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New research at safety show

New research into all matters of safety — from female truck drivers to the use of safety products used by construction workers — will be released at The Safety Conference in Sydney from 28th to 30th October.

The research will be accompanied by interactive workshops and a series of case studies that demonstrate the real-life impact of workplace safety programs and tragedies. The most hotly-debated topic in the occupational health and safety profession — the role of human error in workplace injuries and fatalities — will occupy a significant space at the conference, according to the organisers.

The conference will cover seven themes, including transport, safety systems and practices, change management, human factors, and injury management. A new theme this year will cover safety saving the environment.

Among the 60 or more international and local speakers presenting at the show will be the heads of Comcare, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and WorkCover NSW. Delegates from these associations will cover plans for effective OHS regulation, long distance truck driver fatigue, problem solving, employer commitment, manual handling, injury management, staff fitness, and major hazard facilities.

A personal session will be held by Ambulance NSW’s Keith Williams, who was a key member of the Beaconsfield mine rescue team. Another well-known Australian workplace incident will be investigated by delegates at The Safety Conference, who will examine what went wrong and decide on the causes with the help of experts and witnesses. The investigation will be filmed for the professional development of managers responsible for workplace safety. A more “controversial viewpoint” about the many causes of workplace injuries will come from North American author, Larry Wilson.

“Participants in the conference will see what has really caused over 99 per cent of all the acute injuries but, and this is a big but, what if you discover it isn’t an easy pill to swallow?” said Wilson ahead of his 30th October address.

Apportioning responsibility will continue to feature in conference workshops for expert witnesses, while a preventative approach will be the flavour of OHS training sessions. Also up for challenge are the roles of stakeholders — unions, employers, regulators and OHS professionals — in workplace safety. The WorkCover NSW Hypothetical will engage representatives in a dynamic debate when moderator and broadcaster Adam Spencer delivers a series of challenges.

Conference chairman Barry Silburn said The Safety Conference program was designed to appeal to the spectrum of people involved in workplace safety, from senior managers through to OHS professionals and safety representatives.

“There’s a great mix of practical information, the latest academic research and personal insights on offer at The Safety Conference in 2008,” he said.

Sponsored by WorkCover NSW and Getex, The Safety Conference will run from October 28 to 30 at the Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park concurrently with The Safety Show Sydney. For more information, visit, email or phone Australian Exhibitions & Conference on 03 9654 7773.

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