The short answer to this question is “dialog.” Cannot recall exactly when or how the idea emerged to invite Dr. David Michaels, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, to speak at September’s Best of Success (BOS) conference in Clearwater, Fla.

The short answer to this question is “dialog.”

Cannot recall exactly when or how the idea emerged to invite Dr. David Michaels, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, to speak at September’s Best of Success (BOS) conference in Clearwater, Fla.

We did and for a few months our Group Publisher, Jill Bloom, kept in touch with Dr. Michaels’ office trying to pin down a firm commitment to appear. It was clear from the beginning that there was interest, but by the end of April it became clear when a schedule conflict emerged that it was not to happen.

Still interested in having one of their folks speak to the roofing industry at Best of Success, OSHA offered Jim Maddux, appointed by Dr. Michaels as the director of the agency’s Directorate of Construction.

You may read more about the Directorate, but their stated mission is, “To serve as OSHA's principal source for standards, regulations, policy, programs and assistance to OSHA, other Federal Agencies, the construction industry, and the general public with respect to occupational safety and health.”

The decision to accept OSHA’s offer was firmed up on a call between Maddux, Bloom, Roofing Contractor Editor Chris King, and me. We learned that Maddux has served with OSHA in many capacities and on a wide variety of projects over the course of several decades. After hearing his views on the OSHA and the construction industry we all agreed that Maddux would bring some valuable insights to the hundreds of roofing contractors expected to attend this year’s event.

Maddux will not only make a presentation, but will offer a Q&A session after, and also indicated that he would make himself available to BOS attendees for one-on-one dialog. It is not every day that you can engage in dialog with the senior official with OSHA who heads their construction directorate. Most contractors tell me they never want to meet with OSHA officials. Let’s face it: OSHA does have the charge to punish business owners for unsafe practices, especially following incidents where people are injured or killed. But their main work is preventing bad things from happening, and running a business that is clean, lean, and safe, where bad things tend not to happen, is usually a healthy business. OSHA does not always perform in the manner that I think appropriate, but that is their charter and I think it is a good one.

Our hope is that we will learn from Maddux and that he will have the opportunity to learn from the professional roofing contractors who will attend BOS. You will not know if you do not attend. Join us in Florida on Sept. 26-27 for the seventh Best of Success conference. Learn more online at www.roofingcontractor.com.