02 June 2015

Hazards Australasia 2015 highlights

Hazards Australasia 2015
Clear communication, improving safety culture and turning complex issues into simple messages, were just some of the key take-away points from this year’s Hazards Australasia 2015 event held last month in Brisbane, Australia.

Hazards Australasia first joined the Hazards series in 2013 and is now recognised as the region’s premier process safety event. A diverse range of speakers shared their lessons learned from areas covering oil and gas, water, polyethylene manufacturing, aviation, risk management, regulatory and insurance.

The Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Centre’s Sam Mannan gave the inaugural Trevor Kletz lecture. Mannan’s lecture covered some of Kletz’s achievements and fundamental messages, like converting what appears to be common sense, into practical philosophy. Mannan’s presentation highlighted the role academia has in teaching future generations process safety. He also pointed out that industry should give equal importance to process safety issues as they give to production.

Other speaker highlights include former BP refinery manager Kathy Hirschfeld, who warned that safety should not be cut, just because commodity prices have fallen. Crisis communication expert, Alan Briggs, talked about being prepared and why you should have a robust crisis communication plan in place and the role social media now plays in a crisis. Steven Angus from Inmarsat Aviation also reinforced the importance of communication, like taking the time to really listen with intent, avoid being dismissive and why we should ‘sweat the small stuff’.

Susan Fleming from ACT Australia brought the reality of safety and leadership to life through a theatre-based play of the Deepwater Horizon incident. Our own ISC director, Trish Kerin focused on leadership with a little help from one of the leading philosophers of the 20th century – Dr Seuss. Kerin highlighted that as leaders we need to set direction, relentlessly pursue information, speak up even when it’s not what people want to hear and learn from and value others.

IChemE director for Australasia, Peter Slane, said that interest in the event saw a 20% increase in delegate participation from the inaugural 2013 event, which is a clear indication of how important Hazards Australasia is in the region.

“Each presentation was reinforced by another and a well received highlight of the event included a very emotional address by Beaconsfield mine disaster rescuer, Darren Flanagan.

“Darren’s presentation drove home the reason why we do what we do – we want workers to be safe and to go home at the end of the day to their families.”

The event provided a forum for international and local experts and safety professionals to discuss the latest developments, best practice and lessons learned from the chemical and process industries. The third Hazards Australasia conference will take place in Q4 2016. For more information contact April Hinde.

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IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).