Top three takeaways from 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 in 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 in change and sense of togetherness from all attendees created a
real understanding of all things health, safety, and wellness, and 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
with over the two days was ready to make changes in safety or search for solutions, or scope out
options and begin 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 and 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 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 a 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 by 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 can 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?
Many organizations would have implemented some form of automation, whether it’s a process for
managing all your incidents, or 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 of a machine to learn for itself allows predicted learning and can
put the best controls in place. Around 80% of executives recognize that AI boosts productivity, and
investment in AI last year increased by 300%. 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 technology changes; by utilizing this we can use facial
recognition from CCTV, videos, photos, and drone footage, for example, to identify and alert the
workforce in real-time.
Well-being was a HUGE topic for OHS Leaders and rightly so! There’s never been a more relevant
time to bring the health and wellness of workers to the fore.
This was discussed in many roundtable sessions, along with the elephant in the room – ‘mental
Mental health conditions are real and significant and impact 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 won’t by itself resolve wellness and mental health, but paired with
the empowerment of worker involvement, strong leadership, and initiatives, it’s been proven to
deliver positive results.
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, in every organization since forever.
Health and safety do not generate a revenue stream, but will quickly drain your revenue stream if
measures aren’t put in 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 quickly get shut down. 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 incredible savings since we started working with 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
What Dwayne said: Getting financial approval is a hurdle in itself; budget sign-offs can be a long
process that usually includes a strong 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
With the shift to ISO 45001:2018, leader buy-in focus will be on decision-makers. This will help
conversations around financial approvals in the health and safety space, due to the key theme of
management commitment. The international standard changes will also help reduce insurance
premiums and the risk of litigation.
Let’s wrap up
Did we solve all problems in two days? Absolutely not! But the last three to four weeks since OHS
Leaders Summit ended, have been full of discussions, continued from the event, with over 30
companies, from various industries, discussing how Donesafe can help.
The feedback we’ve received from the Summit team is that ‘Donesafe’ became a buzzword at the
event. Back in the office, the excitement continued as stories were shared with energy and passion
amongst the wider team. It’s great 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 donesafe.com