AHRI WHS Forum: Safety Risk Management Wrap-up

Last month we organised a AHRI WHS Forum on Safety Risk Management. Graciously hosted by Suncorp with an excellent presentation by Christian Frost, Head of WHS at News Corp Australia to more than 20 attendees from finance, insurance, aviation, media and construction industries.

The event showed health and safety risk management an ongoing focus for organisations. Key challenges we discussed included how to keep programs fresh and engaging, and how to right-size our preparation and response to potential hazards in the workplace.

Straight off the bat we split almost down the middle when asked in a warm up question “Do you believe all workplace injuries are preventable?” – less than half of attendees said yes.

Interestingly, over half of attendees polled stated the WHS harmonisation laws had not introduced significant change to their business.

Further, only 5 per cent of attendees felt their organisation commits to zero harm principles.

Presentation: Health & Safety Risk Management

Christian’s broad overview of safety risk management from a media perspective set the scene for the varied scenarios and risks, particularly high risk overseas deployments into areas of war and instability. An interesting profile of hazards facing journalists here and across the globe.

A lively Hollywood inspired The Matrix practical risk assessment was delivered to determine root causes, human and organisational factors that influence incident occurrences.

Key discussion points for the attendees included:

  • LTIFR focus – given insurance premiums are determined by, amongst other things injury rates, and LTIFR is one of the few perceived comparable indices across the ASX, Board-level focus is unlikely to move away from this metric in the near future. Justifying and benchmarking positive factors is a key opportunity for the industry.
  • Measurement and metrics – as always, professionals are keen to drive positive performance indicators, lead metrics and seek out the presence of positives to reward safety performance.
  • Risk management – move from a zero harm-focus, compliance driven systems to risk management, service-based approach to WHS where WHS is engrained in business processes


Session take-outs

Christian closed with an appeal to HR attendees to look for the opportunity to embed WHS risk activities in:

  • HR systems that identify ‘at risk’ individuals, then processes for dealing with this;
  • Expectations of executives and other senior leaders – define it, measure it, hold them accountable (reward them, or manage them out);
  • Training; and
  • Procurement

“It’s important to build WHS risk into the matrix of your organisation so its engrained, automatic.  It’s not expensive, because it’s how you do it already.”

Upcoming AHRI WHS Forums

  • Q4 2016 – Defence Housing Australia will present a fascinating case study of its three-year journey to address occupational violence and create safer staff behaviour and interaction with the community. Forum Friday 14 October in Canberra
  • Q1 2017 – IAG will present on how HR/WHS operators can address psychosocial stressors and improve wellbeing in the workplace. Forum date TBC
  • If you or a colleague is interested in attending either of these AHRI WHS Forums please send a note to [email protected]