Conference Program /

Wednesday, 29 August – Day 1



Bernie Doyle — Chairman and President, NSCA Foundation

INTERNATIONAL KEYNOTE: What is up with this B.S. – being safe
Eldeen Pozniak
 — CEO, Pozniak Safety Associates (Canada)

Eldeen Pozniak will share her thoughts, experiences and wisdom built up over years of caring about the safety of others, working with organizations and individuals that can be champions or barriers, and identify some bold strengths and practical concepts that we can focus on to have the biggest effect.  Continuing to focus on Hazard and Risk Based safety systems, including a mindfulness concept within the culture aspect, and being emotionally intelligent leaders will be explored.  She will take us on a journey to explore how the foundations of safety and the contributing factors to great leadership can work together so we can avoid the B.S. and just Be Safe.

KEYNOTE: The use and abuse of culture
Prof. Andrew Hopkins — Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Australian National University

Culture is a misunderstood and misused idea. In this presentation Professor Andrew Hopkins will advance seven clarifying propositions.

  1. Culture is a characteristic of a group, not an individual, and talk of culture must always specify the relevant group.
  2. Organisations have it within their power to ensure that organisational culture over-rides national cultures.
  3. The most useful definition of the culture of a collectivity is its set of collective practices – ‘the way we do things around here’.
  4. In the organisational context, it is usually better to use culture as a description of group behaviour, rather than as an explanation for individual behaviour.
  5. Organisational cultures depend on the structures that organisations put in place to achieve desired outcomes. These structures reflect the priorities of top leaders. The priorities of leaders in turn may depend on factors outside the organisation, such as regulatory pressure and public opinion.
  6. The distinction between emergent and managerialist views of culture is misleading.
  7. The term safety culture is so confusing that we should abandon it.

10.45am-11.30am Morning Break




LEADing your safety culture: An integrated approach to Safety-I/Safety-II
Dr Tristan Casey Principal Advisor, Leadership & Culture Unit, Office of Industrial Relations

Although much has been said about the virtues and potential of adopting a ‘Safety-II’ approach, little empirical data yet exists to support such claims. Further, Safety-II is often interpreted as a wholesale transformation of safety management, which risks ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’. Finally, much of the Safety-II discussion is theoretical and philosophical in nature, which makes practical implementation difficult. In response to these issues, we put forward and rigorously test an integrated model of safety culture and climate that incorporates both Safety-I and Safety-II concepts.

In this presentation, Dr Casey will describe two fundamental safety management dilemmas that can be successfully resolved through developing specific cultural and climate capabilities. Dr Casey will also present the LEAD model – a practical, dynamic, and evidence-based framework that industry can use to achieve sustainable compliance. Finally, he will showcase the aggregate results of a cross-university validation project that involved over 5,000 workers from industry and the piloting of a safety culture improvement process. Conference participants will be given an exclusive opportunity to participate in a free measurement of their safety culture and climate through the Safety Leadership at Work Program.


The science of fit & protection
Mark Reggers — Occupational Hygienist/Senior Application Engineer, 3M Australia/New Zealand – Personal Safety Division

It is well known that PPE is the least preferred option on the hierarchy of controls, but it is no less important than any other level of control when it is required. Therefore it is important that any PPE is appropriately selected, worn and maintained. This becomes even more critical when the level of required protection is highly dependent on how effectively the PPE is fitted and worn by a worker such as close fitting respiratory protective equipment (RPE) and hearing protection devices (HPD).

Studies have found that 50-80% of workers fail to properly use the PPE provided. Achieving the expected and required protection is a real issue in the workplace. Fit is an often ignored component of the correct application of PPE for individual workers. One size definitely does not fit all and this must be resolved to identify a product that fits the individual appropriately. This presentation will look at PPE selection considerations, why PPE is not worn, importance of fit and assessing fit.


dollarisation A groundbreaking approach to non-financial risk
Jillian HamiltonManaging Director, Manage Damage

Jillian saw the need to approach safety and risk in a new way.

