Professor eyes 1st Safety Olympics as foundation for future national event

  Monday, April 2, 2018 2:00 AM

Pittsburg, KS

Professor eyes 1st Safety Olympics as foundation for future national event

When a professor at another unicersity siggested that midwestern universities with Environmantal and Safety Manafement Programs hold a Safety Olympics for students, the answer was clear as to where it should be.

"Another colleague replied to the idea by saying, 'The only place you could do that is at Pittsburg State'," said Patrick Flynn, a professor in Pittsburg State's Environmental and Safety Management Program. "We're the only place that has the kind of lab space needed." 

Pittsburg State's Environmental and Safety Management program is housed in the School of Construction in the Kansas Technology Center, a sprawling, state-of-the-art building of 278,700 square feet that would cover two football fields.  

Safety Olympics will kick off there at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday with five universities competing: Pittsburg State, Oklahoma State, the University of Central Oklahoma, Central Missouri, and Northeastern State University. Competition will run through 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and continue at 8 a.m. on Wednesday. 

When their last event concludes at noon on Wednesday, competitors will spend the rest of the day touring the Construction Expo, which will be running concurrently at the Kansas Technology Center and is scheduled to include some 60 companies from across the U.S. and draw more than 600 guests. 

Flynn said the Missouri Department of Labor is providing an assessment lab with the kinds of hazards found in the oil and gas industry, construction related and health related. 

"They've brought in machines that have hazards incorporated in them, and students competing will have to recognize the hazards and know what they need to do to reduce the risks of someone being harmed," Flynn said. 

Sponsors helping offset costs for the day include 3M and Honeywell. 

Flynn said he hopes this event goes smoothly and serves as a foundation for a future national event to be held at Pittsburg State. 

"There are 19 schools we're aware of that offer this degree – our goal is to have all of them participate," Flynn said. "We have an opportunity to present at a national conference in San Antonio in June, with hopes that we'll make this a national thing."