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The Health and Safety Event Preview 2017

01 March 2017

Visitors to The Health & Safety Event can look forward to a wider array of seminars, features and exhibitors than ever before. The 2017 conference and exhibition, which runs from 21st to 23rd March at Birmingham NEC, aims to provide professionals from all over the UK with an unparalleled insight into the latest trends and developments affecting the health and safety sector.

Organiser Western Business Exhibitions has expanded the event once again, adding new features to the programme and building more alliances with industry organisations to ensure a valuable visitor experience.

The event shares its location with three other exhibitions that represent related industries – Maintec 2017, Facilities Management 2017 and the newly-launched Fire Safety Event, which makes its debut this year – enabling visitors to maximise the value of their visit to the NEC.

New features of The Health and Safety Event include an exciting partnership with the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF), which has chosen to stage the BSIF Safety Awards at the event for the first time. The BSIF will invite entrants in its Product Innovation Awards to pitch their products to a judging panel in front of a live audience before announcing the winners. As well as supporting The Health and Safety Event for the first time, the BSIF will also have a strong role in subsequent events – Scotland Works in Glasgow, May 2017, and Health and Safety North in Manchester, October 2017.

The British Safety Council has curated the main conference programme, which has been designed to support the continuing professional development (CPD) of delegates. Best practice guidance will be shared across key industry topics such as workplace wellbeing, personal resilience, embedding a health and safety culture, mental health and legal compliance, while the impacts of Brexit will also be explored.

Introducing the main conference programme, Louise Ward, policy, standards and communications director at the British Safety Council, explained: “We recognise that many delegates come and sit in all of the seminar sessions during the day because they want to build their CPD. What we’ve tried to do is balance this year’s educational programme so that each day delegates get the opportunity to experience a variety of educational presentations, including legal updates, interactive sessions and best practice case studies. We’ve also deliberately chosen to run with three one-hour sessions each day so that delegates can easily attend the other theatre sessions and really get the most out of all of the presentations on offer.”

The full educational programme is available to view online at www.healthandsafetyevents.co.uk but this year’s event offers visitors a wealth of industry expertise, which reflects the latest thought leadership, key developments in legislation and policy and practice as well as important insights into technological innovations.

Conference sessions

Setting the scene on the first morning, Chris Green, a partner at leading law firm, Weightmans, will deliver an overview of recent health and safety prosecutions, which delegates will not want to miss. Chris’ highly topical presentation will reflect on key points and precedents that have arisen from these cases so that attendees can draw valuable lessons to take back to their own employers and inform safety management. A year on from its introduction, he will pay particular attention to the impact of the sentencing guidelines over the past 12 months and what the prosecution trend could mean for businesses going forward.  

“Fines are substantially higher since 2016 as it’s all based on the company’s turnover, culpability and the risk of harm now,” he said. “The session will give delegates more insight as to what that looks like in practice and, if they are ever facing these offences, what sort of figures to expect, how the HSE will approach it, what we will say in response as defence lawyers and hopefully where the court will conclude the true brevity of the offence really lies.”

Drawing on the positive delegate feedback received at Health and Safety North in 2016, Mark Davies will present a thought-provoking and highly interactive session that focuses on building personal resilience and the importance of rest and recovery. The director at consultancy 7Futures will draw on his extensive experience of working with elite performers, sports personalities and the military to explain how delegates can manage rest and recovery to maximise their wellbeing and effectiveness.
“Harvard Business School says that a person’s resilience, more than education, experience and training, will determine who succeeds and fails,” said Mark. “But how can we work with resilience to proactively manage performance without compromising people’s health and wellbeing? I’ll be exploring a model that enables delegates to treat stress as an adaptive force to strengthen and grow their resilience and protect their long-term wellbeing.”

Working closely with his clients’ health and safety professionals, Mark helps senior leaders understand the benefits of investing in the ‘internal safety’ of employers. “Safety is traditionally focused on external safety but it is when our internal safety is threatened that errors and accidents can occur,” he added.  

Founder of the RyderMarsh consultancies, esteemed author and culture change guru Professor Tim Marsh closes the first day with a spotlight on wellbeing in the workplace. Tim has developed a toolkit on wellbeing and will offer guidance on how best to address this important issue before going on to provide handy case studies to illustrate good practice.

“Wellbeing is such a bigger area than safety with far more of a win: win potential,” he explained. “A typical worker is something like 35 times more likely to attend the funeral of a colleague who has committed suicide rather than been killed in an accident. Also empowerment and engagement rates lag well behind the G7 average. Studies worldwide suggest that it’s being tackled piecemeal and often without applying the hard won lessons from safety. I’ll be arguing that we need a holistic, practical and co-ordinated approach – just like the best safety work.”