The result is Risk DollarisationTM where the true cost of business risk is quantified by its damage cost which creates an environment where it is marked, measured and managed.

Risk Dollarisation is a New Language; it is clear, transparent and accurate; it is quantifiable and measurable in dollars; it has assignable costs and Business Units/Individuals are held to account for costs.

Rick Millar

Learning the code… New WAHS industry code for height safety installations
Rick MillarChair, Technical Committee, Working at Height Association

Terry Wong

Building physical resilience in an ageing workforce reducing injuries, improving wellbeing and promoting career longevity
Terry WongGeneral Manager, Move 4 Life

Whilst sprain and strain injuries has always been the most significant category of injuries – both in terms of claims and costs – many safety professionals report that there has been no innovation in this space. It’s almost as if we are willing to accept these injuries as part of life. Safety practitioners must be willing to confront old thinking and seek innovation in continuing to attack this issue. Often the execution of higher order controls associated with design, environment and work practice has a negative impact on the physical wellbeing of employees. Further, the administrative (training) control has, with a couple of notable exceptions, not evolved beyond the standard ‘risk-based’ approach via powerpoint and videos. Leading organisations have long abandoned these tools in adult learning and are applying practical programs that will be outlined in this presentation.

Steven Hains

Asbestos — still a major issue for business in 2018
Steven Hains
National Practice Lead – Property, Greencap

Despite being banned from use in Australia from 2004, asbestos is still a very topical issue in today’s workplaces. From recent issues with imported products from overseas still containing asbestos to a general lack of understanding of asbestos registers and requirements for intrusive/destructive testing prior to refurbishments — continued raising of awareness is required to continue to mitigate the risk associated with this deadly product. Whilst many organisations have committed to ‘asbestos free’ workplaces the sheer cost and practicability of this has been a significant challenge for business and Government.

This presentation will discuss the above current issues and best practice in asbestos risk management, including a case study from one of Greencap’s national clients on how they have managed and mitigated risk associated with asbestos across their portfolio.

1.00pm-2.15pm Lunch Break




The importance of mental health in the equipment hire industry
Martine Briers
Group Manager HSEQ, Coates Hire

Men are at greatest risk of suicide but the least likely to seek help. In 2011 men accounted for over three quarters (76%) of deaths from suicide. However, an estimated 72% of men don’t seek help for mental disorders.

This is even more pronounced for those working in heavy engineering, industrial services and construction. Workers are less likely to effectively manage their mental health and consequently record higher rates of suicide than other occupational groups.

Janelle Adrain

Compliance: prescriptive of pragmatic?
Janelle Adrain
Principal Consultant, Health & Safety Essentials Pty Ltd

Throughout Australia major changes occurred in the regulation of the storage and handling of dangerous goods in the early-2000s and then again for both hazardous substances and dangerous goods — hazardous chemicals — with the introduction of the National Model Work Health and Safety legislation in 2011. These changes introduced a performance-based approach that provides guiding principles for controlling risk and leaves it up to each workplace to identify the best way to achieve this. However, we — regulators, safety professionals, and workplaces alike — seem unable, or perhaps unwilling, to abandon the safety net of prescriptive rules and standards.

This presentation will use examples to provide an overview of some of the rules, where they come from, and why we are so attached to them. By considering what compliance means, we will question whether following the rules always achieves compliance. From this we will see that sometimes, but not always, compliance requires pragmatism to override prescription.


