Once a corporate ugly duckling, safety and environment is now clearly high on the corporate agenda. Some of Australia's prominent business leaders including former Telstra boss Dr Ziggy Switkowski and ANZ chairman Jerry Ellis will address April's Safety In Action Conference on the theme of - Understanding my agenda: A CEO and director perspective.
Building communication between the boardroom and the shop floor will be an important facet of the Safety In Action Conference, said John Merritt, executive director of the conference's principal sponsor, WorkSafe Victoria.
"Safety in Action 2008 is not just another event on the OHS calendar, it brings together a range of OHS professionals from around the state at an important time of the year," Merritt said.
"From small business to educators and corporate boardrooms, this alliance at all levels of operations and management is essential as we work in partnership to make our workplaces safer."
Also included in the April 29 line-up are Leighton Contractors CEO Peter McMorrow, Skilled Group managing director Greg Hargrave, and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau executive director Kym Bills.
Chair of the director and CEO stream, Julie Honore, said the willingness of such high-profile executives to speak at the Safety In Action Conference, traditionally the domain of occupational health and safety (OHS) practitioners, shows safety is well and truly on the business agenda.
"OHS may have once been viewed as a compliance issue but that has changed dramatically," Ms Honore said.
"Executives know that if they can win the hearts and minds, they will not only have great results in safety but it will reflect positively on their bottom line. It's now recognised that doing safety well makes sound business sense”.
Interest from CEOs in OHS and environmental concerns also seems to have swept across industry and international borders.
Among the 70 speakers at three-day Safety In Action Conference will be the managing director of Multiplex UK, as well as representatives of the Australian Nursing Federation, Esso Australia, Seven Network, Victoria Police, CSL, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Lihir Gold.
Other highlights of the Conference will be keynote addresses from the executive director of WorkSafe Victoria, which is the event's principal sponsor, and health services commissioner Beth Wilson. Victoria police superintendent Trevor Parks will also discuss the response to the Burnley Tunnel tragedy.
The Safety In Action Conference will run from Tuesday April 29 to Thursday May 1 at the Melbourne Convention Centre, while the concurrently held Safety In Action trade show will be at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.