Keynote speakers

Steve Carden (NZ) "Turning around Pāmu’s safety record”

CEO, Pāmu Farms of New Zealand

In October 2015 Pāmu (Landcorp) experienced its third workplace fatality in six months. The company was in a crisis. So Pāmu came up with a plan to change the entrenched culture that was making the business unsafe. At its heart it was a cultural issue that required a razor-like focus on changing attitudes towards health and safety in the organisation, in particular, the falsehood that injuries are an unavoidable part of farming.  

CEO Steve Carden will tell the story of how Pāmu introduced a programme to turn its approach to health and safety on its head and embed a culture which values worker health and safety across the company

Success hasn’t always been assured but, into the third year of the programme, injuries are trending down and attitudes are shifting. In October 2017 the Pāmu Academy was launched to bring Pāmu’s Health and Safety approach to the wider ag sector and beyond.

Dr John Green (UK) "Challenge, change and stay curious – the future of health and safety"

Safety II expert and Director HSE for the Battersea Power Station Development

In association with the Business Leaders' Health & Safety Forum

Dr Green is globally recognised as a leading exponent of Safety II - putting people at the centre of workplace health and safety, rather than just focusing on good systems and processes.

Safety has traditionally been about the elimination of negative outcomes (incidents, injuries, errors, malfunctions). While this approach has led to significant improvements, it has also produced several problematic side effects: disengagement and disempowerment of people, increasing bureaucracy, loss of innovation and productivity. Furthermore, many organisations now struggle with plateauing safety records. Some industries even experience increasing injury and fatality rates despite unprecedented investments in safety.

Over the last 5 years, a growing number of organisations and thought-leaders have developed a set of ideas and practices that help organisations to overcome the current impasse.

This session will explore the changes that we need to make in what we do and how we do it as health and safety practitioners, as well as the shifts in skills and competencies that are needed to make this paradigm change happen.

Geoff McDonald (UK) "Mental health – a competitive advantage"

Mental health champion and Former Global Vice President HR Unilever

Ten years ago, Geoff suffered a massive panic attack which “opened the door “for him on mental health issues. “This wasn’t a breakdown, it was a breakthrough”…a life changing event. It’s why he is passionate about creating workplaces where people feel they can ask for help with mental illness (like they can ask for help with physical illness).

After 25 years at Unilever where Geoff played a central role in transforming the multi-national corporation's business model, he is an active campaigner for breaking the stigma associated with mental health in the corporate world, turning the negative into a positive.

Geoff will talk on the energising role of good mental health in the workplace and how this can be a competitive advantage. His focus is on putting wellbeing at the centre of how you grow your business, attract and retain talent.

Geoff will also let you know what you can do about it, sharing good practice and providing tools to take away from the conference to start this rewarding journey that can contribute to saving lives. 

Dr Julia Norris (Australia) "Collaboration towards improved worker health"

GP and President Elect of the Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists

In the pursuit of a healthy workforce, occupational health and safety professionals often work alongside other allied health professionals.  Traditionally, the disciplines have been quite separate, with defined theoretical boundaries and often a culture of competition. However, as health and safety professionals, we are all working towards the common goal of better health in the workplace.

Our challenge in providing effective and comprehensive workplace health strategies is to recognise the potential synergy between the many allied health disciplines that exist today. There is a wealth of expertise and knowledge that we can all access by fostering closer working relationships with like minded professionals.  

Julia’s address will include strategies for success in establishing effective working health collaborations, as well as the possible pitfalls. She will share case studies to illustrate what happens when we fall short, and also stories of the success that can be achieved through a systematic culture of collaboration.  

Phil Parkes (NZ) "What height do we set the bar at?”

COO, WorkSafe New Zealand

“We’ve done it.  Got there.  Box ticked!” Gone are the days of businesses taking a light-handed, clipboard-focused approach to keeping their people safe and healthy. In the last five years, there has been a significant evolution (some might say revolution) in workplace health and safety. We have new law. We have WorkSafe – a focused, standalone regulator. We have greater awareness.

The bar has been lifted from the floor and that has saved lives and averted injury. Yet still, we lag substantially behind similar countries in health and safety performance. Much remains to be done to build our competencies and capabilities keep our workforce healthy and safe.

WorkSafe’s Chief Operating Officer Phil Parkes will argue that improvement targets are important, but need to be constantly updated aiming points, not an end in themselves. Targets – bars – must be set beyond the obviously achievable and supported on the workplace floor through management and boards to have effect. 

Phil will discuss WorkSafe’s view and approach to taking the New Zealand health and safety system beyond par with like environments to world-leading performance.

Eldeen E. Pozniak (Canada) "Do We Have What it Takes?"

Immediate Past President of INSHPO

Immediate past president of INSHPO - the International Network of Safety and Health Practitioner Organizations - Eldeen Pozniak is one of the most highly respected occupational health and safety professionals in Canada. She also maintains an active practice in the USA.

With over 25 years of experience as a global health and safety professional, Eldeen will help us explore the concept of having what it takes, from the perspective of past president of INSHPO.

She will take us on a journey of exploring why we do what we do, before outlining INSHPO’s Occupational Health and Safety Professional Capability Framework and how it can help us focus on the roles, capabilities, knowledge and skills that we need to have to be truly successful as health and safety professionals today. 

Richard Wagstaff (NZ) "Strengthening the pillar of worker engagement and participation”

President NZCTU

The engagement and participation of workers in their own health and safety is one of the pillars of effective health and safety practice, along with capable employers and good laws with an effective regulator. President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) Richard Wagstaff believes that, while there is always more to be done, we’re along the road towards better laws and a more capable regulator. However, he says we have yet to see widespread and effective worker participation and the benefits that flow from it.

International research shows it works best through health and safety representatives, supported by regulator, employer and unions. Richard is enthusiastic about this, because not only does better participation and engagement mean better health and safety, if done well it can also mean more productive workplaces and better jobs.  He’ll talk about the research and his experience in this very important area.