemented a systems-based approach to its ergonomics program with Humantech Ergonomics by VelocityEHS, after realizing the poor effectiveness of what was then its current program. In order for the new program to be successful, it had to clearly lay out the elements of the program, generate support from executives, educate employees at every level, and maintain accountability for following through and upholding the program. With this program in place, W. L. Gore has been able to do ergonomics right, moving from the reactive approach it had to a proactive approach for its future.

"[For a program to succeed] People need to know 'What's In It For Me?'" - Michael Mauro

The second discussion panel of the day, guided by Christy Lotz, CPE and Sr. Global Enterprise Account Executive with VelocityEHS, dug deep into data—"Data: Too Much, Too Little, or Just the Right Amount?" With Dave Risi, CIH; Blake McGowan, CPE; and an encore from Alex Apostolou, the conversation focused on gathering the right kind and the right amount of data, as well as interpreting and sharing that data in the right ways. The audience also had the opportunity to enter breakout rooms with the individual experts to discuss their current EHS processes and gain insight as to how they could refine their search to gather more valuable data. When it comes to data:

  • Make sure you're measuring with enough specificity; otherwise it won't be valuable.
  • Be objective and honest when reviewing the data; consider what else it could mean.
  • Present it to stakeholders simply; show them the measurements they care about.

"Don't try to make data fit your existing beliefs. Find the right data & knowledge to generate insights. Try and challenge your data and do the right thing for your business & employees." - Blake McGowan, CPE, Director of Research at VelocityEHS

In his second appearance, and the final session of The 2021 Short Conference, "7 Ways Technology Can Streamline Your Industrial Hygiene Program," Dave Risi presented strategies for simplifying industrial hygiene (IH) tasks. He broke down how to appropriately prepare the seven critical elements that successful IH programs need: Similar exposure groups, qualitative exposure assessments, sampling plans, lab analysis, data analysis, medical surveillance, and evaluation & communicating performance. With a discussion moderated by Greg Duncan, MELP, Risi responded to audience members and answered their questions on the specific issues their organizations and IH programs face.

"An industrial hygiene program does not just mean collecting samples."- Dave Risi, CIH, CSP, Industrial Hygiene Principal Solutions Strategist at VelocityEH

If you missed this amazing conference, you don't need to be too upset. We'll be hosting another conference this summer, along with many more webinars and events in between! Stay tuned for more details to come, and subscribe to our EHS blog and follow us on Twitter so that you'll always have the latest news and updates from VelocityEHS!