IOSH Conference 2016, London – Opening Keynote Address

Later this month I will be in London to give the opening keynote address at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) annual conference. Founded in 1945 and with more than 44,000 members in over 120 countries, IOSH is the world’s largest professional health and safety organisation.

I was recently interviewed by IOSH Magazine to share what delegates might expect from my presentation on safety governance and safety leadership. If you happen to be in London in a few weeks time, and are interested in attending the conference, you can still register to attend here.

What will you be speaking about at IOSH 2016?

I will be using my experience as a company director, as well as my PhD research, to focus on safety governance and leadership. In particular, I will be discussing what this means for OSH professionals who seek to influence their senior executive teams and boards to engage in safety and health issues.

I am looking forward to talking with delegates about what the frequently-used term “safety governance” means and how they can identify their organisation’s level of safety governance maturity. Understanding the safety governance maturity level of their organisation will help an OSH professional tailor their efforts and help ensure they are as effective as possible.

I will also be discussing ways delegates can assist their senior executive teams and boards to become engaged in OSH, beyond merely focusing on compliance, through understanding safety leadership behaviour for these senior officers.

Why should delegates attend your presentation?

I will be offering practical, common-sense tools for OSH professionals to use in the workplace. Delegates will also hopefully find that my presentation will assist them to assess the safety governance maturity of their own organisations.

This will help them establish whether their efforts to influence OSH change with their senior executive teams and boards are likely to be effective. Lastly, as a company director myself, I will speak from experience with some practical ideas of how OSH can best influence and engage boards.

Why should OSH professionals strive for safety “beyond compliance”?
As most OSH professionals would already know, merely complying with legislation is no guarantee that you will keep your employees safe. Of course it is important and the bare minimum standard any organisation should ensure it meets.

But legal compliance is not what drives leading OSH-focused organisations’ safety visions. True safety comes from strong safety governance frameworks which are supported by high levels of safety leadership at all levels of the business, including boards.

Compliance is only part of the puzzle, not the solution.

How can safety professionals influence the boardroom to improve safety performance?
In my presentation I will suggest ways that OSH professionals can design board reporting, present information in meetings and more generally give value to their boards.

Adopting some of these ideas will help boards understand that their OSH professionals can (and should) be used to add value much more broadly than just reporting on incidents, audits and compliance.

Dr Kirstin Ferguson is a professional company director on public, private and government boards; and an international expert in safety governance and safety leadership for boards and senior executives. Dr Ferguson can be reached via , you can follow her on Twitter (@kirstinferguson) or connect on Linked In.

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