The second day kicks off with a fascinating case study from Sue Greatorex and Richard Byrne of BSS Industrial, part of Travis Perkins Plc. In this session, the commercial director and safety director will highlight the innovative work that BSS is undertaking to achieve effective collaboration with its key supply chain partners on health and safety. They will also reflect on the lessons the company has learned from engaging with its supply chain, in particular the benefits that all of the organisations involved have seen from this collaboration. Whether your organisation is large or small, at different parts of the supply chain – there will be learning for all, says Richard.

Delegates will be particularly interested in the next session – an interactive panel debate chaired by the British Safety Council’s Louise Ward, which brings together a trio of experts from both sides of the legal fence. With senior representatives from law firms Weightmans (Chris Green) and Pinsent Masons, IIRSM and Alan Craddock, Head of Operations from the Health and Safety Executive, the four panellists will highlight and discuss key emerging trends in regulation before opening up the floor to the audience to pitch questions and share personal insights on the legislative landscape.    

Chris Green returns from Weightmans to highlight the HSE’s highly controversial fee for intervention, the sentencing guidelines and new developments emerging from the health and safety regulator’s 2016 strategy.  “Many people don’t appreciate that the HSE’s strategy focus on occupational health is being implemented in the same way as accident prevention, namely by criminal investigation PACE interview and then through enforcement notices and prosecutions,” he said. “We have seen a few of the first cases where some of the early breaches of the offences are coming through the courts and some of the fines are really high. As a delegate, you’d realise that if you used to be more focused on the prevention of accidents, you’ve now got to be looking at all of the occupational health side of things in the same depth as well and the costs of getting it wrong can be higher than ever.”     

Kevin Bridges, Partner at Pinsent Masons, will touch on Brexit and its potential impact in the medium-to-long term. He’ll also emphasise the new sentencing guidelines, how it is playing out and the recent level of fines. “For me, the guidelines should act as an incentive for business to invest properly in good health and safety compliance,” he argued. “Board of directors need to realise that health and safety is a really important business risk. Investing, say, £250,000 or £500,000 in proactive health and safety risk management to ensure a safer working environment has to make better business sense than running the risk and ending up with a conviction and a hefty fine potentially five or 10 times higher.”

Bringing the second day to a close, behavioural safety and culture change expert Mark Ormond, director at Tribe, will offer a fascinating presentation on the role of effective conversations in driving improvements in health and safety culture and performance. In another session designed to stimulate audience participation, Mark will explore how effective conversations happen and how delegates can try and broker them in their own businesses. He will provide handy tips, techniques and some practical examples that delegates can take away and implement in their own workplaces to instil positive change.  

“Most people get the importance of health and safety conversations,” he said. “They understand the link between that and improving the safety culture, behaviour and performance. The biggest challenge I find when speaking to businesses is that they don’t realise how hard it is to get it right. A lot of organisations do it badly and really struggle to create a sustainable approach and what I’d call a fundamental building block in terms of health and safety engagement.”

The third, and final, day kicks off with an increasingly important and topical health and safety issue. Launched in January, initially in the construction sector, Mates in Mind is a new mental health initiative, which aims to raise awareness of the prevalence of mental health in the UK. Sponsored by the British Safety Council, the initiative highlights how organisations can play an important role in supporting mental health wellbeing for their workforce. Michael Whitmore, Programme Lead from the charity, Mates in Mind, will explain how the initiative will work and outline the help and support that is available for workers. 

Delegates will want to stay around for the second, and final, session at this year’s event – a two-hour mock trial, which gives audience members the unique opportunity to experience a court room situation first hand. Divided into two parts, the trial follows an accident on a construction site that leaves a worker suffering from concussion and broken bones. The ensuing HSE investigation reveals that the principal contractor had provided incorrect information in relation to the decommissioning of existing services on the site. In yet another highly interactive session, audience members will then listen to witnesses present their evidence and hear the judge sum up the proceedings before taking on the role of the jury and casting their guilty or not guilty vote.    

Led by a team of specialist health and safety lawyers from Pinsent Masons, this fascinating finale to this year’s event will conclude with a wider discussion with the audience, during which the legal team will run through the reasoning behind the final sentence and explore the key legal principles involved.      

“Whilst the mock trial uses a construction scenario, it picks up the common issues we come across in many of our real cases across many sectors,” said Louise Mansfield, Associate at Pinsent Masons. “For example, the risk assessment wasn’t up to standard; the training hasn’t been good enough; supervision has been a problem; people haven’t understood their duties.”    