The keys to having an effective WH&S committee that complies with the law and that leads to positive outcomes
Maria BannisterLearning and Development Manager, Fire and Safety Australia/NSCA

Maria will share her insights and key tips in having effective WHS committees including:

  • Legislative requirements: When and how the committee is constructed and its functions;
  • A consultative approach: Who should be involved and how they can contribute;
  • Building positive behaviours: how to get the best out of the committee; and
  • Planning and communicating: Planning effectively and then ensuring that consultation and communication occurs
Darren Wishart

Work driving safety risk management: what are you doing with your grey fleet?
Darren WishartPrincipal Professional Leader, The Australian Road 
Research Board

Driving for work has been identified as one of the riskiest activities workers may undertake in the course of their work day.  Work vehicles travel more annual kilometres in comparison to private vehicles and consequently exposed to increased potential of being involved in a crash.  Although many vehicles used for work consist of traditional fleet vehicles that are provided by the employing organisation, road safety stakeholders and insurance organisations are showing increased concern of driving safety risks associated with private vehicles that are used for work purposes. Vehicles used for work purposes that are owned by the driver or another entity in contrast to being directly provided by the organisation are referred to as Grey Fleet. It is predicted that Grey Fleet vehicle numbers within organisational settings will continue to increase as organisations move more towards reducing direct fleet asset numbers and financial commitment along with aiming to meet reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, organisations face particular challenges associated with work driving safety and risk management of Grey Fleet beyond that of a traditional fleet, due to the complexities associated with the management and ownership of the Grey Fleet vehicles. This presentation will assist organisations in identifying Grey Fleet, along with highlighting some of the unique challenges associated with Grey Fleet risk management. It will also provide a risk management framework to assist organisations in practical Grey Fleet Risk Management.



Finding my tribe
Alanna Ball Founder, Women in Safety

Working in Papua New Guinea, being isolated by gender, experience and profession, it was clear Alanna had to find people who understood the challenges and share stories with. Alanna started thinking about the safety profession as a whole, what it means, what is the history of our great profession and how could she contribute. Fast forward 5 years and we have Women in Safety across all states of Australia and in New Zealand. Why is it successful? Why has it grown? Women in Safety has become more about finding a safe space to learn, connect, collaborate and build resilience in a field that is often challenging. The conversations have grown and continue to inspire all of us to make sure our tribe that surrounds us is safe.


Count Me In using a co-design approach to achieve alcohol culture change in the construction industry
Adrian Panozzo Director, Better Life Group

It is widely recognised that workers in the building and construction industry may be at risk of drinking to excessive levels.

The Count Me In initiative seeks to make an impact beyond traditional AOD (alcohol and other drug) policies by placing a focus on the social norms and beliefs linked to drinking to excessive levels in the construction industry.  Factors and insights such as acceptance and a sense of unity by co-workers, drinking in shouts, the role of senior managers and drinking as a reward for working hard are all targets for intervention by this initiative.

Using a co-design approach Count Me In as a culture change project uses senior managers as role models and the insights of middle aged male construction workers to implement workplace campaigns and education programs in order to improve construction worker health and wellbeing.

This presentation will outline the co-design strategies and alcohol change framework used to positively impact on risky drinking, perceptions, attitudes and behaviours of construction workers and the environments in which they drink.


3.45pm-4.15pm Afternoon Break

Catherine Wilkinson

Navigating intersecting employment and WHS law duties
Catherine WilkinsonPartner, Sparke Helmore Lawyers

The model Work Health and Safety Act 2011 places stringent obligations on employers. At the same time, employment tribunals have ruled against employers who unfairly dismiss employees following WHS breaches. As an employer, how do you navigate the overlap between compliance with WHS duties and fair management of employees?

This presentation will consider recent case law to explore the issues that can arise, including:

  • What does an employer (PCBU) need to so to ensure the employees (workers) act safety?
  • What are the employees (workers) duties in respect of WHS?
  • When will a WHS breach be a valid basis for termination of employment?
  • How do you afford an employee procedural fairness when you suspect a WHS breach has occurred?
  • How do you adequately document breaches and train workers to demonstrate ‘reasonably practicable’ steps have been taken?
Vicky Bartolacci
Anna Smith

Where is your skilled workforce? How tech can help to close the skills gap while delivering the right people to the right job

Vicky BartolacciManaging Director, Kineo APAC
Anna SmithSystems and Applications Support Manager – Early Learning, Mission Australia Early Learning

Kineo will detail how Mission Australia Early Learning has benefited from implementing Kineo’s Contractor Management System.  This partnership was significant, not only as M.A.E.L is a new industry credential for Kineo, the CMS has helped them with rigorous workforce certification and insurances.  This presentation tackles the bridging of our Skills Gap as well as implementing the right tools to track and support our contingent workforce. 

