The H in OHS, materials handling and automation safety are the new growth areas in safety reshaping Victoria's large workplace safety events, Safety In Action and Melbourne Materials Handling.
Running from Tuesday to Thursday at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, the two shows are on target to draw a crowd of over 10,000 business people to visit three acres of exhibits.
This year, Melbourne Materials Handling will have twice the number of exhibitors, says organiser, Marie Kinsella of Australian Exhibitions & Conferences (AEC). There has also been rapid growth in corporate wellness and automation safety.
"The big trend we're seeing is an influx of specialists dealing with the most personal of OHS concerns – psychologists, physiotherapists and even dieticians – into Safety In Action," Marie Kinsella said.
"At the other extreme, those dealing with the most inhuman of fields, automation, are more prominent than ever before with far bigger stands."
"Our explanation for the change is the labour shortage. Employers are looking for ways to keep valuable staff members on the job and, as we're all ageing, that means considering health and wellbeing. And of course, when you just can't get enough staff, then doing more with fewer people is paramount, which is why we're seeing an emphasis on automation and the efficiencies of materials handling."
Marie Kinsella said she expected workplace wellness would continue to grow with the Victorian government's announcement of the WorkHealth program that will screen workers for preventable diseases like diabetes.
Announcing the $600 million initiative, premier Brumby said workers who were overweight and at risk of developing a chronic disease like diabetes, stroke or heart disease were more likely to be injured at work.
“WorkHealth will be the first program in the world to target the connection between chronic disease and workplace injury across an entire workforce,” Brumby said.
Among the other diverse products and services displayed by the 360 companies at the two shows will be conveyors, height safety products, lifting aids and waste management systems.
Melbourne Materials Handling and Safety In Action run from April 29 to May 1 at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. The Safety Institute of Australia will host the concurrent Safety In Action Conference sponsored by WorkSafe Victoria and featuring 70 speakers including former Telstra chief, Ziggy Switkowski.