With the sentencing guidelines having a major impact on the fines handed down, the team will also look at how actions taken immediately after an accident can unwittingly lead to significantly higher fines. For example, “in the Alton Towers Smiler case, the fact that the defendant seemed to blame employees in the early press releases impacted on its ability to rely in court on the standard mitigating feature of accepting responsibility at the earliest opportunity,” she added.

Safety Dialogue

The event’s Safety Dialogue Theatre, sponsored by 3M and the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), continues to expand its lineup, with seminars covering: respiratory hazards; training and competence; hearing; and working at height/fall protection.

Over the three days, a lineup of respected panellists will debate these prominent issues in a series of lively discussions:


In this interactive session the panel will be advising on awareness, education and managing respiratory hazards in the workplace - including the use of respiratory protection and fit testing.

Julian Dowson, BOHS; Mike Clayton, ISRP; Frank Angear, BSIF; Alan McArthur, 3M


Covering hearing conservation, NIHL and protection from insurance claims for non-work noise exposure, the panel includes experts from BOHS and 3M.

  • Frank Angear, BSIF
  • Julian Dowson, BOHS
  • Alan McArthur, 3M
  • Shaun Knott, Casella

Working at Height and Fall Protection

Association and industry experts will be on hand to advise visitors on advancing safety, best practice and competency when working at height, irrespective of equipment type or safety solution. Panelists include members of the Access Industry Forum (AIF) which worked with the HSE during the development of the Work at Height Regulations 2005.
  • Simon Hughes, NASC
  • Stephen Morris, 3M Fall Protection Business
  • Ian Jones, Chairman, WAHSA
  • Ian Luke, BSIF Member
  • Jason Carlton, PASMA
  • Frank Angear, BSIF
  • Adrian Rooney, NASC
  • Chris Wraith, IPAF
  • Don Aers, Ladder Association
  • Rick Statham, NASC
  • Ken Johnson, NASC

Training and Competence

When is training regulated? The expert panel will advise on the importance of standards and auditing.

  • Matthew Powell-Howard, NEBOSH
  • Marjan Azodi, Energy Institute
  • Jonathan Hughes, Capita Health and Safety Training and Litigation
  • Alan McArthur, 3M.

The Safety Dialogue Theatre also provides a platform for Safety Groups UK (SGUK). SGUK's Acting Chairman Bob Rajan and Karen Hoskins MIIRSM RSP Tech IOSH explain the benefit of projects such as the Health Risks at Work initiative, which provides information to help small businesses manage work risks and the LOcHER project (Learning Occupational Health through Experiencing Risk) which raises the awareness of young people preparing to enter the workforce, through practical demonstrations in colleges.

Safer Logistics

The third seminar platform, Safer Logistics, sponsored by A-Safe and Toyota, offers a programme of seminars providing practical advice on overcoming safety challenges surrounding warehouse and forklift operations. Another area of discussion will be load integrity on HGVs and vans, and how the police, together with the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency, are being trained to carry out stop and inspect operations. Experts believe this will lead to more inspections and prosecutions going forward. Seminars will be led by both sponsors, as well as industry organisations – the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL), the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT), the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) and the Regulatory Body for Workplace Transport Training (RTITB). The BSIF and United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) will also be lending their support. The aim of the Safer Logistics is to encourage managers in the supply chain to take a proactive approach to safety.

NEBOSH Educational Pavillion

Meanwhile, the NEBOSH Education Pavillion, managed by the National Examination Board of Safety and Health, serves as a central point providing access to a multitude of training providers. This area of the exhibition, centred around a café, has an ‘Ask The Expert’ feature and will also offer enhanced opportunities for networking.

Members of NEBOSH’s team, led by qualifications development manager Matthew Powell-Howard, will be available throughout the show to discuss your training requirements and solutions so visit the NEBOSH stand for a coffee and a chat. Matthew will also be participating in a daily panel debate focused on Training and Competence in the Safety Dialogue Theatre.

Matthew said: “In an ever-changing workplace, health and safety education and training have never been more important. The Education Pavilion will showcase how you can access the very highest standards in learning and development and we look forward to discussing your training needs with you at our stand.”

A number of NEBOSH accredited course providers will also be exhibiting at the event enabling you to discuss specific study options. If you visit at least four of the providers during the show, and collect a sticker from each, you'll be entered into a free prize draw to win a Kindle. Visit the NEBOSH stand (E70) to find out more.

Extensive exhibition space   

As well as the free educational content at the event, the major draw at the Health and Safety Event is a fast growing exhibition area where the leading names in health and safety will showcase their wares. Major equipment vendors, service providers and distributors all have experts available to answer queries regarding the latest products and services.   

