Keynote speakers

Ron Gantt (USA) "Safety through learning – Safety II in practice"

Director of Innovation & Operations, Reflect Consulting Group

To break through to the next level of safety performance a shift in perspective and practices is needed. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “we must think anew and act anew”. Drawing on two decades in the field of health and safety management, system safety, safety leadership and human factors, Ron will discuss how businesses can tap into the adaptive, problem-solving capabilities of their people to achieve this.

Safety II and Human and Organisational Performance (HOP) have provided the foundation for a new way of thinking about safety. Many businesses realise they need to move away from learning only from failure and seeing people as the problem, towards seeing people as the solution, but wonder what they are supposed to do next. How do we take the concept of Safety II and make it work in practice?

The key is learning, or, more specifically, creating a capacity to learn from everyday work. Ron’s presentation will review how we can disrupt the ways that safety is practised in workplaces by making learning about what’s going on a core function. Ron will share a framework for assessing an organisation’s ability to learn and create innovation from that learning. Most importantly, he will highlight the things we can do almost immediately to start learning from and improving everyday work in our areas of responsibility.

Dr Lucy Hone (New Zealand) "The three secrets of resilient people"

Adjunct Senior Professor at the University of Canterbury and Co-director of the New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing & Resilience 

Resilience: How can we promote it in ourselves and others? This is the question leading international authority on wellbeing and resilience Dr Lucy Hone seeks to answer, drawing on lessons from research and life. While there are many resilience researchers in the world, the death of her 12-year old daughter, Abi, in a tragic road accident makes Lucy’s story unique. She combines the findings of empirical research and academic theory with real-world, lived experience to make useful, context relevant and sustainable change.

Lucy's research is published internationally. Her PhD was acknowledged for its outstanding contribution to wellbeing science at the World Congress of Positive Psychology in 2019. She is a best selling author and blogger for Psychology Today

In her keynote address, Lucy demystifies resilience, sharing key scientific findings, as well as some practical strategies to help us all navigate these tough times.

Associate Professor Jodi Oakman (Australia) "The influence of work on health"

Head of the Centre for Ergonomics and Human Factors, La Trobe University

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are the biggest occupational health issue that most organisations face. Jodi will explore the impact of work on the development of mental health and musculoskeletal disorders, drawing on contemporary evidence. She’ll also talk about the future of work and the implications for the skills required by health and safety practitioners to manage changes in the work environment and practise effectively in health and safety.

Her address will focus on her research on MSD and psychosocial factors in the workplace and how these can be managed effectively to reduce workplace harm. It will have practical application for conference delegates. “When we manage musculoskeletal disorders we need to address psychosocial aspects of the work environment as well as physical factors – how much support people get and the tools needed to support workplaces.” She’ll also draw on the research she undertook for ASHPA on the future of work for health and safety professionals, canvassing “what does the future look like?"

Phil Parkes (New Zealand) “How WorkSafe is growing “how to”

Chief Executive, WorkSafe New Zealand

For WorkSafe Chief Executive Phil Parkes, growing ‘how to’ means having insights into what is happening across the system; focusing on risk; on health;  on equitable outcomes for all; on better work; on directors’ duties; on worker engagement; and on innovations. Phil will discuss these drivers and WorkSafe’s approach on each.


Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles MNZM (New Zealand) "Covid-19 communications: from university professor to pink-haired science lady"

Science communicator and microbiologist, the University of Auckland 

NEW ZEALANDER OF THE YEAR 2021

Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles describes herself as a microbiologist and bioluminescence enthusiast but to many she is “that pink-haired science lady”. 

Siouxsie is an expert at demystifying science for the public, creatively communicating complex subjects in simple ways. This talent came to the fore during New Zealand’s COVID-19 response when Siouxsie became a household name by increasing understanding of the virus and how we could help stop it spread. Her outstanding contribution to science communication has been recognised by many awards, including Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2021, Supreme winner of the 2020 Stuff-Westpac Women of Influence Awards, the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize, and Royal Society Te Apārangi’s Callaghan Medal. She was a finalist for the 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of Year Award and in 2019 was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to microbiology and science communication.

Plug into Siouxsie’s positive style and learn tips on making health and safety messages stick. 

Sarah Williamson (New Zealand) "Health and safety on the ice"

Chief Executive, Antarctica New Zealand

Sarah will talk about how the Antarctica New Zealand team uses both formal systems and cultural expectations to operate safely and successfully in an extreme environment.

Antarctica’s ice shelves, ice sheets and ocean currents affect our global climate and provide an indication of what our world will look like if global warming stretches past the temperature levels set in the Paris Agreement. Scott Base is New Zealand’s home on the ice there. It provides living quarters for scientists and researchers to undertake some of the most important science in the world amid temperatures reaching -60C, constant winter darkness and winds strong enough to blow out the anemometer wheel. It’s no surprise that their health and safety is Antarctica New Zealand’s first priority. 

With a team also based in the Christchurch office 3,800km away (in much milder terrain and weather conditions!) and limited connectivity to Scott Base, generating engagement across locations can be an interesting challenge Sarah invites us to explore with her.