The 2017 Oregon Governor’s Occupational Safety and Health (GOSH) Conference in Portland attracted 1,500 attendees, while showcasing national and regional speakers who addressed numerous ways to improve workplace safety and health in the state.

The March 6-9 event, the largest of its kind in the Northwest, featured 150 workshops and sessions, an awards luncheon, and safety and health exhibits from more than 125 organizations.

Keynote speaker Todd Conklin presented “Thinking Differently About Safety,” focusing on the human performance theory of safety, where investigations are conducted before accidents happen. “Safety is not the absence of events,” he said. “Safety is the presence of defenses.”

Sponsored by the Oregon Young Employee Safety Coalition (O[yes]), the 2017 GOSH Career Day introduced young people to the safety and health profession. Keynote speaker Matt Pomerinke, who was just 21 when he survived a lumber mill accident, talked about his experience.

And skilled forklift drivers demonstrated safe practices while navigating an obstacle course during the Columbia Forklift Challenge. The individual and team winners, who received cash prizes, are as follows:

  • First prize: Chris Evans, Boise Cascade, Elgin ($500)
  • Second: Jack Stockhoff, Boise Cascade Particleboard, La Grande ($350)
  • Third:: Neil Caylor, Americold ($200)
  • Team prize: Hyster-Yale Group ($450, divided among three drivers)

The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA), a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, partners with the Columbia-Willamette Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers to sponsor the conference.

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