1st Annual IBEW Safety Conference 4th to 6th March 2024 Providence Rhode Island

Categories: IBEW, IBEW 2228, Ontario

The 1st Annual IBEW Safety Conference took place in Providence RI, 4 to 6 March 2024. This document is the report of the IBEW 2228 member who attended the conference. The report is not a comprehensive summary of the conference but it provides a brief insight into the conference and as such it includes comments on each presentation. The support provided by Local Union 99 was instrumental in the success of this conference.


The Governor of Rhode Island, Daniel McKee, delivered the opening address. His speech was US focused and included information on jobs and safety.

Presentation Summary

The IBEW Government Report was presented by Austin Keyser. A riveting speaker, Keyser outlined the successes during the Biden presidency and the failures during the Trump presidency. His speech touched on a wide spectrum of topics which included, but were not limited to, Project Labour Agreements, the relationship between interest rates and jobs, safety and poverty.

Brian Lamm reported on Manufacturing. His report included a wide variety of topics related to safety in manufacturing. The Utilities Report included pole safety. In the near future, many Small Cell Antennas will be installed on utility/power poles and it was noted that IBEW members have the expertise to safely install these antennas.

Mark Christian, the Assistant Director for the electrical Training Alliance (eTA), delivered a presentation on the eTA’s involvement in safety. The presentation was US focused and covered OHSA Training and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) electrical work practices.

The Legal Report was presented by Esmeralda Aguilera. The Legal Report included information on the OSH Act and OSH Administration. The report highlighted the differences in enforcement and administration of OHS during the Biden and Trump presidencies. The OSH Act is being challenged in the Supreme Court of the United States. This is a reminder that safety laws and regulations should not be taken for granted.

Mark MacNichol presented the IBEW Directors Report. His report included data on fatalities and lost time accidents. He emphasized that the data was incomplete because some fatalities and lost time accidents have not been reported to the International Office (IO) on Form 173 Accident Report. Worth noting, the Employers do not send accident data to the IBEW; thus, members must ensure that Form 173 is completed.

A tool manufacture (Milwaukee Tools) and two safety apparel suppliers (Tyndale Company Inc and National Safety Apparel) made presentations at the conference. These were very informative presentations which provided valuable insight into recent improvement in tool safety and PPE.

The National Safety Council update was presented by Sarah Van Huis. She provided information on vehicle accidents and poisoning (overdoses) which are two main causes of fatalities.

The IBEW Education Officer, Jim Watson, provided an update on mental health. He outlined his personal journey with mental health. His presentation provided context to mental health and statistics on suicides in the construction industry.

Matt Compher currently serves as the Vice President of Safety, Health, Environmental and Quality for Quanta Services and its Operating Units. His presentation provided safety information on High Energy Hazards and focused on Stuff That Kills You (STKY). He provided meaningful insight into improving safety. As such, he mentioned that check in the box safety systems have serious limitations. Thus, we need to identify the context of failure and build in capacity to fail safe.

The IBEW Canadian Report was delivered by Bruce Harris. He mentioned the Canadian Union Safety Program (CUSP). In addition, his report included information on safety programs and statistical data on safety. He emphasized that the IBEW constitution demands that Form 173 must be submitted for all fatalities and lost time accidents.

Matthew Hallowell presented The Power to Prevent – Serious Injuries and Fatalities (SIFs). For the past 6 years, Matthew Hallowell has been serving as the technical advisor to the Edison Electric Institute’s Occupational Safety and Health Committees. His presentation covered many important safety aspects such as “how we measure safety”, High-Energy Control Assessment (HECA), leading and lagging indicators. In summary, his presentation focused on translating the latest research into practical methods of preventing serious incidents and fatalities (SIFs).

Janice Hartgens presented “Integrate naloxone into emergency preparedness and be ready to respond to overdose.” She is vice president of the Respond Ready Workplace initiative at the National Safety Council – America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate. She mentioned that hundreds of people die each day in the USA from overdoses. She also noted that as the health care system becomes overloaded, the prolonged use of opioids increases. Her presentation was US focused but it is suggested that these trends equally apply to Canada.

Mark Baker presented the National Utility Industry Training Fund (NUITF) report. His report covered the future of work and several other initiatives to improve safety.


The IBEW Safety Conference provided insight into a wide range of safety challenges faced by workers. This short report cannot do justice to the important topics discussed at the conference but, hopefully, it will remind members of the IBEW’s commitment to safety. Next year’s IBEW Safety Conference will take place in Milwaukee Wisconsin on the 17th, 18th and 19th March 2025. It is recommended that IBEW 2228 send a member to next years conference.


Respectfully Submitted

Marc Pallard

IBEW 2228 Region 1 Executive Board Member

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