4.45pm-5.15pm Networking Drinks – sponsored by Blackwoods

Thursday, 30 August – Day 2



Bernie Doyle Chairman and President, NSCA Foundation

Regulator Panel Discussion: How are regulators responding to the changing nature of work and workplaces?

Andrea FoxDirector, Work Health and Electrical Safety Policy 
Justin Napier General Manager of Regulatory Operations Group, Comcare
Mark Cocker   Chief Executive, WorkSafe Tasmania
Simon Farrar Director, Major Hazards & Systems Safety, WorkSafe Victoria

10.30am-11.15am Morning Break




Balancing production with safety: a challenge for leaders
Anthony Gibbs 
CEO, Sentis

A recent study of 11,468 participants has found that 28% of workers report experiencing pressure from their direct supervisor to prioritise production over safety. Of those, 40% report experiencing this pressure on a weekly basis. In an environment where supervisors prioritise production over safety, it’s not a question of if an incident will occur, but when and how serious.

Why is it that safe production seems to elude so many organisations? In this session, Anthony will explore the challenge and implications organisations face when their leaders struggle to balance the reality of production demands with a focus on safety. Sharing insights from the recent Sentis study, Anthony will provide practical recommendations for organisations seeking to address this pressing issue and achieve a culture of safe production.

Session outcomes:

  • Explore the impact of production pressure on safety behaviour and safety climate
  • Explore how to improve leaders’ safety leadership skills to balance safety and production pressure for optimum business outcomes
Jimmy 1

Conscious choices and split-second moments
Jimmy ThomsonHead of Operations and Principal ConsultantThe Jonah Group

As human beings, we are always making choices in every aspect of our lives and those choices are being made at an ever increasing rate. Do we even know that we are making choices? For the majority of time, we are not fully aware of the choices we make or the conditions that cause us to make those certain choices. It’s quite common to catch ourselves reflecting afterwards on “Why did I do that? What was I thinking?”. In safety, this could be serious, even deadly.

What if we could become more conscious to the safety choices we are making?

What if we could understand the reasons for why we do what we do?

What if we can interrupt this to be more aware of when this is happening and take a different path and influence others around us to do the same?

Choosing “I’d better…” over ‘She’ll be right….”.  A split-second moment where we can make a conscious choice that causes a safer outcome. Let’s shift our thinking about what’s possible and become a Conscious Safety Leader.


Leading safety — a practical approach
Craig Docherty CEO / Founder, Fusion Safety Management

There are a number of considerations to be aware of when leading people to safely produce a product or outcome. When new leaders take charge or even old leaders take on new roles, it is difficult to know what model to use or what skills to develop in order to lead safely. The intent of this presentation is to bring greater awareness to practical elements and skills that significantly impact how successfully an individual is able to lead safely.

This presentation will outline some of the critical success factors or minimum requirements required to lead safely. It will include an overview of how different elements can be applied by a leader to influence the perception of safety within a workforce.

The presentation will include an overview of the Full Range leadership model and its practical application to safety, provide awareness and guidance in developing a leader’s risk tolerance, technical competence, situational awareness and emotional intelligence.

Paulo Gomes

Amongst the workforce you will always find the best solution
Paulo Gomes Regional Senior Safety Advisor, Otraco International (Downer MEI)


Business bullshit and safety
Kevin Jones
OHS Consultant and Freelance Writer, Workplace Safety Services

A cornerstone of work health and safety is Consultation.  Consultation requires trust, cooperation and clarity in language. However over many years discussions about workplace health and safety have moved from jargon to what some call “Business Bullshit” – language that is poorly understood but commonly used, that erodes trust and is sometimes intended to achieve nothing.

