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Join the debate: it’s time for a dialogue on safety

16 September 2016

Two theatres at Health & Safety North 2016 will give visitors the opportunity to hear the latest in thought-leadership and encourage delegates to contribute directly to a series of debates on prominent industry issues.

Back by popular demand, the Safety Dialogue Theatre provides a platform for visitors to ‘join the debate’ and quiz a live panel of experts. Making its debut at Bolton Arena on 12th-13th October is a new Seminar Theatre, which explores a diverse range of health and safety considerations.

3M is title sponsor for this year’s Safety Dialogue Theatre with additional sponsorship from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and support from the Health and Safety Laboratory, the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS), Safety Groups UK and the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH). The Safety Dialogue Theatre kicks off both days with a joint session from John Cairns, treasurer for Safety Groups UK and Karen Hoskins, managing director at IBIS, who will highlight two innovative initiatives – Health Risks at Work and the Learning Occupational Health through Experiencing Risk (LOcHER) project.

In two special interactive sessions on managing respiratory hazards in the workplace, Alan McArthur, technical supervisor at 3M, Julian Dowson, occupational hygienist from the BOHS, and Mike Lee and Mike Clayton from the International Society for Respiratory Protection (ISRP) explore an issue of growing importance among health and safety professionals. Held on both mornings, the safety dialogue will look at a number of topics, including the use of respiratory protection and fit testing.

“Inhalation of hazardous substances continues to cause ill-health and is a major contributor to work-related deaths,” says Alan McArthur. “During this safety dialogue we will discuss the role that respiratory protection can play, common selection issues and how to run a successful fit testing programme.”

Opening both afternoon sessions is a safety dialogue on another increasingly important topic – noise hazards and hearing protection. On the Wednesday, Julian Dowson from the BOHS and Shaun Knott, manager at Casella debate the key issues with the audience. On Thursday, they are joined by the Health and Safety Laboratory’s health specialist Clare Forshaw, who will offer a different perspective on dealing with unwanted noise. “Noise and sound are a part of everyday life and we are surrounded by competing sources of it,” she says. “But what about noise at work? Should this be accepted as inevitable?”

Closing the Safety Dialogue Theatre is a panel debate on training and demonstrating competence. Collette Willoughby, asbestos qualifications technical adviser at the BOHS, Barry Wilkes, development manager at NEBOSH and 3M’s Alan McArthur will open the dialogue and encourage a debate around the key issues.

“Competence can take all sorts of shapes and forms but generally it involves an element of training, experience and qualifications,” says Collette Willoughby. “All three elements can vary but the key point is that the correct or best measure is attained by the worker.”

IOSH’s sponsorship of the Safety Dialogue Theatre aims to highlight the growing trend towards investment in safety and health training. “An increasing number of organisations are looking to invest in targeted training that empowers every working person to work more safely and healthily,” said Dina Alkhalidi, Head of Customer Engagement at IOSH: “As the leading professional body for safety and health at work, the Safety Dialogue Theatre provides an excellent opportunity for us to support this positive trend, working with businesses and offering training to help create a world of work which is safe, healthy and sustainable.”

A new Seminar Theatre makes its debut at Bolton. Setting the scene, Ed Case, station manager and incident command lead for Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service, will outline how the service worked with the Staffordshire Civil Contingencies Unit to improve business resilience.

“The presentation provides an overview of the training that is offered and the decision-making theories and models that are used,” he says. “This training is based on tried and tested business continuity frameworks and decision-making theories that have been developed nationally and which are employed locally to deal with a variety of emergency incidents.”

Next up, John Robb, commercial buildings segment manager for Eaton EMEA, explores the challenges that building owners and managers face in planning for safe evacuations. He will highlight a new Eaton campaign to raise awareness of evacuation planning and offer advice on technologies that can make buildings safer.

In another not-to-be-missed presentation, Alex Graft, product specialist manager at Shawcity, presents the occupational hygienist’s toolkit. With occupational hygienists monitoring a wide variety of occupational exposures, including dust, gas, heat stress, noise and vibration, Alex’s presentation will provide an insight into the most up-to-date technological developments that can help occupational hygienists perform their tasks.

On the Thursday, Chris Morrison, partner and head of safety, health and environment in Clyde & Co’s regulatory team, assess the ‘game changing’ ramifications of the Sentencing guideline in respect of audit, risk, financial reporting and corporate structure. He will provide some insights on how to minimise health and safety-related financial risks.

Exploring risks of a different kind, Julian Butler, UK and Eire sales manager at GfG Europe Ltd, delves into the toxic world of industrial gases. In another thought-provoking seminar, his presentation includes a question and answer session where delegates can discuss particular gases of concern with industry specialists.

Tim Else, events director, said: “This is the most extensive speaker line-up we have staged at Health and Safety North. Besides the conference sessions, the Safety Dialogue and Seminar Theatres offer a wealth of inspiring presentations, covering all aspects of health and safety from respiratory issues to evacuation planning. We’ve worked very closely with IOSH as an exhibitor over the years and welcome their involvement.”

The full seminar programme for the event can be viewed online at: www.healthandsafetyevents.co.uk