TRSA, the leading association for textile services professionals, recently concluded its annual HR, Health, and Safety Summit in Milwaukee. Professionals from both human resources and health and safety fields gathered for a day of intensive professional development, aimed at enhancing their skills and knowledge. The event featured educational sessions tailored to each field. The summit kicked off with a welcome session led by Joyce Marter, mental health thought leader and author of ‘The Financial Mindset Fix’.

Marter conducted a ‘mental triage’ for the workplace, emphasising the benefits of positive mental health practices. Attendees learned how fostering a supportive environment positively impacts retention, productivity and overall morale. Practical tools and resources were provided to address mental health challenges, ultimately reducing accidents, injuries and healthcare costs. Attendees also received complimentary copies of Marter’s book.

Will Maness of Alsco Uniforms commented that all the material presented in the keynote was applicable to its day-to-day operations. He added: “It was a great mixture of material presented as well as the opportunity for group discussion.”

HR Track: Legal updates and employee retention

In the HR track, Jason Keck, partner at Fisher Phillips, discussed critical updates to HR laws for 2024. Attendees gained insights into legal best practices to mitigate workplace risks. Katie Cosgrove, partner at Cosgrove Partners, focused on retaining and developing employees, addressing generational gaps and cultural challenges. Kortney Overzet, VP of people development and culture at Spindle, shared strategies for employee retention, including recognition programs and the innovative ‘Work Human’ platform. Lori Stanger, VP of people and culture at Wildman Benefit Group, emphasised aligning rewards with company values and cost-efficient programme design.

Safety and health sessions: mitigating risks

Safety and health professionals attended breakout sessions, starting with Charlie Edelman, corporate safety director at Unitex Healthcare Laundry Services Inc. Edelman emphasised safety culture, risk assessments, and open communication to mitigate workplace risks. Colin Giles, regional safety manager at Unitex, joined Edelman on stage. A panel discussion on chemical safety essentials followed. Cintas executives Stephen Jenkins (Director of Health and Safety) and Sydney Kelley (Ergonomics Engineer) engaged the audience in an interactive session on safe ergonomic practices and laundry cart selection. Brian Varner, owner of Safety Solutions for Healthcare, delivered insights on creating and using safety KPI dashboards.

Maness stated: “The summit was a great opportunity to learn about different metrics and dashboards to adequately report and improve safety.”

AI solutions for production ergonomics

The summit concluded with two general sessions. Kriz Mizen, head of loss control at CompScience, explored AI solutions for production ergonomics. Mizen highlighted how AI supports employees by providing real-time feedback, guidance, and skill enhancement. Attendees learned best practices for leveraging AI in production ergonomics as well as the benefits and challenges of AI implementation.

In the final session, Samlane Ketevong, the senior director of certification and accreditation at TRSA; and Varner debuted their plan for a new and improved certification for Safety and Health.