WHILE companies acknowledge the many benefits associated with a well structured and up-to-date workplace safety culture, trying to achieve zero harm requires modern technology, safety practices and knowledge of law reforms.
The 2012 WA Safety Show, which will be held from August 7 to 9 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, is the state’s only dedicated workplace health and safety event. Offering visitors the opportunity to discover a comprehensive range of products and services from more than 150 exhibitors, the show will also provide business networking opportunities for both exhibitors and visitors, as well as opportunities to learn from industry experts via interactive live demonstrations, dedicated feature areas, and free seminars and workshops.
Returning to Perth for the first time since 2010, the show will present anextensive range of safety solutions that go far beyond personal protective and high-tech equipment.
Occupational health and safety (OHS) laws and regulations can be a minefield for ill-equipped employers; however, the show will ensure that attendees are updated on workplace health and safety laws, the latest changes in safety legislation, employer responsibilities and employee rights, and how new national harmonisation laws will affect businesses. Despite the postponement of these new laws until January 2013, workplace health and safety will eventually have a common standard Australia-wide, which means companies need to act now to ensure they comply with the legislation.
“There are always companies that are introducing new products and initiatives,” Australian Exhibitions and Conferences safety exhibition manager Sam Palermo said.
“Visitors will get the opportunity to meet the exhibitors and attend industry knowledge centres to see exactly what changes will occur when harmonisation comes into effect,” he said.
Mr Palermo said the show was expected to attract between 3000 and 4000 visitors representing a broad range of industries.
He said that an important attraction for exhibitors was the opportunity to network with the mining industry. As mining activity in WA surged, so too had the development of workplace safety culture, along with investments in technology and information to enhance both safety and productivity.
“From a visitor’s point of view, we have quite a broad range of exhibitors, but for WA, there is a lot of interest in protective equipment,” Mr Palermo said.
“Software has also become quite popular within the safety sectors and there will be a range of exhibitors whowill be displaying their OHS software, including WA-based Myosh, who are the major corporate sponsor of the show.
“A really popular area for the mining sector within WA is drug and alcohol testing, and there are a significant number
of companies that we will be showcasing a range of products and services.”
Pathtech will showcase its Securetec DrugWipe saliva drug detection devices: efficient, portable and reliable tests designed for on-site use. DrugWipe is used by all WA police jurisdictions for roadside screening of illicit drug groups including cannabis, amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine and opiates.
Breathalyser Sales and Service will display its German-made precision breathalyser – the AlcoQuant 6020 by Honeywell – which is available in three models. The ‘talk into’ AlcoQuant utilises an electrochemical fuel cell design for improved accuracy, provides unlimited tests for up to six months before recalibration is required and is faster than any other device at resetting following a positive reading.
An innovative self-contained safety shower and eyewash station for remote locations has been created by Enware Australia, and will be on display at the show.
It features solar batteries to operate the pumps. The shower and eyewash can quickly remove contaminants and irritants from the face, eyes and body.
Endorsed by physiologists at the University of Western Australia, Paramount Safety Products will be exhibiting THORZT: an electrolyte drink designed in Australia to address the hydration requirements of workers in extreme conditions.
Meanwhile, the Peel Safety Institute will explain how modern technology can be useful for OHS professionals by displaying specialised portable, easy-to-use and project-compliant electronic applications to assist in risk management.
Perth-based software developer Sentient uses game technology to teach safe work practices before employees begin on site. Visitors to its booth will be encouraged to play demonstration games developed by the company while seeing
how back-end learning management systems can be tailored and administered.
Many visitors are expected to attend the knowledge centres on the trade show floor, which will feature seminars focussing on the management of risk, materials and dangerous goods handling, and height, machine and mine site safety.
“Knowledge centres will be a key feature within the trade show and the feedback that we have been getting from our eastern states’ shows is that education and learning about new initiatives is important,” Mr Palermo said.
“Working with industry leaders, we try to identify key safety topics that are up for discussion, and we think that if we continue to do that we will continue to get the right people visiting; they are not just there to source a product, but to learn as well.”
The 2012 Perth Safety Conference Running concurrently with the WA Safety Show will be the 2012 Perth Safety Conference. Each day will encompass a specific theme: Downtown, Boomtown, and Innovation and Technology. Downtown will focus on OHS issues affecting small to medium-sized businesses and how these companies can better manage issues without a complex system or incurring high costs.
Boomtown will focus on sharing lessons from the resources sector, helping contractors navigate their way through the often daunting requirements for success in the highly-competitive market.
The Innovation and Technology day will look at emerging research and technology with the potential to improve OHS outcomes for all businesses, regardless of size or scope. The program is available for download at sia.org.au.
“We have a number of exciting speakers both for our keynote addresses and break-out sessions,” Australian Exhibitions and Conferences project manager David Cullen said.
“The opening day’s keynote will be given by the distinguished General Peter Cosgrove. For those who don’t know the man, he is the former chief of the Defence Force and is famous for a number of reasons, including leading the taskforce to rebuild communities devastated by
Cyclone Larry in northern Queensland,” he said.
“His presentation is a rare chance to hear such a leader up close.”
Boasting an impressive list of high-quality speakers, including WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch and 2006 Beaconsfield mine collapse hero Darren Flanagan, the 2012 Perth Safety Conference will provide visitors with cutting-edge information in a way which differs from the standard.
“We aim to provide engaging speakers who offer something different from regular and dull conferences,” Mr Cullen said.
“On day two we will have an insightful view on innovation in safety by Roger La Salle, who has presented on the renowned TEDx circuit of conferences in Melbourne.”“This day will see some really interesting topics and emerging research come to the fore with its role in safety,” Mr Cullen said.
“We also have the latest practical information on day three, with presentations from the WorkSafe Commissioner, State Mines engineer and the CEO [chief executive officer] of WorkCover.
“On top of this are presentations on harmonisation and health in WA, and quite frankly, anyone involved in making workplaces safer should be here on all three days as there is so much on offer.”
Melbourne Safety in Action and Materials Handling Show 2012
The WA show will follow the successful Safety in Action and Materials Handling Show, which ran from April 17 to 19 in Melbourne.
“It has been running for 15 years, so it is our pre-eminent show – well supported within key product sectors,” Mr Palermo said.
“Materials handling has been a growth avenue for us as well, and that has probably been the significant change for us over the last few years. Materials handling started out as a feature area to the show before it developed as its own separate show,” he said.
For the first time, this year’s show incorporated industry knowledge centres – four seminar hubs that were located on the tradeshow floor. They covered key areas such as risk management, materials handling, machine safety and height safety. Fifty-two presentations by organisations including Norton Rose, Safe Work Australia and the National Safety Council of Australia were held during the three days, in addition to live interactive product demonstrations.
“Many of them were well received, a lot were at capacity, and general feedback is that visitors want us to continue with knowledge centres,” Mr Palermo said.
While interest from the mining sector is expected to dominate the WA show, in Melbourne it was predominately manufacturing, alongside government representatives, local councils, and the building and construction industry. Mr Palermo said there was a range of new technology and initiatives on display that would impact on a number of different sectors.
“Protective equipment is always going to be a big element of the show, but we also had exhibitors displaying a number of products including high-tech boots, OHS software and spill control,” he said.
“We also had a lot of training providers and it wasn’t just institutions offering on-site courses: there were a lot of online courses available. For example, Edith Cowan [University] was there offering online courses, which which was popular amongst visitors.”
By Reuben Adams