BSIF Safety Awards

The British Safety Industry Federation will take to the stage at the Health & Safety Event 2017 to reveal plans to drive up the standard of safety products and services in the UK. The BSIF, which is partnering with the event for the first time this year, is relaunching its Registered Safety Supplier and Safe Supplier Accreditation initiatives. The twin schemes aim to raise confidence among businesses investing in health and safety by setting a benchmark for the quality of products and the training of those involved in supplying them.
The federation will also be championing best practice through the BSIF Safety Awards, which for the first time have been integrated into the programme of the Health & Safety Event, taking place at Birmingham NEC from 21 to 23 March. The winners in all three categories – Product Innovation, Service Awards and Safety Excellence – will be announced during a ceremony on the final day of the event.
The BSIF will also be giving those short listed the opportunity to present their products in the Product Innovation category to the judges in front of a live audience at the event. Each entrant will be given 15 minutes to convince the judging panel that their product has winning credentials.

The panel consists of highly respected and well known figures from the health & safety arena, with a broad range of professional expertise.

Peter Hall

With a background in risk management and training, Peter is a Fellow of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM), a Chartered Member of IOSH, Member of the British Institute of Facilities and a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management. Peter is the Institute's Immediate Past President but recently stood down to take up the role of technical director for the Institute.

Karen Hoskins

Managing director of IBIS Solutions, Karen has worked within the health, safety, wellbeing, healthcare and social care industries within the UK since 2001. She supports industry leaders such as Safety Groups UK, the Chambers of Commerce and the HSE in pilots and projects designed to promote excellent standards of health, safety and wellbeing within industry.

Neal Stone

Neal spent 16 years at the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) before joining the British Safety Council where he represented the organisation in its dealings with the government, Health & Safety Executive (HSE), and a wide range of health and safety bodies. He was acting chief executive of the British Safety Council between December 2014 and August 2015.

Rob Strange OBE

Currently working as an independent consultant to boards of directors - including Southalls and as an Interim CEO - Rob is past CEO of both the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and the Association for Project Safety (APS).

Henk Vanhoutte

Henk is Secretary General of the European Safety Federation (organization of European PPE suppliers - ESF). He has been involved in the development of protective clothing and the conformity assessment (certification) of PPE for more than 20 years. Since 2004 he is, as Secretary General, the main contact person of the European Safety Federation with all stakeholders (EU Commission, EU Parliament, Notified Bodies, Market Surveillance authorities, CEN-CENELEC, user groups) concerning legislation and all aspects of its implementation. He is also involved in standardisation as chair of the CEN-CENELEC Sector Forum on Personal Protective Equipment.

BSIF Product Innovation Finalists

  • Uvex – Pheos Safety Helmet
  • Combilift – CS pedestrian counterbalance stacker
  • Centurion Safety – Nexus Range
  • DorsaVi – ViSafe
  • Luno Systems – Hornet Helmet
  • Honeywell – Hapichem Suit
  • Ansell – Microflex 13-260
  • Spanset – Dynamic Self Retracting Lanyards DSL2
  • Ballyclare – V134 Workwear
  • JSP – Visilite Helmet
  • Blackline – G7 Connected Safety Device
  • Brilliant Ideas – Pole Drilling System

BSIF chief executive Alan Murray said: “In 15 years of BSIF Safety Awards, this is the first time the awards will be judged in a live environment, which is a very exciting prospect. Presenting in front of a live audience will put additional pressure on the entrants, creating a highly absorbing spectacle for observers.
“Our partnership with the Health & Safety Event, and its organisers Western Business Exhibitions and Publishing, provides us with a fantastic opportunity to engage with the health and safety community at large, not only at Birmingham NEC in March but also at the related events in Glasgow, in May, and Manchester, in October. Among the topics we will be discussing with audiences is the need for quality benchmarks that will give customers greater confidence in their suppliers and reduce instances of poor practice.”

Breakfast Briefings

Breakfast and coffee - as well as unique networking opportunities are available at the Breakfast Briefings. The sessions, sponsored by Evac + Chair, take place before the exhibitions opens at 9.00. On day one, Mark Roberts, director and evacuation specialist at Evac + Chair, will provide a talk on international shifting demographics and social awareness of issues such as disability, which are bringing greater diversity into the modern workforce. Accessibility is something that every organisation must consider and this brings specific implications for those responsible for health and safety practices within a building. Mark looks at the changing workforce profile and the key issue of ensuring safety for everyone in the event of a building’s evacuation.