Kevin Jones will illustrate the growth of this phenomenon with recent examples from private, public and government publications and statements. In this way, delegates will be able to analyse their own communications and those of their employers and clients to make sure that their WHS consultation is as effective as possible.

Steve McLeod.jpeg

Emergency management — how to engage your personnel with realistic emergency preparedness initiatives
Steve McLeodNon-Executive Chairman, Fire and Safety Australia/NSCA

12.45pm-2.00pm Lunch Break



andy lewis

Technology Our safest enabler

Andy Lewis Corporate WHS Manager AUS & NZ, Winc Australia

Technology is changing every aspect our lives, at home and at work. So, it’s a natural progression that technology, if it hasn’t already, will begin to affect the way we approach workplace safety in the very near future.

This presents a unique opportunity to achieve both business and people outcomes, while at the same time balancing cost and ROI. The current innovations are prohibitively expensive but there was a time when a fax machine was prohibitively expensive.

As an industry we can demand the solutions that will meet our needs and keep our people safe. This includes factoring in changes like an ageing workforce, a population with declining fitness, and ever-increasing demands on business to do more with less.


The role of standards in Work Health & Safety and risk management

Catherine Dunkerley Senior Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Standards Australia

Australian and International Standards play an important role in the management of Work Health and Safety, and occupational and organisational risk. Find out how these standards are developed and evolve, and how Standards interact with Australia’s Work Health and Safety laws.


Sedentary behaviour in the workplace — should we be alarmed?
Chris Ftinogiannis Accredited Exercise Physiologist, AEP Health Group

Prolonged periods of time spent sitting are now ubiquitous in the workplace, in automobile commuting, and at home, whether viewing television or using computer and electronic entertainment devices. Research is now available that demonstrates strong links between sedentary behaviour with decreased levels of productivity due to increased rates of obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and growing levels of mental health concerns. Gone are the days that the workplace had to just manage injuries, our focus now needs to include employee general health and wellbeing. This needs to be addressed in a strategic manner and not ignored. If you want a productive and engaged workforce, they need to be healthy!

Peter Tayor.IMG_0170

Is it an industrial accident or a multiple factor failure of systems?
Peter Taylor 
Managing Director – Operations, P.T. Automation Solutions

When industrial accidents occur they make the news and too often the blame game starts to isolate a single point of failure. However with the multiple controls and risk mitigation processes we have in place that the risk has been accumulating as various systems have been breaking down undetected. Electrical accidents have that invisible component.
Peter Taylor’s own near death experience with an electrical arc-fault that consumed a colleague working beside him was a multiple factor failure. It has led to a pursuit of raising awareness and developing systems that offer protection, when operators have not worn PPE, or worn their PPE correctly, and/or the administrative controls have failed. In the industrial environment employees tend to take risks if nothing has happened for years, or their not seen it for themselves. Too often assuming they’ll be OK.  Risk mitigation is a structured process where employers must consider the range of risks associated with work tasks, assess them for probability and severity, to develop safe work methods.
PTAS provides examples of how we can engage and educate with risk Management Systems (SEQCD|P), use technology to develop more accessible information systems and reengineer hazards to provide protection to personnel and the public.

3.00pm-3.30pm Afternoon Break

Panel Discussion: Beyond the spin ― practical steps to integrate mental health in Australian workplaces presented by Safe Work Australia

Facilitator: Dr Peta Miller – Peta Miller WHS Consulting
Panel: Eldeen Pozniak ― CEO, Pozniak Safety Associates (Canada), Jamie Toth ― Senior Consulting, Actrua, Teegan Modderman – Manager, Psychological Health Unit at Workplace Health and Safety Queensland


Closing Remarks from the Chair
Bernie Doyle Chairman and President, NSCA Foundation

4.30pm Conference Close