ISEA Welcomes 150+ Safety Equipment Professionals to Annual Meeting

More than 150+ safety equipment and technology professionals gathered at ISEA’s 2022 Annual Meeting outside of Washington, DC, November 14-16.

In product group meetings, at networking receptions, an awards program, and a full day of general session learning, attendees connected with peers in the industry, learned about the latest shifting regulatory, end-user and macro trends, and picked up new ideas to help grow business.

Product Group Meetings

Eight product group meetings took place across the first day of the event:

  • Emergency Eyewash & Shower
  • Hand Protection
  • Head Protection
  • Hearing Protection
  • Heat Stress Solutions
  • High-Visibility Solutions
  • Instruments
  • Respiratory Protection

Groups discussed business such as standards updates, marketing and promotional campaigns, product trends and challenges, and more.

Minutes from the meetings will be provided to members of the product groups in the coming weeks. Should you have any questions about the meetings or want to ensure your organization is represented, please contact ISEA.

ISEA Business Meeting

ISEA kicked off Day 2 of the meeting with an update on association activity and industry health.

Tom Votel, ISEA Chair and President & CEO of Ergodyne, welcomed eight new members to ISEA since the full group met last year. “We’re thrilled to have these new partners in safety united with us under the ISEA umbrella,” he said. “We look forward to collaborating with you to advance our industry and worker safety.”

New members include:

  • Caco America
  • Blackhawk Industrial
  • Blaklader
  • Milwaukee Tool
  • Mips
  • Petzl
  • Safety Products Global
  • Sqwincher

Votel highlighted some great wins by the association and industry over 2022, congratulating staff and members on a successful year. He commented, “Our association has grown, reached new heights, refined several key goals, and has continued, we believe, and hope, to drive value for our membership and the safety community at large.”

Tom Votel

Votel and Nate Kogler, ISEA Board Vice Chair and Vice President of Products & Engineering at Bradley Corp., offered updates in the following areas:

Tom added, while there have been many successes and association leadership is pleased with the strategic direction, “we take nothing for granted and have no plans to rest on our laurels.”

“We are deeply committed to continuously improving our value and making a positive impact on our community and worker safety,” he concluded.

An ISEA Update

ISEA’s President & CEO Cam Mackey offered members a look at how ISEA will continue to support the industry into 2023 and beyond. He said ISEA is focused on three critical areas for next year:

  1. Growing the Impact of ISEA Standards & Advocacy
  2. Connecting Members with Great Ideas (and to each other)
  3. Building Out a High Performing Organization

Mackey said ISEA will launch a process for managing new standard opportunities and level up the product group member experience.

Cam Mackey

He said next year members can look forward to more regular, proactive updates on the association’s work in standards and advocacy, through webinars, newsletters, and more. And, the association plans to test out a few new networking opportunities, both in person and virtual.

Finally, Mackey said, “we’re doing a great deal of work to transform how we do business.” He provided an overview of ISEA’s digital transformation, which includes a new website, member management system, and online learning platform to support QSSP and future online learning products.

He offered this request to membership: “Please help us make sure we have the right information for you and your colleagues.” Ensuring ISEA has correct points of contact “helps us make sure we’re keeping you engaged in the areas you want,” he said.

Mackey concluded his report with a discussion about dues. He announced the ISEA board approved a 3.5% increase for 2023, as well as a 3.5% increase for product group fees. “This will help defray some of the costs of the plans I’ve shared growing the impact and capacity of our standards and advocacy work, continued investments in technology, as well as the new member programs we’ll launch,” he said.

Mackey added, “The enthusiasm I feel from all of you tells me that while we may be a small association, we’re mighty. The world’s taken notice of everything you do, and with your continued support and involvement, there’s nothing we can’t achieve together.”

New ISEA Board of Trustees

During the Business Meeting, ISEA elected a slate of three officers and two new members to its Board of Trustees, including the reelection of Tom Votel as Chair. Get the full story here.

Intel from NIOSH and OSHA

OSHA’s Secretary Doug Parker and NIOSH’s Director John Howard joined moderator Wells Bullard, ISEA Board Trustee and President of Bullard, for a casual chat about regulatory trends and challenges in PPE.

