Off the back of the major political parties conference season, it was the turn of the IOSH Food & Drink Manufacturing group to host theirs in the historic city of Nottingham. Although there was no mass media ranks at the Nottingham Belfry and no ‘grand-standing’ from the speakers; there was undoubtedly a huge amount of passion within what was a record-breaking conference in terms of attendees.
The previous weeks sunny weather had given way to a more autumnal feel, but this didn’t put off the delegates who had come en masse to the event. It was a great mix of HSE professionals from all levels in the industry, who were all happy to share ideas. The first part of day one set the scene for the two day conference, with key speakers from the industry discussing the challenges ahead for the coming months. After lunch, there were several further speakers, which highlighted day-to-day issues of HSE Management and gave food for thought to areas of improvement and practical solutions, on issues such as workplace transport and the safety of night-time cleaning contractors.
In the evening there was chance for dinner and it gave time for the delegates to talk through the topics discussed and how it may be relevant to their organisations. During the dinner there was also an awards presentation, for best practical HSE incentive with the Food & Drink sector. This was won by Mark Edwards of Speedibake for a practical solution to PPE issues on a multi-lingual site.
Day two started with presentations by the award winner from the night before, along with the two runners up who were Alan White from Allied Bakeries and Nicola Callaghan from Nestle. The presentations were warmly received by the audience and all highlighted how practical safety solutions are successful when everyone buys into a positive mindset. It was clear after speaking to others at the interval, that these incentives impressed and many other companies felt they could learn from these programmes. After lunch there were a number of entertaining and informative presentations around engaging others to develop best HSE practice. The presentations by Bernie Catterall and Gerard Hand were particularly passionate and enjoyable, and brought an end to a very successful conference.
The overwhelming message that came across was that engaging others wasn’t rocket-science but needed HSE professionals with passion and the ability to make the subject relevant to the entire workforce. ‘Keep it Simple’ seemed to be the watchword for the event, and hopefully the messages from the presentations will be used practically in the forthcoming year. I certainly will look forward to returning to the Conference in 2012.
HSEQ Recruitment Specialist