Conference Program /

The 2017 SAFETYconnect conference program is listed below, illustrating the quality of the inaugural program put to together by the NSCA Foundation team. A Call for Papers for the 2018 program will take place in November 2017.

Download conference flyer here.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017



Bernie Doyle Chairman and President, NSCA Foundation

INTERNATIONAL KEYNOTE: Making the connection …

Dr Karen McDonnell Immediate Past President, IOSH & Occupational Health and Safety Policy Advisor, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA, United Kingdom)

A personal perspective on the importance of being connected to your community, whether that’s where you live, where you work or through sharing similar goals. An opportunity to consider the importance of having a clear personal brand, how this articulates who you are to the wider world and how it encourages people to engage with you.
Through specific examples of partnership working to convey the significance of local context, culture and industry when developing organisational and national strategies to tackle health and safety challenges.
And the importance of taking time to reflect periodically from both a personal and organisational standpoint to plan the way forward.

KEYNOTE: Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games – WHS Considerations

Stephen Woolger Manager Health & Safety, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC)

In April 2018 the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) will welcome more than 6500 athletes and team officials from around the world to spectacular Queensland locations in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and the Gold Coast. Over 11 days, athletes from 70 nations and territories will compete in 18 sports and seven para-sports – broadcast to a cumulative global audience of more than 1.5 billion.
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) is committed to ensuring that GC2018 will be delivered in a safe manner that will protect all workforce and constituent groups, and meet all applicable work health and safety (WHS) legislative requirements. GOLDOC has implemented a WHS framework for supporting all workforce (staff, contractors and volunteers) and constituent groups (athletes, games family and spectators) to achieve this commitment, and will conduct robust planning and delivery leading up to and during GC2018.
This presentation will outline the background and preparations for staging GC2018 and the WHS considerations within this process, including the challenges and restrictions in the new legislative environment, to ensure that GOLDOC’s operations create a safe environment for the workforce and for the enjoyment of the constituent groups attending or involved in GC2018.

Morning Break



Giving safety back to the people

René van der Merwe Head of Workplace Health & Safety, Qantas

Shifting the approach of safety from control through procedures and policies to developing an adaptive and resilient workforce that are truly engaged and are personally invested in improving productivity, efficiencies and safety.

What were they thinking? A look at how the brain works and why it is important to incident prevention

Robert Wentzel – Managing Director, The Jonah Group

A common refrain heard after an incident occurs is ‘what were they thinking?’ or some more colourful iteration thereof. While we cannot know the exact answer to that question, we can gain insight by better understanding how the brain works, how it introduces unconscious hazards which impact an individual’s ability to ‘see’ hazards and assess the risk. Nada will share leading insight into how the brain works and how we can practically use that information to drive reliability in human performance.

Energising your safety culture

Andrew Russell – Managing Director, Actrua

Andrew will discuss the dimensions of safety culture and explore the levers available to energise your safety culture. He will offer a number of practical initiatives you could immediately take in your workplace to start creating or reinvigorating your safety culture. These will be presented within a framework built on three time horizons, that can be readily adapted to support your safety culture strategy. He will also take the opportunity to share a number of ‘bright spots’, the highly effective initiatives we see in safety cultures today across a range of industries.

Confronting issues associated with an ageing workforce

Terry Wong – General Manager, Move 4 Life

This session will unravel some of the issues companies will need to contend with as their workforce ages – a tsunami of sprain and strain injuries, largely unchanged work demands and an ageing workforce … all of this means that we need to do something now.

Come along to this educational and entertaining session if you want:

  • some secrets about ageing well;
  • to know why we need to focus on optimising healthspan, not lifespan;
  • the latest thinking and practical takeaways about how to build the physical resilience of an ageing workforce.

Safety without numbers

Tim Fleming General Manager HSE – Australia Hub, Laing O’Rourke

Tim talks about safety without numbers, where metrics and injury rates are not the drivers of safety performance conversations.  He presents some of the steps, pitfalls and successes that Laing O’Rourke have had while moving away from the traditional approach to health and safety.  In doing so, this has also created greater business relevance for the health and safety profession.

