Office of Environmental Management

Oak Ridge EM Integral to Tennessee's Growing Safety Fest

May 14, 2019

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Knoxville Utilities Board provides safety demonstrations involving powerlines at Safety Fest TN.
Knoxville Utilities Board provides safety demonstrations involving powerlines at Safety Fest TN.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Communities across eastern Tennessee continued supporting Safety Fest TN this year, helping expand the weeklong annual program’s national reach through more than 100 free health and safety classes and demonstrations at nine area locations.

With safety as its top priority, DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) has been an instrumental partner in the successful event, providing expertise on important safety insights since the program launched eight years ago.

Michelle Keever, an organizer of the event who works for UCOR, OREM’s cleanup contractor, says the fest equips participants with safety knowledge beyond the workplace. This year, the fest drew 1,487 people representing 278 organizations from 135 cities in 23 states — an increase of about 200 participants over last year. The 100 classes and demonstrations at this year’s fest compare with the estimated 40 classes and demonstrations there six years ago.

Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management Deputy Manager Laura Wilkerson speaks at this year’s Safety Fest TN.
Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management Deputy Manager Laura Wilkerson speaks at this year’s Safety Fest TN.

Held from April 29–May 3, the fest offered classes on electrical safety, CPR, trench safety, fall prevention, ladder safety, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration certifications.

“The event has grown so large and reaches so many people, but it wouldn’t be possible without all of the partners, sponsors, and providers,” said James Rochelle, an event organizer who works for Pro2Serve, OREM’s technical support services contractor. “We’ve experienced tremendous support from every sector — academic, business, government, non-profits, and unions — that each see how this event is helping protect the community and the workforce. They’ve made Safety Fest TN what it is today.”

Industry leaders participate in Safety Fest TN’s Safety Forum.
Industry leaders participate in Safety Fest TN’s Safety Forum.
Safety Fest TN participants viewed numerous demonstrations, including one for the University of Tennessee Medical Center medical helicopter.
Safety Fest TN participants viewed numerous demonstrations, including one for the University of Tennessee Medical Center medical helicopter.

The fest’s safety expo featured 50 safety equipment and service companies showcasing the latest in safety and health technologies. Their demonstrations highlighted everything from the dangers of live powerlines to avoiding slips using a slip simulator.

“Safety Fest TN is about safety and health at work, at home, and in the community,” said Jenny Freeman of Strata-G, a local company that provides services to government and commercial clients. “This year, our opening session focused on one of the most critical issues today, workforce development. We wanted to explore how shifts in our regional workforce impact safety and what our institutions and industries are doing to address that challenge. Our free safety classes support the community by offering additional training to workers and the public as we face our workforce challenges together.”

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