No off-road equipment operator starts the day thinking he or she may cause an injury or be at risk of being injured.

That’s what 2016 AEM Chair Leif Magnusson told attendees at this year’s Product Safety & Compliance Seminar.

“But in order to uphold that promise, we must never take safety for granted,” he said.

Magnusson’s remarks set the tone for this year’s event, held April 19-21 in Chicago in conjunction with the Product Liability Seminar.

Despite challenging market conditions, seminar attendance stayed steady, with 250 attendees registered for one or both conferences. As has been typical in the past, 41 percent were first-time attendees.

Satisfaction ratings for both seminars also remained high. Attendees rated Product Safety at 4.53 (on a scale of 1 to 5), while Product Liability was rated 4.60.

“It is clear that AEM member companies are willing to invest in making the products they produce safe for the customers they serve by sending new product safety professionals to the training designed for them,” said Vern Hoppes, chair of the Product Safety & Compliance Seminar Planning Committee and staff product safety engineer at John Deere Power Systems.

At the same time, he said, the seminar continues to offer experienced attendees in-depth information on relevant subjects that are challenging the industry.

“This year’s conference placed an extra focus on the technical documentation and all of the new technologies and approaches to deliver this information,” Hoppes said. “These new communications methods, such as smart device 'apps,' are simply astounding in what they can provide to product users, yet they have also created new challenges in accuracy and alignment with the information we are used to, such as an operator’s manual.”

“As products grow ever more efficient by way of technological advances, they also get far more complex, which in turn seems to be driving an even more complex and challenging regulatory and design standards environment to work in,” Hoppes noted. “Along with this complexity is information which needs to be shared with the operators of equipment for them to realize these gains in productivity.”

“What we need to do now is look forward to these challenges, find solutions, and continue to make the powerful and productive products AEM members provide even safer for the users and bystanders who use them,” he said.

Looking Ahead to 2017

Looking ahead to 2017, the Product Safety & Compliance and Product Liability seminars will take place April 24-27 in Cincinnati, Ohio. More details will soon be available.

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