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Top three takeaways from OHS Leaders Summit 2018

Panel Discussion with Cofounders OHS Leaders Summit 2018

OHS Leaders Summit 2018 – 150 delegates, 20 leading solution providers, 3 Platinum and Gold sponsors, 2 days, and 1 venue. The event was jam-packed with networking, presentations, panel discussions, and targeted sessions from OHS Professionals, high-level speakers, and best practice examples of technology innovations. This was Donesafe’s third year at OHS Leaders Summit and the first time as a ‘sponsor’. This year for us, was a little different, in a good way. If you didn’t go, here’s what you missed.

The 150+ delegates came from all over the country and most certainly were all experts of Safety, Health, and Well-being. Name an industry and it was there; Retail, Mining, Hospitality, Finance, Manufacturing, Software, and many more.

The collaboration of passion, belief of change and sense of togetherness from all attendees created a real understanding of all things health, safety, and wellness but most importantly how we’re going to tackle this together. We found that there were recurring trends such as; culture, contractor management, and mental health/well-being issues which are all present in every industry. The need for solutions and professional advice was the focus of the event. Each of the organizations we spoke to over the 2 days was either ready to make changes in safety, searching for solutions or they were scoping out options and beginning discussions in safety.

Our three top takeaways; the rise of technology, wellness, and budgets.

The rise of technology

Day one, first up. We ran an insightful keynote panel starring guests from big household names, discussing how technology and Artificial Intelligence are changing the roles of safety professionals. We had the pleasure of sharing insights and knowledge with Safety Tech Thought Leaders; Adrian Ditcher – McDonald’s,  Dwayne Duncum – Vodafone, Lynda McMeekan – Chubb/Carrier, and our very own CEO and Co-founder, Matthew Browne.

The panel ran an insightful discussion on the modern era of technology, its impacts on safety in the workforce, and the profession, as well as taking a look at future trends.

OHS Leaders Summit comments – “The panel highlighted what everyone needs to be thinking about as the role of the modern safety leader evolves. We heard success stories, battle scars, and practical advice from those who have already evolved their approach to their work and role.”

The importance of technology in the culture of safety was put forward to the panel;

“How do we know if a safety system is contributing to your safety culture? What metrics, or features, can be used to judge how many workers actually participate in safety? In reality, a system has no value unless it is actually used and has a constant flow of data being plugged into it. Technology has a key impact on facilitating a culture of safety.”

What Adrian said – McDonald’s rolled out a safety system for all workers across 180 stores as part of an overall national implementation program. Prior to this, reporting was low due to the complexity and time consuming paper-based systems in place. McDonald’s saw an increase in reported incidents across both franchise and McDonald’s owned stores and are now able to utilize the data to create a safer workplace whilst building the safety culture across the country. The engagement rate from workers was high and workers could easily adapt to the new system. Overall the feedback was positive with statements on the platform being fast, simple to use, and available on any device. The sense of inclusion was noted from a large percentage of workers when questioned, they made statements on noticeable cultural shifts over the last 6 months.

What Lynda said – New technology has seen Chubb accurately measure and manage workplace health and safety requirements. Workers were happy with the transition mentioning the simplicity of the platform. Now that all workers have the ability to be included in all things health and safety-related, the participation level has improved significantly. Workers feel valued, empowered, and happy with the cultural changes this has created.

Will Artificial Intelligence replace safety leaders?

OHS Leaders 2018

Many organizations would have implemented some form of automation, whether its a process for managing all your incidents, automated workers’ compensation, but what’s coming next is artificial intelligence (AI). AI is less reliant on humans configuring knowledge and understanding legislation/processes. The ability to learn for itself allows predicted learning and can put the best controls in place. The investment in AI last year increased by 300%, around 80% of executives recognize that AI boosts productivity. AI is already here and will continue to be embedded in our everyday lives. Siri on iPhones being a perfect example.

