The AGS Safety in Mind Conference was held on 21st November 2019 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham and sponsorship was provided by Soils Limited, Structural Soils, Socotec, Soil Engineering, Equipe Group and Geotechnical Engineering. The event was well attended with plenty of networking opportunities throughout the course of the day.
The conference was chaired by Adam Latimer (Ian Farmer Associates and AGS Safety Working Group Leader), who opened the conference.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, John Gulley (Highways England) was unable to present the keynote presentation, so Steve Everton (Jacobs) started the day discussing the subject of trial pitting, in respect to the working at height regulations. Steve also gave an overview of the responses which were received from the trial pitting questionnaire circulated to AGS members, which will be further summarised in a future magazine article in early 2020.
Following a refreshment break, Karen Puttick (The Healthy Employee) spoke on how applying mindfulness to the workplace has benefits in terms of stress management, improved health and greater focus. The attendees, then took part in a 10-minute demonstration of the mindfulness and meditation process.
Jeremy Mitchell (Callidus) continued on the topic of stress looking at stress awareness, explaining there are different elements which can cause stress, including demand, role, relationships, support, control and change. There are different ways to help management of stress including using the current management standards, through stress risk assessments and HSE’ s – “Competency Indicator Tool” for Managers.
The attendees also had the opportunity to attend two workshops throughout the day, the first of which was chaired by Roseanna Bloxham (RSK Environment) who used Lego to demonstrate management of site operations and general site health and safety awareness.
After lunch and further networking, Matt Hazelton gave an emotive and inspiring talk, discussing the workplace accident that has affected his life forever and the effects on his mental health. Matt discussed the accident itself, the continued hassle from the media and eventually the court case which followed.
Gerwyn Leigh (RSK Geophysics and SafeGround) looked at the principles of using geophysics for service avoidance, discussing PAS 128 and discussing case studies where geophysics has been used to map and identified buried assets.
Harold Floyd (Pristine Condition) presented on a new tool in manual handling and provided a practical demonstration on manual handling to the attendees.
The second workshop of the day was held by Quentin Emery (OCAID), who, following short video clips showing unsafe elements in the workplace, asked the attendees to think about how they would have effective safety conversations through role play exercises.
The final talk of the day was provided by Richard Voke (Temple Bright LLP), who discussed whether organisations can withstand the challenges of an HSE investigation. Richard gave a brief guide on how good systems and procedures can prevent accidents and ultimately avoid prosecution.
All attendees were given strong messages throughout the day on some key health and safety topics, either raising or reinforcing awareness.
Presentations from the Conference with approval from speakers can be viewed below: