Conference Agenda

4th Annual Appalachian Safety Summit  ⁄ May 1-2, 2018

“International Expertise in the High Country”


Tuesday: May 1, 2018

7:30am- 8:15am             Registration and Coffee

8:15am- 8:30am             Welcome

8:30-9:30am                    Josh H. Williams, Ph.D. 


BBS and HOP: Mortal Enemies or Complimentary Approaches?

Dr. Josh Williams, Senior Project Manager

Safety Performance Solutions


Both Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) and Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) have been successfully used in a variety of settings to improve safety performance. Unfortunately, these approaches are often presented as competing tools to improve safety. Some HOP proponents claim BBS overemphasizes “employee behavior” and ignores system factors contributing to incidents. Their message is essentially blame the system and not the worker when things go wrong.

Likewise, some BBS supporters claim HOP fails to appreciate the importance of personal choice in making safe decisions, the value of coworker to coworker safety feedback to prevent injuries, and the benefits of BBS trend analyses to identify and correct system problems.

The reality is both approaches encourage safe work practices and safety system improvements to reduce human error and corresponding injuries and fatalities. This presentation will briefly describe both approaches and demonstrate how HOP and BBS should be viewed as complimentary, and not competing, philosophies to improve safety performance.

Josh Williams earned a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Virginia Tech. He’s a Senior Project Manager with Safety Performance Solutions (SPS) in Blacksburg, Virginia.

9:30am- 10:00am            Break

10:00am-11:00 am          Dave Johnson

Disrupting the EHS Landscape

Dave Johnson, Editor

Industrial Safety & Hygiene News


The U.S. Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) profession is in for disruption on a scale not seen since the arrival of OSHA, perhaps even greater. Technology will revolutionize workplace health and safety practices and the professional skill sets required. Drones will replace humans in observation and inspection routines in construction and oil and gas fields and wind farms, to name some industries. Wearables will generate more data about worker health (exertions, fatigue, posture, heart rate, blood pressure, etc.) than previously easily accessible and create privacy issues. Wearables will also produce exposure analytics that may overload EHS staffs. 

The Internet of Things (IoT), smart factories, wireless connectivity, and cloud-based sensors will routinely audit equipment assets, LOTO procedures, confined space procedures, etc. Mobile devices used by workers will be tools for observations, inspections, hazard, and near miss reporting. Robotics will replace humans in many high-risk jobs. 

Professionals will spend less time on the shop floor and more time analyzing risk data and making risk-based decisions. But will all EHS pros be able to take advantage of these tech advances? Will there be a technology gap between the haves and the have nots? Will there be the need for as many professionals? (Think driverless trucks). How will the profession’s changing demographics, the leadership of Generation Y, and millennials affect the use of disruptive technology? ISHN magazine reader research takes a look at the current state of EHS technology disruption and what lies ahead.

Dave Johnson has been chief editor of Industrial Safety & Hygiene News magazine since 1980, back in the days when Ronald Reagan was trying to trim the regulatory thicket.

11:00am – Noon                     Keynote Presentation

Human Error:  There is NO Root Cause

Richard Pollock, CSP, ASP, President

Rivendell Safety Consulting


Incidents do not occur in a linear flow of events or actions, like a chain of falling dominos.  Causation is multi-dimensional, multifactorial, and far more difficult to pinpoint and predict than previously thought.  Most incidents have multiple causes, none of which is more important than the other.  

Taking what we now know about human error and system design, we need to explore what influences humans to make errors, mistakes or whatever the digression may be.  It is important to differentiate between errors and violations, and begin to understand the power of system and organizational influences on behavior.  This session will also introduce the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS). Through systems like HFACS we are learning how to pinpoint system influences on safety, and make meaningful and sustainable changes. Through HFACS-like thinking, the next time you conduct an investigation and think you understand what happened and the cause, you will check yourself.  By using this “Safety Differently” thinking process, discussing and imagining other possibilities, you will begin to see the “second story.”  It is then that you will be able to make meaningful change and improve safety.

Rick Pollock was the President and founder of CLMI Safety Training, and now through Rivendell is a full time safety and organizational performance consultant.  

Noon-1:00pm                          Lunch (Included in Registration)

Breakout Sessions

1:00pm-1:45pm                       Concurrent Session 1

Breakout A – “Put me in Coach!”