Safety matters in the cleaning industry

Dr Denis Boulais National Risk Manager, Broadlex Services

Dr Boulais examines safety in the commercial and industrial cleaning industries by covering a range of common hazards starting with a risk management approach to hazard assessment and control. The topics covered within this presentation include complacency, radiofrequency radiation, UV radiation, needle stick injury, manual handling, hazardous substances and slips, trips and falls. The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate how positive, proactive and preventive safety can reduce incidents within the cleaning, property and facilities services industries

Lunch Break



Health and safety management systems – latest trends and key essentials

Dr Anne-Marie MakinSenior Work Health and Safety Consultant, Greencap

Work Health and Safety Management Systems (WHS MS) demonstrate due diligence with WHS legislation and provide a road map to navigate the changing risks that confront modern businesses today. However, they do not need to become an organisational handbrake – they can instead enable organisations to do more because it can be achieved with confidence and mindfulness of potential barriers to health, safety and project success.

There are a number of WHS MS essential items; however, it is crucial that it is designed to speak in a voice that connects with the end users and has a vital role to play in setting the safety culture tone. The implementation plan for launching a WHS MS should be created to ensure that all stakeholders are given an opportunity to provide feedback and identify any potential roadblocks.

A well-designed WHS MS can rejuvenate an organisation’s safety journey, facilitate healthy communication and build bridges between various departments within the business. This session will share lessons learned and provide some key ingredients to safeguard the implementation process.

WHS Legislation – key essentials and latest trends

Phil Hammond – Trainer/Consultant, NSCA/Blackwoods Training

Who is the PCBU on my site? Where does my responsibility end?

Work health and safety legislation has changed since the last decade and is impacting on industry around Australia.
To be compliant and effective in a safe and successful business, you should be aware of the changes in definitions, responsibilities and some of the outcomes that can occur when things go wrong and how these could apply to your business.
This session will share lessons learned and provide some key ingredients to safeguard you and your business through a safety management system and consultation as well as some ideas on where to focus for continuous improvement and some of the assistance available and an opportunity to answer your queries.

Establishing and developing your career in safety

Anna Blaikie Head of Health Safety and Environment – Pacific, CBRE

Demystifying product certification

Glenn Barlow Product Services Global Sales Manager, SAI Global

Do you manufacture and or import products to sell into the Australian or International market? How do you manage the risk if the product does not perform and or causes injury or death? This presentation is around the complex matter of standards both Australian and International. How to demystify mandatory or non-mandatory requirements of standards and certification. SAI Global is your one stop shop worldwide across all aspects of risk management.

Safety leadership who is really responsible?

Paul Baulch Head Judge, National Safety Awards of Excellence

Proactivity in a reactive environment – breaking of the cycle

Geoff Hurst – Principal, ENGENEOHS / President, Risk Engineering Society / Engineers Australia

As WHS professionals we are all very aware of the quest to be ‘proactive’ and for the need to get ahead of the ‘game’. We know what it means to be proactive and talk about doing ‘safety differently’ but struggle to take our organisations along the path. In this interactive facilitated discussion, participants will be taken on a reflective journey leading to the exploration of barriers that hold us back from successfully changing the paradigm. The work of Reason, Dekker, Bradley, Viner and Hollnagel amongst others will be drawn on to explore new territory. We will use our imagination to construct reality. This will include: a comparison of risk engineering to the traditional risk management approach; reliability; the ETTO, modelling utilising the FRAM and Safety1/2.

Afternoon Break

Improve the mental health of your workplace

Mark Leopold Workplace Engagement Manager, beyondblue

Join us to learn some practical steps that you can take to facilitate and help build mentally healthy workplaces. Mark Leopold will deliver a presentation focused on Heads Up – an initiative that provides tools and resources to help Australian businesses to create more mentally healthy workplaces.  As well as promoting a positive, productive workplace culture and minimising risks to employees’ mental health, mentally healthy workplaces can lead to increased productivity, improved staff engagement and enhanced staff retention.

Wants versus needs – providing truth in WHS reporting

Dr Peta Miller – Strategic WHS Advisor, Safe Work Australia

If we accept that what gets measured gets attention, we need to ask whether Australian boards and leaders are asking for what they want, rather than what they really need. And ask ourselves are we as WHS professionals giving them what they really need? In this presentation we will unpack the latest international and Australian thinking about organisational-level WHS metrics and what WHS professionals should be collecting, analysing and providing. This presentation will also challenge us as WHS influencers to ask if we have what it takes to communicate effectively with boards and leaders of organisations.

