Fifth annual Safety Champions Conference set for March

The Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute Trust (SMOHIT) plans to host the 2020 Safety Champions Conference March 22-24 at the Westin Riverwalk, San Antonio, 420 W. Market St.

The conference continues SMOHIT’s mission to build a culture of safety in the sheet metal industry through the sharing of information and ideas. Attendees will come away with solutions that can be implemented at the local level right away. It is open to all International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) members who contribute to SMOHIT and are approved by their local business manager.

The conference features interactive workshops, diverse participation from workers, contractors and owners, a keynote speaker, a platform for sharing information and ideas, skills development on safety culture and climate, a search for solutions to safety challenges in attendees’ areas, and best practices involving safety and health.This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. David Michaels, an epidemiologist and professor at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. He was nominated by Pres. Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the position of assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (2009-2017), the longest serving in OSHA’s history.

He also served as the United States Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for environment, safety and health (1998-2001), where he was charged with protecting workers, residents and the environment around U.S. nuclear weapons facilities.

Under his leadership, OSHA strengthened exposure standards for silica and beryllium, and issued new rules on safety, injury record-keeping and reporting and hazard communication. He launched OSHA’s Temporary Workers Initiative and greatly increased the agency’s focus on the healthcare industry.

Michaels’ current work is on the relationship between safety and health management systems, operational excellence and sustainability. He has lectured extensively on the topic and directed OSHA’s first activities on sustainability in environment, social and governance (ESG).

Michaels earned the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award; the American Public Health Association’s David P. Rall Award for Advocacy in Public Health; and the John P. McGovern Science and Society Award given by Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.

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SMOHIT was founded in 1986 to address the impact of decades-long asbestos exposure on those working in the sheet metal industry. To date, more than 55,000 sheet metal workers have been screened as part of its ongoing Asbestos Screening Program.

SMOHIT has since expanded its mission to operate on four separate but related tracks: monitoring and documenting the health of sheet metal workers as it relates to workplace exposures and hazards; providing safety information and training related to best safety practices on and off the job; acting as an aggressive advocate for the health and safety of its members with government and through likeminded allied organizations; and providing diet and exercise information to address the health and wellness of its members.

SMOHIT has adjusted its methods and messages to reflect feedback from local unions and the industry, and to address new safety challenges as they arise. The organization works directly with the International Training Institute (ITI) to provide training programs for the unionized sheet metal industry.

For more information on SMOHIT, visit or call 703-739-7130.

Originally posted on Eye on Sheet Metal.