Inaugural Safety Fest attracts up to 350 as Hartsfield-Jackson educates, celebrates

Inaugural Safety Fest attracts up to 350 as Hartsfield-Jackson educates, celebrates

By Shane Blatt
Senior Public Relations Manager

Hartsfield-Jackson’s world-class safety culture was on display – literally – at the first-ever OneATL Safety Always Safety Fest on Wednesday, Aug. 24.

The daylong event – with its series of presentations, demonstrations and exhibits – drew up to 350 people from across the Airport community. It featured the annual FOD Walk, followed by the Safety Expo, Safety Conference and Safety Awards luncheon at the Georgia International Convention Center.

At the Safety Conference and Expo, representatives from the FAA, OSHA, Delta Air Lines, among other organizations, led sessions on everything from workplace hazards and food safety to inspections and ergonomics. During the session on unmanned aircraft systems, the FAA’s Peter K. Acevedo and Charles Phillips covered a broad range of topics, including regulations, emergency procedures and even the effects of weather on drones.

“We had a great lineup of presentations and speakers,” said Derrick Crawley, one of the Safety Fest chairs. “It was extremely gratifying to observe the look on our attendees’ faces.”

In addition to the sessions, the Atlanta Police Department and Southwest Airlines performed safety-related demonstrations. Southwest Technical Operations simulated a fuel tank rescue operation, pulling a mannequin out of small wooden structure and performing CPR.

The day kicked off with the Airport’s annual FOD Walk. Nearly 90 employees participated in the event, canvassing the airfield in search of foreign object debris such as rocks, luggage straps and plastics.

“FOD prevention not only helps us remain the world’s most efficient airport, but it also plays a major role in helping us remain one of the world’s safest airports,” interim Airport General Manager Roosevelt Council Jr. told the early-morning crowd.

At the OneATL Excellence in Safety Awards luncheon, an all-star lineup of speakers zeroed in on safety.

Andrea McLane, executive safety manager for the mayor’s office, reviewed the City of Atlanta’s initiatives to foster a world-class safety culture by focusing on the well-being of employees. Those efforts resulted in fewer than 1,000 workplace injury claims in 2015 — a first for the city.

“Employee safety is not only a value, but it is a necessity here in the city of Atlanta,” McLane said. “We promote safety from the very top down, and it starts with the mayor.”

McLane introduced the luncheon’s keynote speaker, Dr. Ken Wagner, who addressed behavioral safety.

Wagner, vice president of Aubrey Daniels International, said behavioral safety pushes to achieve more than “the absence of an incident.” In fact, he said, there are only four ways to achieve such a feat.

“Don’t’ do any work, don’t report anything, get lucky and work safely,” he said. “And only one of those is acceptable. Unfortunately, almost every organization has some balance between safe work and luck. So behavioral safety is that next piece that says, ‘What do we need people to do day in and day out to say, to talk about, to follow up on, to reinforce so people do the safe thing,’” he said.

The luncheon culminated with the OneATL Excellence in Safety Awards, given to those who exemplify the Airport’s safety focus.

Hartsfield-Jackson recognized Danny Boyd with the Foreign Object Debris Award; Samuel Priest with the General Safety Airside Award; Karina Albuna with the General Safety Landside Award; Department of Aviation maintenance with the Risk Management Safety Award; and Linda Hendrix with the Safety Leadership Award.

Also at the event, ATL leaders presented the construction safety awards. Hartsfield-Jackson recognized New South Construction with the General Contractor Safety Award; FS 360 with the Subcontractor Safety Award; BRTU Construction with the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Safety Award; and Kissberg Construction with the Female Business Enterprise (FBE) Safety Award.

Organizers are already planning for the next Safety Fest, set for August 2017. Exhibitors have already begun to commit to the 2017 event, and organizers have high hopes for even more participation.

As for this year’s fest, the Department of Aviation’s Catrina Gilbert said a number of senior leaders gave it “two thumbs up.”

“The overall goal of the event was to celebrate ATL’s safety culture and enhance the operational awareness and know-how of Airport employees,” said Gilbert, also a Safety Fest chair. “I have no doubt that we accomplished that goal.”

Stephanie Creech contributed to this article. Have a story idea for the Department of Aviation’s intranet? Contact Senior Public Relations Manager Shane Blatt at

Inaugural Safety Fest attracts up to 350 as Hartsfield-Jackson educates, celebrates

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport hosted the inaugural Safety Fest on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park. It drew some 350 people from across the Airport community. The four-part, daylong event featured demonstrations, exhibits and presentations designed to celebrate ATL’s safety culture and enhance the operational awareness of Airport employees. Employees even walked away with swanky swag bags. At the OneATL Excellence in Safety Awards luncheon (below left), keynote speaker Dr. Ken Wagner spoke about behavioral safety. Photos by Decisive Moment Photojournalism