1300 occupational health and safety representatives in one room provides a great deal of passion about workplace safety. These are not the OHS suits, the regulators or the safety app spruikers that other conferences attract.
There is talk about safety leadership but few are thinking about the CEOs. They see leadership in themselves. Indeed, it may be a major step forward for the OHS sector to start to separate OHS leaders from OHS leadership. The room this morning had hundreds of OHS leaders.
Victoria’s Workplace Relations Minister, Robin Scott, reiterated his support for HSRs and the importance of workplace safety but not much else. This was expected but he remained on stage longer than speakers at other conferences to answer questions without notice, showing a person who is confident in their skills, knowledgeable about their portfolio and clearly among supporters.
WorkSafe Victoria’s representative Claire Amies provided a solid outline of the OHS regulator’s plans but the authority is clearly finding its feet under new management. Delegates indicated that WorkSafe intends to step into the future by jumping back to the past. Rumours were that OHS will regain some of the prominence in OHS planning that it has lost over the last 6 or 7 years.
The HSR conference splits into two streams for part of the day – Private Sector and Private Sector. This is an understandable split by delegates in each stream really need to understand the approaches and values applied to OHS in the other stream.
Kevin Jones was a guest of the Victorian Trades Hall at this event.