By Matthew Beckman. Unveiling groundbreaking insights and innovation, the Risk and Safety Solutions (RSS) team recently hosted their first symposium at UC Davis this year. The two-day event, with over 200 attendees, and expert speakers representing a range of domains, provided clarity on the evolving technology landscape, and its relevance to environmental health and safety and risk management challenges. RSS is looking forward to hosting the next symposium in 2024. Stay updated by signing up for the RSS Symposium newsletter.
RSS Symposium 2023 topics
The symposium addressed current trends and best-practices in risk and safety as they relate to the following topics:
- Wearable tech
- Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S)
Safa Hussain, Executive Director, RSS, introduced the symposium with the transformative potential of AI for enhancing efficiency and scalability for RSS’s solutions. Keynote speaker Van Williams, Vice President, IT and Chief Information Officer of the University of California, then ignited discussions on the relationship between technology and its ability to positively affect humanity.
Day 1 – Speakers/presenters
Industry leaders, and the topics they addressed:
- Van Williams, Vice President, IT and Chief Information Officer of the University of California: Keynote address
- Carisa Harris-Adamson, PhD, Associate Professor & Director Northern California California Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH): Wearable Devices, Robotics, AI, and the Future of Work
- Joe Hitt, PhD, CEO and Co-Founder, GoX Labs, Inc.: AI-driven Wearables Reshaping Enterprise Safety
- Imke Shroeder, PhD, & Alisha Klatt, Safety Training Consortium: The Latest AI Technologies That Are Revolutionizing the Creation and Enhancement of eLearning Content.
Additionally, attendees visited the RSS Innovation Hub, which demonstrated AI-powered technology that visually identifies real-time Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the Client Concierge Corner, operated by the RSS Customer Success team, who provided personalized experiences and tips on solution utilization.
Hussain interviewed keynote speaker Kevin Confetti, UC Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer, highlighting shared strategies to leverage technology for smarter risk assessment and prevention measures. Hussain and Confetti’s conversation also addressed the influence of technology on risk management, AI’s impacts, machine learning and data analytics, technology regulation, and the potential ethical problems derived from these advancements.
An interactive demonstration of AI technology with object detection.
Industry leaders, and the topics they addressed:
- Kevin Confetti, UC Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer, shared strategies to leverage technology for smarter risk assessment and prevention measure
- Caroline Hedge, ChemCentral Program Manager at UCSF: The Effective Utilization of RSS Modules in Managing and Minimizing Chemical Quantities
- Andrew Peterson, Technical Program Assurance Manager at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL): The Application of RSS Inspect
- Scott Bourdon, Senior Manager of Risk & Environmental Health & Safety at California State University: Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S) Metrics Associated with RSS.
- Hannah Perez, Applications Architect, RSS, UC Davis: Insights into the iterative development process of RSS
- David Murray, User Experience (UX) Designer, RSS, UC Davis: UI/UX Team Feedback Collection Demo
- Justin Sabo, Senior Product Developer, RSS, UC Davis: Walkthrough of Computer Ergonomics Solution & How RSS is Incorporating Predictive Analytics
Caroline Hedge presenting at the 2023 RSS Symposium.
Background on Risk and Safety Solutions (RSS)
Risk and Safety Solutions (RSS) was founded to support the University of California, one of the world’s leading research institutions. For over a decade, Risk and Safety Solutions has strengthened UC’s Risk Management and Environmental Health & Safety strategies. In 2010, they created a system wide technology team that supports all ten UC campuses. In 2015, their expansion with the five UC medical centers has advanced safety throughout the UC community and beyond.
Caption: RSS employees.
About Safa Hussain
Risk and Safety Solutions
Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Safa Hussain lived in Kuwait before graduating from high school in 1978 and immigrating to the United States. Hussain founded RSS in 2010. With limited resources for the 10 campuses and 5 medical centers at the time, Hussain worked to aggregate resources to develop compliance solutions. With funding from the Chief Risk Officer at the time, he grew his team to 150 people, currently prioritizing Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S) solutions for the University of California.
Risk and Safety Solutions
Matthew has been with RSS for four years and is one of the lead writers for RSS Communications and Sales & Marketing initiatives. He helps his team develop promotional content and technical writing pieces for RSS including articles, case studies, email campaigns, knowledge articles, tutorials, webpages, and more.
RSS Board of Directors
Chairperson and Chief Risk Officer
UC ITLC CIO Representative
Executive Director, Environmental Health & Safety
Vice President of Information Technology Services and Chief Information Officer
Additional details about the conference
Risk and Safety Solutions’ Executive Director, Safa Hussain, kicked off the symposium with a warm welcome to the audience, expressing his hope that the two days be filled with collaborative learning and sharing. He recognized the past successes of RSS, attributing them to collaborations and valuable learning experiences across UC—a model he hopes will continue into the future of RSS and all its clients. In his address, Hussain emphasized the rationale behind the RSS platform, underlining the advantages of a “design studio” approach for swift solution development through the reuse and sharing of configuration tools. Additionally, Hussain discussed the significant role AI will play in enhancing efficiency, accuracy, and scalability within RSS solutions. Safa highlighted that RSS is exploring various avenues, including both custom and off-the-shelf AI tools, as well as mining RSS data to provide customers with valuable insights and information for improved problem solving.
