The impact of national occupational health and safety (OHS) laws, together with other topics like swine flu and the safety profession's most enduring challenges, will be addressed at the Queensland Safety Conference. The Queensland Safety Conference, organised by Australian Exhibitions & Conferences , will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
According to Jamie McPherson, Lawyer, it was vital for Queensland's employers to understand the significance of the national harmonisation of OHS laws.
The new National Model OHS Act will change the manner in which occupational health and safety is conducted in Queensland. The changes will be a five-fold increase in the fines and a reversal of the onus of proof. It means employers will have a better chance of defence but those found guilty will pay a high price and many businesses will fold as a result.
Another speaker addressing the changes under the model OHS laws will be the senior director of policy for Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Paul Goldsbrough. His presentation will provide conference delegates with an in-depth comparison of the new model with Queensland's existing Workplace Health and Safety Act.
Aside from the WHS Legislation theme, the conference will canvass five themes: behaviour and culture; WHS for managers; health promotion in the workplace; risk management and critical incidents; and occupational issues such as drugs, alcohol, disease and fatigue. The speakers will represent a diverse range of workplace health and safety leaders, including Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, Qantas, the Department of Defence and researchers from three universities.
Among them will be Simon Blackwood, Executive Director of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, and Jim Ward, survivor of the Longford gas plant explosion who saw the incident unfold from the control room. Ward will discuss the safety lessons that have been lost in the years since the explosion.
The Queensland Safety Conference is presented by the Queensland and Northern Territory division of the Safety Institute of Australia in conjunction with the Queensland Safety Show. More than 200 companies will showcase new workplace safety products and services at the conference.