By Marg Stark
Occupational hazards cause more deaths in the United States than motor vehicle crashes, breast or prostate cancer. On top of this tragic toll, workplace injuries and illnesses cost employers nearly $250 billion each year, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
But education can help organizations–from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies–create workplace safety programs that reduce injuries and boost their bottom lines.
At the 2018 Pacific Coast Safety Fest, UC San Diego Extension offers employers across the Western United States an array of classes and workshops, held March 6-8 in San Diego, California, and Oahu, Hawaii. It is open to the public and provides courses at a significantly discounted fee of $20 (normally $250).
UC San Diego’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center is one of a handful of OSHA’s authorized institutions on the West Coast and one of only 26 nationwide. The center is co-hosting Safety Fest with federal OSHA’s Region IX area office.
“Safety Fest is a time to take a pause,” says Brandon Phillips, a San Diego-based OSHA instructor and an Environmental, Health, and Safety Manager at Continental Tide Defense Inc. “It’s a time to remind ourselves that safety is the essential ingredient in workplace health and success.”
Demand for Safety Fest and other OSHA safety training classes has grown exponentially in the last few years, according to Phillips. Indeed, the annual event started as a one-day, one-location program in 2005 and now spans several days and multiple cities in the Western United States.
“Look at the big picture: the average cost of an employee injury is $87,000,” Phillips says. “In a competitive business environment, companies cannot afford the enormous expense, not just the medical expenses but the time lost, the cost of hiring and training a replacement, and more.”
This year’s Safety Fest will offer a variety of classes on safety standards and best practices in key industries as well as general presentations on the latest OSHA rules, regulations and training requirements.
Pandemic influenza preparedness will be among the courses offered at San Diego’s Safety Fest. “Whether the threat is workplace violence or a devastating flu outbreak, we can help employers promote the health and wellbeing of their staff and of their business,” Phillips says.
Safety Fest is designed to serve as an introduction to OSHA courses for newcomers. “But it is also a great opportunity to network with other safety professionals and get the latest on training equipment, products, and online tools,” said Jim Newberry, Hawaii Safety Fest instructor and Assistant Vice President and Risk Control Manager at Islands Insurance.
In Oahu, Newberry says he will be teaching the OSHA 7500: Introduction to Health and Safety Management class, sharing the four core concepts of any employer safety program. “Safety Fest participants will also be offered a 10-hour construction safety course -- full of practical information to insure compliance with federal regulations -- at a very nominal cost.”
In San Diego, the Pacific Coast Safety Fest will be held March 7 and 8 at UC San Diego’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center, 6256 Greenwich Drive.
In Oahu, the three-day event is slated for March 6 through 8 at the Construction Training Center of the Pacific, located at 94-487 Akoki St. in Waipahu.
Space is limited and advanced registration is required. All participants will receive credit for authorized OSHA Education Center classes and a certificate of attendance for all completed workshops and seminars.
For more information, visit the Pacific Coast Safety Fest 2018 website at pacificsafetyfest.com or call UC San Diego’s OSHA Training Institute Education Center at 800-358-9206.