2024 Safety in Action

Author: Lena Straubinger

May 15, 2024 Behind the scenes / Safety at work

Holistic Safety: Defining the Future of Safety

What are the most pressing issues affecting workplace safety today and how can we tackle them for a safer tomorrow? Leaders from all levels gathered in Dallas for DEKRA’s 37th annual Safety in Action Conference to answer these questions. An exclusive glimpse behind the scenes of the largest privately organized safety event in the U.S.

Leaders at every level bear the responsibility of anticipating and addressing the potential for life-altering and life-threatening incidents within the workplace. Impact of such events reverberates throughout the organization, affecting not only the well-being of employees and teams but also the organization's brand and reputation.
How can everyone from front-line teams to supervisors and senior leaders foster a safety culture and drive innovation within their companies? Through sharing best practices, staying up to date on the latest trends, and building meaningful connections, attendees not only shape but actively embody the future of workplace safety. From harnessing AI to promoting holistic well-being and implementing high-voltage safety measures, the 2024 Safety in Action (SiA) showcased the dynamic evolution of safety practices embraced by industry leaders.

2024 Highlights

This past April, “we added new tracks to reflect the conference growing and changing and to embody the solutions that we have at DEKRA Americas,” says Angelica Grindle Ph.D., VP at DEKRA North America and Executive Sponsor of the Safety in Action® Conference.
With more and more tools and technologies on the market, employees, and executives alike face new challenges in the workplace. Hence, one new track that resonated with the audience is the emerging technology of Artificial Intelligence. “AI will play a big part in the future of Safety in Action,” says Andra Brown, Conference and Events Manager at DEKRA North America. She has been on the management team of the conference since 2005 and knows that this year’s new addition will become a staple in future conferences. The 2024 attendees gained insight into leveraging innovative analytical tools, methodologies, and leading-edge technologies and how AI can transform risks into opportunities for improvement.
Secondly, with the rise of battery-electric vehicles and their charging systems, companies face new challenges regarding safety in high-voltage environments. This drive and energy transition brings new challenges and opportunities, impacting both workers and communities alike. The focus of the second new track addition High Voltage Safety & Sustainable Energy Transition focused on helping safety leaders navigate high-voltage vehicle safety and ensure not only risk mitigation but also the development of a culture focused on safety through this energy transition.

A Holistic Approach to Well-Being

“As we are trying to evolve and adapt to who attends the conference, our future vision is a holistic safety conference where people from different business functions attend,” explains Nadia Huda, Marketing Director at DEKRA North America. This encompasses a spectrum of themes including the future of transportation, risk mitigation and injury prevention. The breadth of conference tracks spans topics from road, home, and workplace safety to addressing psychological, social, and physical well-being. Reflecting the latest advancements in AI’s impact on safety, sustainable energy, and emerging vehicle technologies, this year's sessions resonated with these progressive developments.
The other new track that took center stage was Holistic Well-Being. According to the three women in charge, holistic well-being was the most popular topic at this year’s conference. Understanding how organizational well-being influences every facet of an individual's life and the realization that well-being is defined by physical, psychological, and social well-being has been a prominent topic in discussions and during networking sessions.
An Exclusive Glimpse Behind the Scenes

Up Close and Personal

In recent years, especially after the COVID pandemic, the approach to safety culture within companies as well as the general attention towards workplace safety has changed. “Beyond what you learn about leadership, culture, about human performance, Safety in Action covers a broad range of EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) issues that align to different aspects beyond workplace safety,” Angelica Grindle shares. During a keynote session led by Bruce Madsen and Rajni Walia., the discussion centered on the impact of soft tissue injuries in the workplace and its intersection with the opioid epidemic in America. Drawing connections between seemingly minor workplace injuries and the growing issue of addiction to pain relief medication reflects the growing emphasis on creating an environment where colleagues feel psychologically safe to voice their concerns and struggles. “One attendee came on stage and shared a personal story of losing two brothers to opioid addiction. People get incredibly passionate about what they do,” Angelica Grindle reports.
The Safety in Action steering committee of is made up of client organizations. “We rely on their input. ‘What is going on in your organizations, what struggles are you having, what is important to you?’” Angelica Grindle elaborates. This guides the content development process, ensuring alignment between conference offerings and the pressing needs of attendees. “Our goal is to make the conference more sustainable each year. We want to mirror what our portfolio here in North America looks like,” Nadia Huda adds. And this community building the world’s safest companies keeps on growing.

United in Safety – A Global Concern

“It’s not just about frontline workers that would typically be the majority of attendees – although they still are. We are seeing more leaders attend the event,” explains Andra Brown. Tailoring the content and program to the ever-changing needs of attendees and the industry, the Leadership summit was added in 2011 and has continued to grow ever since. Now it has become one of the largest events of the conference, according to Andra Brown.
At Safety in Action, speakers share common concerns and ideas, regardless of regional differences in policies and compliances. “It’s a community of people building the world’s safest companies,” Angelica Grindle says. “It’s safety without borders.” The issues and topics discussed regarding safety do not change – no matter a company’s location. The conference is about culture, leadership, ways to reduce injuries, knowledge and how to integrate it into the workplace. Nadia Huda concludes: “What the conference provides are actionable takeaways – how to put safety in action.”
This is Safety in Action
  • The 2024 conference marks the 37th year of the conference
  • Close to 1000 safety professionals attended
  • Industries range from food and beverage, utilities, chemicals, oil and gas, pulp and paper to transportation, automotive, metals, and mining
  • Over 200 companies sent out teams or single ambassadors
Become a thought leader in your organization and exchange ideas with others at the next Safety in Action 2025 in Washington, DC. Find more information on www​.safetyinaction​.com