Linn Cove Room  

Alfred Gourley, Principle Technology Safety Lead

Eastman Chemical

Have you been told to “coach” someone at your work but never given training?    Do you struggle in knowing the difference between coaching and managing?  Are you getting the insight you desire from your teams for improving safe behaviors?  In this session you will learn what coaching is, and is not.  How coaching differs from managing, mentoring and consulting. How coaching can be used to increase safe behaviors. You will also walk away with some very effective coaching tools that you can use on the job right away. 

Breakout B – Leading Safety: Regardless of Your Role

Rough Ridge Room

Denise Murray, Learning Consultant


Safety is the great leveler. If your desire is to be an instrumental part of a sustainable safety culture, it’s time to step up. It’s time to be a Safety Leader. The “rules”, our job titles, our backgrounds, our education, hourly vs. salaried, full-time vs. contractor are all removable barriers. Identify and remove them to make a positive shift in any safety culture. Leave your baggage at the door and let’s start leading people.

We’ll identify and break down our own mental barriers that keep us from actively caring about the safety of others. We’ll build up our arsenal of conversation tools to leave a positive and lasting impact. The techniques we will discuss may be implemented immediately and by anyone.

One person can change the world. Change your world. Be the one who shows others what an actively caring and engaged workforce looks like. It’s easier than you think.

Breakout C – A Die Hard Worker’s Dilemma: ADHD and Work Safety

Beacon Heights Room

Dr. Will Canu

Appalachian State University

Attention/Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a fairly common psychological disorder that emerges in childhood and primarily affects the cognitive abilities of behavioral inhibition, attention, and emotional regulation. ADHD is further theorized to relate to deficits in "executive functioning," which also impacts judgment, planning, organization, time management, and reward salience. While ADHD has seen its share of controversial public opinion, the evidence for the disorder is such that in the United States and other countries across the world it is generally accepted and known to occur in children and adolescents. Further, longitudinal and cross-sectional studies have established that many children diagnosed with ADHD will in fact continue to be plagued by its symptoms into adulthood. This plays out in impairment in higher education, vocational success, relational discord and dissolution, and issues related to personal safety. This presentation will focus on reviewing the existent research suggesting that adults with ADHD are at higher risk for unsafe behavior that may extend to the workplace, as well as thoughts regarding industry-specific risks and possible screening and other methods to enhance worker safety.

1:45pm-2:00pm                       Brief Break

2:00pm -2:45pm                      Concurrent Session 2

Breakout D – Leadership Analytics: Turning Good Managers to Great Leaders! 

Rough Ridge Room   

Dr. Chuck Pettinger

Predictive Solutions 

Many companies have good safety cultures; few have great ones!  Great cultures generally have strong leadership engagement.  However, gaining leadership engagement can be difficult, or seemingly impossible.  There are many methods of creating a “Safety Step-Change” but the critical element I will focus on in this presentation is leadership engagement. Securing true engagement at the upper levels of organizations requires safety leadership. If your leadership team is not “walking the talk,” your organization will never reach the next step in its cultural evolution. This session will provide guidance through a case study to help participants create leadership engagement through using their Big Data from their safety intelligence and move their safety cultures from good to great.

Breakout E – How to Integrate HOP with your BBS Process

Linn Cove Room

Eric Nickless, FUELS B.B.S. Coordinator

Marathon Petroleum

Behavior Based Safety and Human Organizational Performance seem to be butting heads for managerial attention today. Eric Nickless will show you how the two have worked together complementing each other since 1998 with very good results. In this presentation you will learn the benefits of both process and how each of them can build trust in your organization.

Breakout F –  A Virtually Safe Workplace

Beacon Heights Room        

Jessica Whitaker, Senior Instructional Designer

Work Flow HR Solutions

Are your learning and development programs meant actually influence safe behaviors on the job or to simply meet training requirements?  If you’re serious about equipping your employees with the knowledge and skills they need to make safe choices, come learn about how technology is advancing the field of safety training.  Advances, including micro-learning, m-Learning and virtual reality (VR) are allowing organizations, across industries, to train employees to analyze, predict and prevent hazardous situations in the workplace. 

