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How to Keep Workers Safe as Technology Keeps Changing

Jennifer McNelly 2019

Technology has created a lot of changes in the world of health and safety. Couple that with an industry like manufacturing—where there are urgent deadlines and an increasingly growing skills gap—and it can be overwhelming. 

To keep workers safe, it’s important to know how to address this issue. And who better to learn it from than Jennifer McNelly, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP). She will be discussing this topic in her session Human Factors and the Manufacturing Workforce at the SafeStart Human Factors Conference this November.

McNelly’s background includes a lot of manufacturing expertise. She was President of 180 Skills LLC, an online company that provides manufacturing skills training for employers, educators and the workforce. She also served as President of the Manufacturing Institute, the non-profit affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. Additionally,  during her Administrator position with the U.S. Department of Labor, she served on the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Manufacturing Research and Development Working Group.

She recently sat down with SafeStart’s Executive Advisor Rodd Wagner to discuss her role with ASSP,  the future of safety with regards to technology and her upcoming session at the SafeStart Human Factors Conference. When asked about the future of safety in a time with vast technological changes like autonomous vehicles causing confusion in the division of responsibilities, McNelly said,

 “I was invited to a conference in Silicon Valley with our nation’s thought leaders on technology and autonomous vehicles happened to be one of the topics that were discussed.  I was there representing the voice of manufacturing and the changing skills of the workforce. But I had the opportunity to listen to experts from top companies as well as top universities that were at the front end of this activity. What gave me comfort for good or bad in today’s time is learning becomes instant in a world of big data and that’s really scary, it brings up a whole different set of ethics issues. What I learned from the experts in the room was the capability of autonomous vehicles has been there for a while. What’s different is the interconnectivity of data and information.”

You can get more insights from the full interview here. And register online for the SafeStart Human Factors Conference where you’ll get to hear a host of great speakers and thought leaders like Jennifer McNelly.


On-demand webinar

Using a Human Factors Framework for Safety and Operational Excellence

It can be hard to see the connection between safety, productivity, human factors and organizational systems. This webinar will demonstrate how a human factors framework can impact all areas of an organization, linking individual worker safety and organizational systems and provide an outline that allows leadership to manage safety-focused change.

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