Networking Drinks

Thursday, 17 August



Bernie Doyle Chairman and President, NSCA Foundation

Regulator Panel: current trends and what’s on the horizon

Adam Watson Head of Operations & Emergency Management, WorkSafe Victoria

Elizabeth Tosti Director, Metropolitan Operations and Sector Initiatives, SafeWork NSW

Chris McKie – Chief Inspector, Compliance and Enforcement, SafeWork SA

Mark Cocker – Acting Chief Executive, WorkSafe Tasmania

Morning Break



Positive investigation methodology – the benefits of learning from success

Lucy Bochenek Special Counsel, Clyde & Co

Working at height and ladders – Into the 21st century

Michael WalshDirector, Branach Manufacturing

Michael will present an outline of the current status of working at height in industry and in particular ladder use. The presentation will explore existing culture and attitudes within industry and the changes that must occur to reduce the harm associated with working at height.

Topics covered:

  • Working at height – awareness in the community and industry. Risks and costs.
  • Who’s looking at the problem? Industry players, government, business, insurance, medical.
  • What is the rest of the world doing about this problem?
  • Changing attitudes to portable working at height equipment.
  • Causal factors leading to incidents. Why are people falling? The resulting aftermath?
  • Taking ladders and climbing equipment into the 21st century.
  • Potential solutions.
  • Where to from here.

What leaders need to drive safety outcomes? Insights for safety professionals!

Christian Frost Head of HR Program Delivery and WHS, News Corp Australia

Marcus Hooke National Director – Production & Logistics, News Corp Australia

Dull and dreary to E=engaging! –  inspiring the future of safety training

Dr Marilyn Hubner Managing Director, BuildUp Research

Safety training is often perceived as boring, repetitive and pointless to the workers and treated as a necessary time waster by the managers seeking to meet legal requirements. The challenge facing those with safety responsibilities is to squeeze the life out of the legal obligations to make training effective. This presentation will introduce and describe the principles of SAFE Training™ that can provide safety professionals with leading-edge techniques for the development and delivery of safety training programs and sessions.

Huge changes ahead – an introduction to ISO45001

Geoff Hoad Director Workplace Health & Safety, Optus

ISO45001 will replace AS4801 and in doing so will create some interesting challenges and opportunities for organisations that feel their existing system approach is limiting and bureaucratic. What safety systems are and how they should work are two different things and this is the essence of how the two standards will work. Safety is often seen as an add-on and this position will become untenable as a position going forward. How the profession survives in the future will become one of the big questions we will face. ISO45001 and how it works may be part of that answer.

Generalisation of confined spaces in industry

David Garden – Trainer, NSCA/Blackwoods Training

Lunch Break

Workers in the witness box – Mock trial presented by Sparke Helmore Lawyers

Bill Kritharas Partner, Sparke Helmore Lawyers

Carlie Holt Partner, Sparke Helmore Lawyers

Rossana Parmegiani Special Counsel, Sparke Helmore Lawyers

Susan Withycombe-TaperellSenior Associate, Sparke Helmore Lawyers

All parties involved in the events relating to a safety incident may have actual or potential liability—employees cannot assume they are immune from prosecution and that the organisation will take the fall.

Back by popular demand, Sparke Helmore’s interactive court simulation will take a fresh looking at the prosecution of individuals, including officers and employees. Our fictional incident is based on a fall from a height, involving a foreseeable element to the breach of safety.

This mock trial will provide insight into the prosecution process and what happens when an inspector, supervisor and senior manager are called as witnesses—and when the latter two are being prosecuted for breaching their work health and safety (WHS) duties.

The session will encourage you to reconsider how a judge might perceive your day-to-day actions relating to a WHS breach. It will provide you with an understanding of:

  • how the day-to-day actions or omissions of workers and officers can amount to a breach of Work Health and Safety legislation
  • the types of questions witnesses may be asked in the courtroom, and

the considerations a judge will make in reaching a decision.

Closing Remarks from the Chair

Bernie Doyle Chairman and President, NSCA Foundation

Conference Close