Thursday 01 October 2015

Experts shine spotlight on health and safety

A world leader in mental health care, an expert in dealing with major emergencies, a young sportsman who recovered from a catastrophic workplace injury to excel as an athlete, experts in pain management, and some of Victoria’s leading businesspeople are among the keynote speakers at Health and Safety Week.


The event, which is run by WorkSafe Victoria, is designed to raise awareness and promote excellence and innovation in workplace health and safety. It will kick off later this month with a series of one-day events across Victoria before ending with a three-day symposium at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Now in its 23rd year, Health and Safety Week will boast more than 70 free seminars on topics as diverse as construction safety, hazards in healthcare, managing fatigue in the transport sector, workplace bullying, how to store and handle dangerous goods, practical controls in the retail sector, and return to work strategies.

WorkSafe chief executive Clare Amies said the event gave Victorians the chance to learn from some of the best OHS experts in the business.

“Reducing workplace injuries is everyone’s responsibility so it is important we seek out new ways to do things better,” she said. “The seminars will be educational and informative, and I encourage anyone with a passion to improve health and safety in their workplace to attend.”

Keynote speakers and guest presenters include:

SAPNA MAHAJAN, who is Director of Prevention and Promotion Initiatives at the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Sapna oversees workplace mental health, e-mental health and peer support. 

CRAIG LAPSLEY, who is Victoria's first Emergency Management Commissioner. Craig was appointed in 2014 and is responsible for the overall response to major emergencies, including coordinating the management of the consequences of the emergency. 

JACK SWIFT, who, at 21, had his right leg crushed under an excavator while working in the construction industry. He made a remarkable return to work, and is now a world-class athlete.

SUSAN ALBERTI AO, who is co-founder and managing director of the DANSU Group, a large-scale commercial and industrial builder based in Melbourne's western suburbs. Susan is also the Chair of the Susan Alberti Medical Research Foundation and Vice President of the Western Bulldogs Football Club.

FRANK COSTA AO OAM, who is chairman of Costa Brothers, the largest privately-owned grower, packager, marketer, distributor and exporter of fresh fruit and vegetables and grains in the southern hemisphere. 

JACQUI STANFORD and NICK ECONOMOS, who are directors of Empower Rehab, a clinic which specialises in treating injured workers with persistent pain and training health and return to work professionals around Australia about the management of workers with ongoing pain to help their recovery.

Regional events are planned for Geelong on 19 October, Warrnambool on 20 October, Ballarat on 21 October, Bendigo on 22 October and Mildura on 23 October. Seminars in Melbourne will be held from 26-28 October at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The Victorian Trades Hall Council has organised a full-day program for Health and Safety Representatives on 27 October which has been approved under Section 69 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

WorkSafe is also supporting events being planned by local health and safety groups at Port Fairy on 20 October, Horsham on 21 October, Shepparton on 27 October and Altona on 27 October.

Ms Amies said Health and Safety Week was designed to stimulate discussion and offer practical ideas to improve workplace health and safety.

“We have brought together experts in a wide range of OHS fields, as well as business leaders who have made workplace health and safety a building block to their organisation’s success,” she said.

“Most Victorian businesses understand the value of workplace health and safety but there is always more that can be done. This event gives employers an opportunity to learn more.”

All seminars in Health and Safety Week are free but bookings are essential. For further details, or to register to attend an event, go to

Further Information

WorkSafe media enquiries: Peter Flaherty: 0478 881 663, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Kate Fawcett: 0478 305 640, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.