Conference preview

IOSH 2019

From using artificial intelligence to save lives and guidance on implementing wellbeing strategies to the importance of language and managing contractor safety across boundaries, IOSH’s annual international conference has something for everyone

© Steve Burden

IOSH’s annual conference is returning to Birmingham’s International Convention Centre for the third year running, from 16-17 September, and the programme has been designed to ensure that it is relevant to safety and health professionals no matter what stage they are at in their careers.

Each day also has a clear focus, to help delegates decide between investing in a one-day or two-day pass. 

The first day will seek to enhance the professional’s understanding of key topic areas of safety, health and wellbeing, providing them with practical advice on managing the risks.


The second day will be all about the latest thinking and insight into leadership, strategy and innovation to help delegates shape a world-beating safety and health culture which gives their business a competitive edge.

Martin Temple, chair of the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), will deliver the opening address. He will speak about leadership, highlighting the fact that embedding good health and safety in any organisation starts at the top. 

He said: “This is even more important when looking at the new challenges that we face such as cyber security, and paying more attention to health and wellbeing, while ensuring that traditional safety concerns such as working at height, and slips, trips and falls, are not overlooked.”

He will then discuss the impact of health and safety “rules” (blue tape) on the health and safety regime and how important the profession is in keeping proportionality in the field. 

Finally, Temple will provide an insight into the HSE’s long-term strategy and future agenda, exploring current areas of focus like employee health, and the need to adapt to change with new challenges such as cyber security and the shifting demographic of the workforce.

IOSH-Conference-2018-102Keynote speakers will be journalist and author Frank Gardner and health and wellbeing expert Dr John Briffa. Gardner will recount his own story of survival, having been shot six times by terrorists while reporting in Saudi Arabia in 2004, and how he learned from that experience in terms of decision-making, risk-taking and his approach to adventure. Dr Briffa will talk delegates through building a wellbeing programme which can be adapted to their own business to boost their bottom line.

With one of the seven conference topics being “healthier workplaces”, the issue of mental health and wellbeing will feature in a number of conference sessions. 

Abigail Hirshman, head of mental health and wellbeing at non-departmental public body the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), will examine practical steps to promoting positive mental health in workplaces. Meanwhile there will be a panel debate on the pitfalls and benefits of mental health first aiders and how line managers can impact on mental wellbeing.

This topic will also look at other health issues. Bupa’s global head of health and safety David Rowbotham will explain how Spanish care homes business Sanitas Mayores used digital technology to increase awareness of safe lifting techniques to reduce musculoskeletal disorders. We will also hear from health psychologist Jenny Lunt who will look at how to tackle the leading causes of sickness absence at a strategic level.


Another conference topic will be “business and leadership skills”. This will include a presentation from engineer Jamiu Badmos, head of quality, health, safety and environment at Ikeja Electric, Nigeria’s largest electrical distribution company. Badmos will look at how the company has used the ISO 45001 global health and safety standard to reduce its high rate of workplace accidents and work-related ill health.

He said: “I will look at how we adopted a systematic approach including worker participation and integration of business processes to prevent accidents and ill health through the use of the newly-published ISO 45001:2018 standards and the principles of vision zero.

“I will summarise strategic and sustainable solutions using risk-based thinking and well-structured initiatives, including the use of technology like Powerplay Game, balanced scorecards, i-SAFE Mobile App, Safety Watchdog and QHSE Academy.” 

The “from compliance to competitive advantage” topic will showcase how businesses with good OSH management can gain edges on their competitors. One key in this area is using the right language, Zoe Davies, senior health and safety advisor for global events management company IMG, will argue. She will examine research from thought-leaders in language and marketing and how knowledge of the way different generations consume information, instruction and training can be applied to sell health and safety messaging.

Ten reasons to attend IOSH 2019

  1. IOSH 2019 is relevant, no matter what career stage you are at
  2. It’s an opportunity to hear from inspirational speakers
  3. You can find out about the latest developments and thinking
  4. You will able to discover new and emerging technology
  5. It provides an opportunity to identify future risks and how to manage them
  6. You can boost your job prospects at the careers zone
  7. You can network with like-minded international professionals
  8. This year’s programme covers seven key industry topics and the programme has been tailored to make it easy to navigate
  9. The International Convention Centre is a dedicated conference venue in the heart of Birmingham, which has great transport links
  10. IOSH 2019 offers great value for money and promises maximum return on investment.

She said: “It’s all well and good to know regulations, but it’s important to talk to people in their own language and help them to see the importance of what you are saying. By understanding what people already know, it is easier to understand their thought processes and work out the best way of demonstrating the importance of health and safety within an organisation and getting people on board. This approach is far more effective than telling people what to do or scaring people into compliance.”

From the use of language to bow-tie methodology, the conference will cover a wide array of policy and practice. Shailesh Purohit, process safety engineer at oil product logistics company CLH Pipeline System, will provide an introduction to bow-tie assessment, using a theoretical case study involving the loss of containment of an environmentally hazardous substance. 

He said: “The power of a bow-tie diagram is that it gives you an overview of multiple plausible scenarios, in a single picture. In short, it provides a simple, visual explanation of a risk that would be much more difficult to explain otherwise. The technique is universally applicable for all industries and the workshop approach enables learners to use their existing experience of risk identification and management aided by the user-friendly bow-tie method.”

Purohit’s session will form part of the “collaborating with others” topic. Other conference topics covered will include: what we can learn from OSH research; future risks, challenges and opportunities; and leading sustainability and human capital.

Journalist and broadcaster Cathy Newman will return to chair the conference, which will also feature a variety of breakfast and lunchtime sessions, networking opportunities and a careers zone, giving delegates the chance to enhance their job prospects.

For information about the conference and presentations, visit: www.ioshconference.com


Marcus Boocock is a communications officer at IOSH. He was previously a journalist at the Nottingham Post.

Add new comment