Our takeaways from the OHS Leaders Summit


We sat down with Rodney Hampel to learn more about his experience at the OHS Leaders’ Summit.

Recently Bodycare had the opportunity to present at the OHS Leaders’ Summit on the Gold Coast. It was a unique and humbling privilege to stand in front of the country’s brightest minds in health and safety and give some insight into what it’s like to be Qantas’ national injury prevention partner.

With over 17 years’ experience working in the occupational health industry, Bodycare’s health professionals have met with hundreds of organisations who are all on some stage or another of their safety journey. Some of those organisations are in the infancy stage of their journey – getting the basic policies, processes and procedures drawn up, ironed out and implemented. Others, are further along and have built strong cultures around incident reporting, analysing risks and solid contractor management.

But then as we traverse further along the continuum, we reach the upper echelon. The organisations who push the boundaries, employ critical thinking and make employee health and safety about more than just complying with a regulator or an industry body. It’s these organisations who consciously commit to changing the way the world understands safety. It’s these organisations that fundamentally get that safety is about people… because they truly matter. Qantas along with a number of other organisations who attended the summit fall into this upper echelon, these companies are truly leading the way in occupational health and safety.

Here are a couple of the messages that I took away from the summit:

Genevieve Hawkins (GM Health Safety & Wellbeing at Coles) spoke about the need to increase our awareness of and our conversations about what it means to create a mentally healthy workplace. In her talk she explored what being mentally healthy actually looks like for various workers at Coles and how safety professionals need to make a contribution to creating mentally healthy workplaces.

Karen Oldaker (GM of Wellbeing and Community at Medibank) touched on the fact that health and safety professionals need to reframe the paradigm of wellbeing programs from one that focuses on fixing broken people, to one that builds on the strengths and individuality of employees and being supported by company leaders.

Richard Coleman (former GM of HSE at Asciano) explained that the technological and digital disruption age is upon us and that safety professionals need to evolve or they will soon be left behind.

Rene van der Merwe (Qantas’ Group WHS Manager) spoke about the need to give safety back to the people. Rene explored the notion that by giving safety back to the people, organisations could improve workplace engagement while also empowering employees to be adaptive and resilient when it comes to health and safety in the workplace.

So there you have it – some valuable insights from some of this country’s career safety leaders.

Overall the summit was a great platform to meet and network with other health, safety and wellbeing professionals. Watch this space to see what new partnership opportunities arise from this event in the near future.