On day two, Phil Donovan, who has 30 years in the fire service, 10 years in fire safety & fire safety training and 2½ years as a fire safety advisor to a local NHS Trust, will take delegates through a step by step guide to the perfect Fire Risk Assessments. Finally, Gary Hicks, Evac + Chair International, will take to the stage on day three, to discuss the intrticacies and safety issues that must be considered when managing the evacuation of tall buildings. Visitors must pre-register for the Breakfast Briefings as spaces are limited, so make sure you arrive early. To register and view the full educational programme online, visit: www.healthandsafetyevents.co.uk


The Health and Safety Event is also co-located with three key and complementary industry exhibitions. Now under new ownership, Maintec 2017 is the UK’s premier event for the maintenance engineering and asset management community and promises exciting development, content and new features. Through two new theatres, Maintec Dialogue and Maintec Summit, the seminar programme will address the most important challenges facing maintenance engineering today.  

Facilities Management 2017 delivers a powerful combination of senior decision makers and purchase influencers from across the UK’s industrial, commercial and public sectors. With a compelling range of unique educational content available to the visitor and a wide and varied exhibitor offering, this is the ‘must attend’ event for facilities professionals.     

New to the co-locations this year is the Fire Safety Event. This new addition will provide an opportunity for visitors to network with thousands of fire safety professionals. Boasting an agenda of free educational content across two lecture theatres, the show will feature leading industry experts, government officials, lawyers and manufacturers. A new quarterly publication, Fire and Security Matters, an independent voice for facilities and risk management, will support the event.

The Fire Safety Event will feature 20 fire sector manufacturers including: Advanced, FirePro, Coltraco Ultrasonics, Patol, BT Redcare, SSAIB, Sigma, Asecos, Evac+Chair, Institute of Fire Safety Managers, BAFE, Association for Specialist Fire Protection to name but a few. 

The Keynote Theatre (Sponsored by Advanced) will include a high profile collection of fire industry experts. On 21 March, solicitor Warren Spencer, who has prosecuted more than 100 cases under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 [FSO], will review key prosecutions he's been involved with under the FSO. Fire Industry Association managing director Ian Moore will discuss the pros and cons of public and private sector collaborations in the fire sector, while National Trust's Bob Bantock will explore emergency response and salvage operations in heritage premises. Bob will give particular focus to the devastating fire at Clandon House.

On 22 March, former BAFSA general secretary Stewart Kidd will highlight the need for mandatory fire suppression systems in large storage occupancies and well-known fire safety trainer Roy Smith with stress the need for safe storage of flammable substances by carrying out live demonstrations of chemical explosions. Dr Carl Hunter will explain why it's essential to constantly monitor gaseous systems and room integrity, while BAFE chief executive Stephen Adams will tell delegates how they can meet their fire safety responsibilities. 

The final day of the Fire Safety Event takes place on 23 March and the Keynote Theatre will be opened by Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack who will deliver a state of the union address, which will look at the impact of austerity measures on the fire and rescue service and concerns, community safety and blue light collaborations. Former chief fire officer of Gloucester Fire and Rescue Service Jon Hall will demonstrate ways of protecting buildings from flooding, while West Midlands Fire Service primary authority manager Jonathan Herrick will examine safe evacuation methods from buildings. Tom Gilbert from the Tall Buildings Network will highlight common failings when evacuating tall buildings and Association for Specialist Fire Protection chief executive Niall Rowan will conclude the line-up by explaining key steps for ensuring passive fire protection compliance.

You can reserve your seats in any or all of the Keynote Theatre sessions by registering for the event and selecting the sessions you wish to attend. All you need to do is visit www.firesafetyevents.com

In addition to the Keynote Theatre, the Fire Safety Event will also boast a second theatre, which will focus on case studies from manufacturers. The Fire and Evacuation Theatre will include talks from companies such as Advanced, C-Tec, BT Redcare, SSAIB, Patol, Coltraco Ultrasonics, Evacusafe and Evac+Chair. The sessions will focus on topics such as evacuation from the World Trade Center building during 9/11, smoke control, fire doors, wireless technology, suppression systems in hospitals, creating the perfect risk assessment, eliminating false alarms and installer competency.

The Fire Safety Event is also coming to Glasgow, Scotland at the SECC on 3-4 May where more than 4500 fire industry professionals will gather to enjoy even more keynote sessions and browse 30 exhibition stands. It will take place as part of the Scotland Works, which will feature content and exhibitions on health and safety, cleaning, facilities and maintenance. The Fire Safety Event also comes to Manchester EventCity on 10-11 October, where more than 3500 delegates will have access two to theatres and 30 exhibition stands and the show is co-located with the long-established Health and Safety Show North.