3:00pm- 4:30pm                      Capstone Presentation

What are you F&%#’n Stupid? Dysfunctional Practices that Kill your Safety Culture (and what to do about them)                      

Dr. Timothy Ludwig, Appalachian State University

One tendency is to blame workers for safety errors and label their personal failings as the cause of the error. Labeling does not solve problems that cause error and, frankly, it may all be an illusion of human perception leading us to false conclusions. Our human tendencies result in interactions that hurt the safety of our workers and the effectiveness of the systems we put in place to protect them. 

These tendencies build dysfunctional management practices that create fear associated with your safety programs. I want to teach you a better way to analyze the behaviors of your employees to understand why they were put in a position to take the risk in the first place. Your system may be perfectly designed to promote risks and create safety traps. By analyzing the context of behavior we can discover ways to change your system to optimize safe behavior and reduce injury.


Wednesday: May 2, 2018

8:15am-8:30am                       Coffee

8:30am-9:30am                       John Drebinger

Would You Watch Out For My Safety?

John Drebinger

John .JPG

In a fun and engaging magical message, Safety Speaker John Drebinger will show you how to help your people be their brother’s keeper in a positive and comfortable way, reduce costs, increase profits and build a stronger safety culture that prevents injuries.  John gives people the “why” and “how” of working safely and the benefits of bringing that same safety mindset home with them. You will take home skills to help your people take personal responsibility for their own safety and learn proven techniques to make people feel empowered to approach others in a safe and comfortable way, when conveying their safety concerns. You will leave this summit with a new vision, passion and energy to help others work safely and prevent injuries at work and at home!

John Drebinger Jr., acclaimed international safety speaker and author, has been delivering his dynamic safety presentations worldwide for the past 28 years and is known for injecting humor and passion to engage audiences to help people work safely.

9:30am- 10:00am                   Break

10:00am-11:00am                  Shawn Bergman, Ph.D.

Safety, analytics, and culture: Finding the right mix to keep people safe on the job

Dr. Shawn Bergman

Appalachian State University Center for Analytics Research & Education 

shawn 1 .jpg

Analytics promises to unlock the secrets of your data, increase production, keep people safe, and help employees work smarter, not harder.  While there are a number of big data and analytics success stories, a staggeringly high percentage of analytic initiatives fail to live up to the hype and produce underwhelming results.  Much of this is because applied data analytics requires considering the end at the beginning and thinking about the context in which analytic results will be used. Indeed, one of the final steps of the applied data analytics process is taking what has been learned and integrating those lessons into everyday practice. Without an
organizational cultural that values data and evidence-based practices, the promise of analytics cannot be realized and will fail to keep people safe on the job.

While there are a number of well-known methods for ensuring that big data and analytics return the promised benefits, these techniques and methods have not been widely used in occupational safety.  This presentation will demonstrate how, when used properly, evidence-based practices, data, and analytics can provide a different perspective and improve Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) programs.  The presentation will also highlight the importance of how people, collaboration, and applied data analytics can be used in concert to
reinvent how companies look at their HSE processes and identify ways organizations can innovate these programs and keep their employees safe.

Shawn earned his Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from The University of Tennessee-Knoxville and is an associate professor in the nationally recognized Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Human Resources Management (IOHRM) Master's program at Appalachian State University.

11:00am – Noon                     Krista S. Geller, Ph.D.

Actively Caring for People’s Safety: How to cultivate a brother’s/sister’s keeper work culture

Dr. Krista S. Geller

GellerAC4P, INC

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Evidence-based guidelines for improving the quality and increasing the frequency of safety-related behavior will be described and illustrated as relevant for benefiting overall human welfare. If practiced extensively, these safety/life lessons would not only prevent workplace injuries, but would also improve quality of life by reducing interpersonal conflict and bullying, and enhancing work productivity, environmental sustainability and life satisfaction.  The first four guidelines reflect the applied behavioral science principles of positive reinforcement, observational learning, and behavior-based feedforward and feedback. The subsequent three lessons are essentially derived from humanism. These safety/life lessons are the foundation of a new ASSE book: Actively Caring for People’s Safety: How to cultivate a brother’s/sister’s keeper work culture by Drs. Scott and Krista Geller. Copies of this text-- designed as a training manual to teach practical strategies for addressing the human dynamics of injury prevention--will be available for purchase at the BSN conference.

Krista S. Geller, Ph.D. has been involved in applied behavioral science since childhood as a subject in many of her father’s psychology studies.

1:00pm-5:00pm                       Post- Conference Workshops