Workplace Health and Safety Show returns in 2022

Safety

The landmark event is back in Melbourne to present safety professionals with a range of offerings where they can compare, buy and stay updated on the latest products and policies to keep their workplace safe.

After two years of frustrating COVID-19 postponements, the manufacturing industry’s one-stop safety event is preparing to make up for lost time.

The two-day event from Wednesday 25 toThursday 26 May at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre offers free activities including live demonstrations, seminars, and round table discussions.

Marie Kinsella, CEO of International Exhibition & Conference Group, says the show was born out of a need for a more interactive business-to-business exhibition.

“It’s a place where all types of businesses and industry can come and learn about the latest in workplace health and safety,” she said. “We decided to offer a triple program with a major focus on education. The event runs concurrently with the Australian Institute of Health and Safety’s National Convention, where leaders in workplace safety talk about practices from around the world and introduce Australian businesses to the latest innovations in a whole range of safety areas.”

With Australian safety regulations seldom stagnant, technological advancements can help businesses comply with the latest rules. COVID-19 has pushed more manufacturers into automation, which requires different safety approaches in itself.

“Manufacturers are our major audience who attend the show,” Kinsella said. “Safety technology is a big trend and there’s a lot of innovation in this space whether it’s wearable technologies or automation. The technologies are so varied across different sectors, but the innovations are effective in keeping workplaces safe.”

The event is free to attend, with a spotlight stage where companies demonstrate the latest products and services, in particular technologies in workplace safety. The focus is on it being a hands-on experience, with participants encouraged to choose from a whole range of discussions.

The spotlight stage’s first presentation on Wednesday 25 May will look at the challenges that businesses face when considering moving to safety software technology and the potential gains to be had from the move. Later that morning, the group will hear about the missing links in creating wellbeing programs for employees. Over the two days, there will be many discussions covering a range of safety topics.

“Having the most experienced speakers share their knowledge about the full spectrum of safety is key to the success of the event,” Kinsella said. “There’s a number of levels of opportunity available; The first is coming to the trade fair, which is free to attend once you’ve registered online. Participants can pinpoint one or many of the free educational sessions on the show floor, which run for around 45 minutes. This supports discussions on the Spotlight Stage and learning sessions in the Knowledge Centre.”

Shifting to mental wellbeing

COVID-19 has thrown up a multitude of challenges for the manufacturing industry, but it’s also changed our individual daily routines, financial security, and social activities. Mental health is always important, but Kinsella said more workplaces are taking the right steps to ensure the wellbeing of their workers.

“There’s a lot of new companies in this space who will be showcasing at our event,” she says. “There’s a real need to regularly check in and encourage open communication with employees if they’re struggling.”

Surveys are being introduced to more workplaces to simply gauge moods and anxiety levels. Developing on this, programs now exist to engage with workers who are feeling overwhelmed, sad, or anxious to encourage and present options to seek further health advice outside of work.

“I’ve been involved in workplace safety trade shows for over 20 years,” Kinsella said. “Within that time, the composition of safety events has changed drastically. We are not only meeting about protective equipment and clothing anymore, there’s a wide spectrum of safety issues. Wellbeing is at the forefront of those, especially with the impact of COVID-19.”

A number of seminar streams are available to participants, including in the mental wellbeing space.

Knowledge centre seminars

Brain chemistry: impact on health, safety, mental wellbeing and performance

Greg McLoughlin, managing director, Health by Design, will examine how neurotransmitters and neural pathways impact health, safety choices, mental wellbeing, and performance in all aspects of our lives. The seminar will also examine COVID impacts such as ‘work from home’ and look at profiles that are better suited or less suited to working from home.

Do you know your OHS duties?

Cameron Hannebery, Special Counsel, Lander & Rogers, will refresh knowledge of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic), covering duties of employers, workplace managers and workers.

MSD risk analysis: a data driven approach

David Bick, director of professional services, Joint Action Solutions, will explain how Physical and psychosocial factors contribute to musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) risks. The seminar will cover how to identify them with a ‘consequence score’ and make data-driven decisions to reduce the highest risks first with the least expenditure. It explains how task analysis can help you achieve compliance, keep your workers safe and your productivity high.

Practical guide to preventing work-related back pain

Mark Alexander, BPhty (Hons) MPhty (Sports) MBA will host the session so that businesses can understand why their employees may suffer from work-related back pain and give practical strategies to prevent and manage the problem.

Psychosocial risk from the perspective of lived experience

Stephanie Thompson, workplace health lead, Wayahead explores some unique risks for people who have lived experience of mental distress and mental illness and what accessibility in the workplace looks like.

Marie Kinsella says her team has done everything to ensure any attendees get the most out of the two-day experience. As organisations continue to look to boost productivity and profits, it’s essential safety isn’t left behind.

“It’s a cultural shift,” she said. “It starts from the top and has to be reinforced from the boardroom level right to the shop floor.”

For more information, or to register online for the event, visit whsshow.com.au