The preparation needed for AI requires moving your safety onto a consolidated platform to ensure all information is stored in a single place. AI will not replace humans, but will, in fact, help us. AI will enable us to spend more time on high-value preventative tasks, rather than spending time on managing and analyzing. The automation of transactional tasks will reduce the time spent on the process of data, on a large scale.

Machine learning is also a crucial part of changes to technology,  by utilizing this we are able to use facial recognition from CCTV, videos, photos, drone footage, for example, to identify and alert the workforce in real-time.

Wellness First

Well-being was a HUGE topic for OHS Leaders and rightly so! There’s never been a more relevant time to position the health and wellness of workers at the forefront.

This was discussed in many roundtable sessions along with the elephant in the room – ‘mental health’.

Mental health conditions are a real and significant issue that impacts people, organizations, and communities in a variety of situations and settings, including the workplace. Conditions are affecting one in five Australians, right now!

Investing in a software solution by itself won’t resolve wellness and mental health but paired with the empowerment of workers’ involvement, strong leaders, and initiatives, these are all factors when implemented together results have proved positive.

According to Comcare, one in five people in Australia will experience some form of mental illness, like depression, at some stage of their lives. As many of us spend at least nine hours a day at work, there has to be some spillover. There is a big price tag when employers ignore and fail to manage mental health conditions in the workplace. PricewaterhouseCoopers has estimated it costs businesses in Australia alone a whopping $A10.9 billion a year.

How to tackle budget conversations?

One of the main questions throughout the event was the budget for compliance, health, and safety. This has been a discussion in our organization and I’m sure every organization since forever. Health and safety do not generate a revenue stream…but it will quickly drain your revenue stream if measures aren’t put into place.

We get it, safety professionals need to get sh!t done and solutions need to be signed off, but when budgets are brought into the equation, conversations can be shut down quickly. What do you do? The typical conversation starts with companies putting off the decision to invest in Safety software due to costs and a fear the return can’t be quantified. But this is far from the truth. Most companies report payback in as little as 12-24 months, which proves the switch can be quantified. We’ve already seen some incredible savings since working with some large enterprise companies.

These costs can be justified by the following findings;

  • As stated in a PWC study – It costs $122 on average for every missing/misplaced document
  • As stated in a Gartner Group study – It costs 25 hours to replicate a lost document, if it’s even possible
  • Paper-based systems (Printers, maintenance, paper, and ink) can be expensive for large organizations. A recent customer reported a saving of over $200,000 since implementing a cloud-based safety system
  • Reporting from paper or a variety of disconnected systems can rapidly increase the time spent managing reports

During the panel discussion, we touched on how to get buy-in from the executive level. It was agreed across the board that this is something that doesn’t necessarily get the attention it deserves. By building a business case through data, organizations are able to report accurately and in real-time. This allows businesses to better understand the root cause and put preventative measures in place.

What Dwayne said – Getting financial approval is a hurdle in itself, budget sign-offs can be a long process that usually includes an in-depth rationale.

For Vodafone, the internal discussion around what technology can offer opened up a whole range of solutions for their business challenges. What Lynda said, a shift to a safety management system includes solutions to our issues and much more, this is something we are looking into. Long story, short we are currently in the financial approval phase.

With the shift to ISO 45001:2018, the focus on leader buy-in will be positioned towards the decision-makers. This will help with conversations around financial approvals in the health and safety space due to the key theme of management commitment. The international standard changes will help to reduce insurance premiums and risk of litigation, which are just two of the changes to mention.

OHS Leaders Summit 2018

Let’s wrap up

Did we solve all problems in 2 days, absolutely not! But the last 3-4 weeks, since OHS Leaders, has been full of continued discussions from the event. We’ve picked up conversations with over 30 companies from various industries discussing how Donesafe can help. 

The feedback we’ve received from the OHS Leaders Summit team is that ‘Donesafe’ became a buzzword at the event. When returning back to the office, the excitement continued as stories were shared with energy and passion amongst the wider team. It is exciting to see Donesafe become a leading player in the health, safety, and well-being space.

And as always, keep safe out there.

By Donesafe at

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