We Know Health & Safety: Sharing Expertise at Seminarfest

Participants from across the United States gathered at Seminarfest 2019 in Las Vegas, NV to immerse themselves in safety-related education and coursework. GAI Health & Safety Director Pam Walaski, CSP, CHMM was among the instructors who helped empower nearly 1,000 attendees with the latest workplace safety best practices.

A unique opportunity to explore health & safety topics

Presented by the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), Seminarfest featured more than 90 courses in occupational health & safety topics.

“Seminarfest is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for safety professionals to benefit their organizations by receiving top-quality instruction on a wide variety of subjects,” said Walaski. “Offering so many options in a single week-long event really presents an efficient and comprehensive way to learn and optimize health & safety best practices.” The event offers attendees the opportunity to earn Continuing Education Units (CEU) as well as ASSP certification in Safety Management, Fall Protection, Risk Assessment, and more.

“GAI has an ongoing companywide commitment to working safely.”

Pamela Walaski, CSP, CHMM, GAI Health & Safety Director

Sharing health & safety expertise at Seminarfest

Walaski is an ASSP Director-at-Large, and her professional views on managing health & safety using a risk-based model were featured on the organizations’ website in December 2018. At Seminarfest, Walaski shared her experience as a forward-thinking health & safety professional by helping lead education offerings including:

  • How Generational Stereotypes Impact Individuals and Teams
    “Workplace safety is a concern that transcends age groups,” said Walaski, who was featured among this course’s multigenerational panelists. “By working to bridge generational gaps, find common ground, and facilitate respectful communication, we build strong teams and open the door for time-tested safety practices to merge with emerging strategies to create more robust and effective solutions.” 
  • Risk Assessment
    “I champion the move to using a risk-based model to identify hazards and quantify the risks they pose to ensure a proactive and preventative approach to occupational health & safety,” said Walaski. “In most organizations, risk-based strategies are already used to assess and manage operations in areas like finance, supply chain, and business continuity. Adopting a risk-based model to manage health & safety helps build a common business framework across the entire organization, and senior leaders generally respond favorably to the approach.”   
  • Training a Risk Assessment Team
    “Making risk assessment work when applied to health & safety across an organization requires many eyes in many places—it takes a cohesive, coordinated, well-trained team,” said Walaski. “Health & safety leaders must learn how to identify key stakeholders, develop an effective training curriculum, and overcome typical post-training barriers.”

Proactive health & safety initiatives at GAI

Walaski has spearheaded several proactive health & safety initiatives at GAI including the Safety Topics program—health & safety themed discussions that lead off all meetings, Project Site Visits—a program in which GAI corporate leaders and staff shadow field employees to gain a first-hand understanding of site conditions, Driver Risk Management—a program that works to identify high-risk drivers among staff and specifies actions to mitigate unsafe driving, and TriageNow—a call-in service that allows staff to access real-time professional medical guidance on how to address minor health questions.

“We also launched our President’s Safety Awards at the end of 2018,” said Walaski. “The awards reinforce our companywide safety focus by not only recognizing employees whose commitment to working safely goes above and beyond, but by rewarding their efforts and accomplishments in a substantial way as well.”

 Making health & safety a top priority

“GAI has an ongoing companywide commitment to working safely,” said Walaski. “That commitment starts at the very top—as evidenced by our President’s Safety Awards—it is reinforced by the supervisors who present our Safety Topics at their team meetings, and it is put into rigorous practice by staff in the field. We’re always watchful for advances and ways to optimize our safety performance, and events like Seminarfest offer great ways to both expand our health & safety knowledge base and share what GAI has learned with other like-minded professionals.”


Pam WalaskiGAI Health & Safety Director Pamela Walaski, CSP, CHMM has extensive experience providing health, safety, and environmental support. She is skilled in risk management, occupational safety, and health management systems, and training for curriculum development, implementation, and auditing. Email Pam, reach her by phone at 412.399.5143, or follow her on Twitter at @safetypam.

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