Home » Olympic medalist to be featured speaker at Governor’s Safety and Health Conference in Louisville

Olympic medalist to be featured speaker at Governor’s Safety and Health Conference in Louisville

Survivor of nearly fatal construction accident to speak about workplace safety, living healthy and overcoming adversity

FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 30, 2014)Cliff Meidl, a two-time Olympic medalist and former Team USA flag bearer, will be the featured speaker at the 30th Annual Governor’s Safety and Health Conference and Exposition, May 6-9 at the Galt House in Louisville.

“Cliff Meidl is a perfect fit for the Governor’s Safety and Health Conference,” said Larry L. Roberts, secretary of the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. “After surviving a serious workplace injury himself, Meidl knows firsthand the importance of safety. As a world class athlete, he understands the value of healthy choices for diet and exercise.”

Cliff Meidl in kayak
Cliff Meidl competed for the United States in the sport of kayaking at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

Meidl competed for the United States in the sport of kayaking at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. He was selected as flag bearer for Team USA at the Sydney Olympics.

“This is a great honor for me to be a part of the Governor’s Safety and Health Conference,” Meidl said. “I was just 20 years old when my life was turned upside down by a preventable worksite omission. My accident changed me and challenged me to become stronger, to be more proactive about safety awareness and to tell others about the importance of staying safe in their lives.”

Meidl has a profound connection to workplace safety. Before becoming an Olympian, he suffered a horrific construction accident that nearly killed him. He was operating a jackhammer when he struck high voltage cables, sending 30,000 volts through his body. The impact caused several burns on 15 percent of his body, including severe damage to his knees and feet. Two toes had to be amputated, but doctors were able save his legs.

After 17 surgical procedures and two years of rehabilitation, Meidl learned to walk again. He eventually became an Olympic kayaker and now works to promote workplace safety and the Call 811 initiative, a free call service to locate underground utilities.

Click here for a video clip of Mr. Meidl.

The theme for this year’s Governor’s Safety and Health Conference is exercise safety for a healthy workforce. This is in line with Gov. Steve Beshear’s efforts to improve the health of all Kentuckians. The governor launched kyhealthnow in February as an aggressive and wide-ranging initiative to reduce incidents and deaths from Kentucky’s dismal health rankings and habits. It builds on Kentucky’s successful implementation of health care reform and uses multiple strategies over the next several years to improve the state’s collective health.

The conference will feature pre-conference courses along with general sessions with outstanding keynote speakers, and concurrent workshops focusing on state of the art techniques, current issues, and trends in workplace safety and health. More than 50 companies from across Kentucky will be recognized with the Governor’s Safety and Health Award, which honors outstanding safety and health performance.

The Labor Cabinet hosts the conference in conjunction with the Kentucky Safety and Health Network Inc. (KSHN), a nonprofit organization representing membership from business, education, government and labor with a mission to increase awareness of safety and health in the workplace.

There are fees per person for registration, with pre-registration fees (on or before May 2) costing $450, full conference on-site registration (after May 2) costing $550. One day pre-registration is $325 and on-site one day registration is $425. Registration includes annual KSHN membership dues. For more information on registration, call (502) 564-2719.