In his keynote, Van Williams, Vice President, IT and UC Chief Information Officer, UC, provided real-world examples from his own life on how technology is already aiding people in their lives to stay healthy, stay connected, and to learn and grow. He emphasized that the work RSS is doing is transformational as it adopts and integrates new technologies to deliver real-world solutions. Williams set the stage for what would be two days of engaging topics surrounding the joining of technology and safety, with RSS at the forefront of these advancements.
Front and center at the symposium were AI and wearable technology, which are playing a crucial role in shaping the future of Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S) and Risk Management. Experts in the field, including Carisa Harris-Adamson, PhD, Associate Professor & Director Northern California California Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH), and Joe Hitt, PhD, CEO and Co-Founder, GoX Labs, Inc shared insights on the transformative power of AI-driven wearables in bolstering enterprise safety and occupational health. Harris-Adamson, PhD, spoke on “Wearable Devices, Robotics, AI, and the Future of Work” and Hitt spoke on “AI-driven Wearables Reshaping Enterprise Safety.” In the eLearning field, Imke Schroeder, PhD, and Alisha Klatt demonstrated the latest AI technologies that are revolutionizing the creation and enhancement of eLearning content. Attendees also engaged with an AI panel to delve into emerging trends and their profound impact on health and safety.
In addition to the engaging speakers and informative panels, the RSS Innovation Hub was on display at the event, captivating attendees with its interactive demonstration of AI-powered technology that visually identifies Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in real-time. The RSS Customer Success team also operated their dedicated Client Concierge Corner, providing guests with a personalized and face-to-face experience, offering invaluable assistance, and sharing tips on optimizing the utilization of RSS solutions. At the end of day one, attendees seized the opportunity to enjoy the pleasant Davis weather during a networking event that helped foster connections and facilitate the exchange of ideas over hors d’oeuvres.
Hussain opened day two of the symposium by interviewing keynote speaker Kevin Confetti, Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer for the University of California. The interview centered on the theme of advancing risk management initiatives within the University of California (UC) system. Confetti discussed plans to use technology within the UC’s insurance program to better evaluate and determine risk and to intelligently implement efficiency and prevention measures. As their conversation moved into the culture of safety and active participation, Confetti recognized that informed and engaged staff and students play a pivotal role in successful risk management programs. He emphasized that measuring and evaluating effectiveness served as a necessary follow-up ingredient towards ensuring continuous improvement.
Hussain and Confetti’s conversation also addressed the influence of technology on risk management, with a focus on leveraging technological advancements, such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and automation to enhance EH&S programs within the UC system. Kevin shared his views on how he sees AI and machine learning impacting data analytics in evaluating data that UC already possesses to make it more effective. He discussed his involvement in the presidential task force on AI, discussing how the UC system is addressing concerns about AI such as balancing individual rights while still encouraging technological innovation. Hussain added that the incredible speed at which technology is changing and how it is regulated or unregulated provide significant challenges when it comes to matching the same rapid pace during development and ensuring that society is using new technology ethically.
The symposium also provided opportunities for attendees to hear speakers share insights on RSS solutions and best practices. Caroline Hedge, ChemCentral Program Manager at UCSF, discussed the effective utilization of RSS modules in managing and minimizing chemical quantities. Andrew Peterson, Technical Program Assurance Manager at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), showcased the application of RSS Inspect, highlighting the solution’s role in driving safety assurance improvements and operational efficiency at LBNL. Scott Bourdon, Senior Manager of Risk & Environmental Health & Safety at California State University, shed light on the EH&S metrics associated with RSS and shared valuable lessons learned from the comprehensive multi-year program evaluation at CSU.
Risk and Safety Solutions team members also took the stage to provide a glimpse into RSS’s ongoing developments and future projects. Hannah Perez, Applications Architect, offered insights into the iterative development process employed by RSS. David Murray, UX Designer, led an interactive demo that showed how the UI/UX team collects customer feedback to create user-friendly solutions. Justin Sabo, Senior Product Developer, provided an in-depth walkthrough of the brand-new Computer Ergonomics solution and demonstrated how RSS is incorporating predictive analytics into solutions to reduce injuries and improve efficiencies in managing risk.
Reflections & next steps
The symposium has garnered positive feedback from attendees who commended the diverse range of speakers who brought expertise from various fields. The attendees also recognized the significance of understanding the evolving landscape of technology and its relevance to EH&S and Risk Management challenges. Moreover, participants valued the interactive nature of the event, expressing excitement about the opportunity to engage directly with the RSS team and gain hands-on experience with the software.
RSS Symposium 2023 proved to be a delightful and enriching experience for all participants. Attendees were able to delve into a wide array of captivating and novel subjects, expanding their knowledge and fostering a sense of discovery. Equally significant was the opportunity for RSS team members to connect with clients and colleagues, engaging in insightful conversations about their experiences and exploring the future of safety together. Planning for RSS Symposium 2024 is already under way, so we encourage you to visit our website frequently to stay updated on what’s in store for the next installment of this exceptional event.
[Cover Photo Caption: Safa Hussain addresses attendees at the RSS Symposium]