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Kirk Coningham

Putting conversation ahead of administration in safety

August 2019

It goes without saying that compliance with safety duties is essential, and tools such as safety audits are very useful for identifying areas of non-compliance within an organisation, but they do not change behaviour in and of themselves.

It can be far more challenging to foster an organisational culture that prioritises safety from the basement to the boardroom, and recognises that safety is fundamentally about people, not process.

It is one thing for managers and executives to count the number of green ticks on a document and satisfy themselves everything is going well in terms of meeting an organisation’s safety obligations.

Too much of what is done in the name of safety is unnecessary or ineffective.  After all, a high degree of activity does not necessarily mean a high quality of output.

Changing the focus from one of mere compliance to one of conversation and collaboration is the central theme for the 2019 ALC & ATA Supply Chain Safety Summit, which will be held at the Hilton Sydney on 16 & 17 September.

For the second year running, ALC and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) are joining forces to present Australia’s most significant annual supply chain safety event, and help industry participants at all levels to deliver improved safety outcomes in their businesses and across the industry.

This will include updates from regulators and policy makers, technology demonstrations, practical case studies of how various parties are meeting their Chain of Responsibility obligations and discussions on measuring safety performance.

Attendees will also learn about the causes of truck fires and roll overs, as well as the latest developments on managing fatigue.

Particular highlights will be keynote presentations delivered by two highly regarded safety experts whose work challenges many of the assumptions often made when it comes to the management of safety issues.

Greg Smith, author of Paper Safe, will explore some of the hard questions around conventional approaches to safety in our workplaces – and whether the preponderance of bureaucracy that has sprung up around safety management systems in recent times is producing perverse outcomes.

He will also set out some of the steps that can be taken to reconnect employers and employees to the original purpose of WHS – creating and maintaining safer workplaces – and move away from the intense focus on paperwork and compliance reporting.

This theme will be built upon by Marc McLaren from Art of Work, an organisation that helps companies to harness the expertise and insights of their people to deliver improvements to safety, beyond what bureaucracies and systems of compliance can know or predict.

A particular focus will be on what more can be done to improve the health of the freight logistics workforce – particularly heavy vehicle drivers who can face challenges in terms of physical health through dietary, substance abuse and fatigue issues, as well as mental health through social isolation and pressures placed on domestic relationships due to long absences.

Summit participants will have the chance to hear directly about some practical initiatives that are being developed by the industry to deal with these issues, ensuring that members of its workforce are well-supported and have a place to turn in the event that these pressures begin to overwhelm.

With the Master Code for heavy vehicle safety having been in operation since November 2018, the Summit will also be an important opportunity for those within the industry to provide feedback on how it has assisted them in their own operations, and in improving understanding of how the Chain of Responsibility works.

The 2019 ALC & ATA Supply Chain Safety Summit promises to be an engaging, thought-provoking and practical two days that will give participants a competitive advantage when it comes to improving the safety and the productivity of their businesses.

For your opportunity to be part of the conversation, visit www.austlogistics.com.au/SafetySummit and register today.

Kirk Coningham
CEO, Australian Logistics Council

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