Parker and Howard discussed current issues and trends related to equity and diversity in PPE, heat stress prevention and solutions, new safety helmets, and emerging threats for American workers.

READ MORE about comments and intel from Secretary Parker and Doctor Howard here.

Getting Strategic with Standards

ISEA’s Diana Jones provided an overview of the association’s standards development strategy, outlining the five process phases: from idea generation to launch to review. She said over the next few months and into Q1 2023, the Standards and Product Development Committee and Marketing COmmittees will continue to identify the deliverables and required steps to determine where new ideas come from, how they are vetted, what resources are required, and how the standards development process will be implemented.

According to Jones, this enhanced process will help ISEA and members “work smarter, become more effective and efficient, and have a larger effect on worker safety, both domestically and globally.”

Leading an ISEA Product Group

Jones moderated a panel of product group leaders to hear about their experience with ISEA, group engagement, managing the revision of standards, and more.

Tim Gardner, 3M, said leading the High Visibility Product Group is the “easiest, funniest chair job ever.” His group members are engaged and enthused. The challenge lies in “how to take advanced of the enthusiasm,” he confessed.

Stacey Simmons, Bullard, discussed new standard updates she’s leading in the Head Protection Product Group. She is excited about the changes, but the variations in chin strap requirements around the world present a challenge. Her group is currently fielding feedback from end users to gauge their experience with and preferences for chin straps on helmets.

Nate Bomback, Ergodyne, Chair of the Dropped Objects Group, said his group often discusses the challenge of defining tethers. Though OSHA doesn’t specifically mention tethers in any of its general industry standards, it does require employers to protect workers from dropped objects in several standards, as well as through the general duty clause. “You must have tethering, but how?” he said. “This is an unmet need.”

Chair of the First Aid Product Group Todd VanHouten, Cintas, discussed the recent launch of Z308.1-2021, and the enthusiasm of the group around this update. He said the challenge in determining updates was ensuring they “didn’t omit innovation and new technologies.”

All panelists agreed, education is key. They look forward to working with ISEA to produce and deliver more end-user education and outreach about all product categories, including webinars, user guides, facts sheets, and more.

Right: Diana Jones, ISEA; Nate Bomback, Ergodyne; Tim Manning, 3M; Todd Van Houten, Cintas; Stacey Simmons, Bullard

Worker Safety in Focus

Randy Rabinowitz, Executive Director of the OSH Law Project, sat with ISEA Immediate Past Chair Craig Wallentine, DuPont, to discuss legislative, regulatory and legal trends in occupational safety. Rabinowitz touched on EPA’s final rule on chemical safety, indicating EPA is revisiting its PPE assumptions. She said the agency is re-evaluating PPE when evaluating chemicals. She said there are no chemical rules on the OSHA agenda; most are moving to the EPA as OSHA looks into other issues.  This could mean that two federal enforcement agencies, OSHA and EPA will cover manufacturers and users of chemicals.  Ms. Rabinowitz suggested ISEA get more engaged on this issue.

On heat stress, Rabinowitz said OSHA will have to figure out how to set objective criteria between workplace heat stress and general heat stress.  COVID, of course, was raised, and Rabinowitz said the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) found that a COVID mandate would cut both ways – some would remain at work while others would stay home.  (Editor’s note – as of press time, OSHA has not sent the COVID rule to the White House for final review before being published as a final rule).

A trend in occupational safety litigation Ms. Rabinowitz has observed includes employees suing employers from allowing an unsafe workplace.   She noted this trend is in response to workers’ compensation laws, which prevent injured employees from suing employers for injuries from an unsafe workplace.

2023 and the early part of 2024 will likely see a number of final and proposed rules. Administration leaders are likely to get regulations moving before a possible change of presidential administration.  Some of these could include heat stress, protection against workplace violence, and others.

Left to Right: Craig Wallentine, DuPont; Randy Rabinowitz, OSH

End-User Engagement

Four safety professionals from across a variety of industries sat on a panel to reveal their greatest challenges with workers wearing and using PPE, how they use performance standards, and what they need from providers of safety gear.

READ MORE about comments and intel from safety managers at Air Products, Clark Construction, VDOT, and Walmart.


For more information about meeting held and presentations at the 2022 ISEA Annual Meeting, feel free to contact us at




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