Tuesday 20 June 2023

Phil ParkesChief Executive, WorkSafe

Change in the workplace is happening in cycles of hours, days and weeks. The technology sector responds with 6-weekly ‘sprints’ and real-time mechanisms to support rapid change; meanwhile we put 2-yearly review cycles on workplace health and safety policy and procedure. Now is the time to reimagine our role in improving the design, experience and safety of work with human-centred innovation. During this keynote, Australia’s leading Safety Technologist and Futurist will challenge the status quo and provide a vision for a tech-enabled future of work with practical steps you can take today to upskill as a concierge for change.

Cameron StevensSafety Technologist and Safety Futurist (AUSTRALIA)

As work – and how we work – changes rapidly, our understanding of and approach to health and safety at work must keep pace. People are and should be at the centre of change. To achieve safe work, healthy work and equitable outcomes, we must support worker voice in everything we do. Work-related harm is not suffered equally, with some workers at greater risk of harm. Together we can address the equity gap and stop work harm before it happens. Phil Parkes, Chief Executive WorkSafe, will explore how good work design makes good business sense and can influence better outcomes. He will discuss why the worker voice is critical to a safer, healthier, more equitable Aotearoa. When we work together, anyone and everyone can be agents of change.

Phil Parkes, Chief Executive, WorkSafe

Health & Safety practitioners are in a unique position, often having to influence decision makers and leaders of the importance of focusing on workplace wellbeing while at the same time convincing their colleagues to engage in initiatives aimed at enhancing mentally healthy work. Clinical Psychologist Dr Dougal Sutherland will talk about some of the psychological superpowers practitioners can learn to influence others and provide some tips on how to avoid the kryptonite of workplace wellbeing – Burnout!

Dr Dougal Sutherland, Chief Executive, Umbrella

To take their health and safety performance to the next level, Silver Fern Farms recognised they would need more engagement with Directors, Executives and Worker Representatives. This led to the reinvention of their Health and Safety (Ora) Runanga from oversight to engagement and feedback. Andrew and Bevan share their why, the journey to date, and the measures of success.

Andrew Mitchell,  Group Health & Safety Manager; and Bevan Thompson, A Grade Butcher and HSR at Takapau plant (2022 Safeguard Awards Health & Safety Representative of the Year), Silver Fern Farms  

Why does Just Culture matter? What does it mean in practice when you’re sitting at the pointy end of a 787? And why is it important for everyone in the airline, not just the flight crew? Air New Zealand’s chief pilot offers a unique and entertaining insight into this core principle of health, safety and wellbeing.

Captain David Morgan, Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer, Air New Zealand

Andrew Barrett, Safety on Tap (moderator)


  • Cameron Stevens, Safety Technologist and Safety Futurist
  • Michelle Oberg, Downer Utilities


  • Andrew Mitchell, Silver Fern Farms
  • Samantha Turner, Stout Street Chambers

Wednesday June 21 2023

Activating change within the Health and Safety at Work system through ACC grants and System partners

ACC has collaborated with WorkSafe to deliver four rounds of Injury Prevention Workplace grants. Over $16.4 million has been committed to 20 initiatives, with an additional 30% of investment provided by the industry. These initiatives aim to improve outcomes for NZ workers and businesses by reducing workplace injuries and fatalities. Come and hear about some of the successful grant recipient initiatives and learn about their opportunities and challenges.

Effective partnerships and coordination are critical components of any primary prevention system. ACC has worked with WorkSafe to invest in and support key Health and Safety System partners. These partners are taking a leadership role in addressing systemic issues within their sectors or industries. By addressing these issues, they can create a transformative shift in the productivity, health, safety, and wellbeing performance of their sector. Construction Health and Safety NZ (CHASNZ) is one of these system partners. They will share their journey, ambitions, and progress to date, including their ‘Work Should Not Hurt’ program and Tōtika.

Iain PotterHead of Injury Prevention, ACC

Chris AldersonCEO, Construction Health and Safety NZ (CHASNZ)

Iain PotterHead of Injury Prevention, ACC

Change is at the heart of what we want to do in health and safety.  Yet we often feel more frustrated and confused than we do feel in control and satisfied with our change efforts. Drawing on his extensive work coaching OHS change leaders and supported by empirical research, Andrew will paint an optimistic picture of the OHS professional as a change agent, including what we may need to change in ourselves.

Andrew BarrettChief Connector, Coach and Host, Safety on Tap

By taking part in this interactive session with ACC’s injury prevention and business engagement and partnerships leaders you will gain new insights into:

How injuries that occur outside of work might be impacting your business

  • Ways ACC is working with employers to prevent these injuries
  • How employers can play an important role to support staff to recover from injuries

When injuries happen, they can have a significant impact on a business, no matter its size. So what can employers do to keep their people safe and productive, and their businesses humming following an injury?

Recovering from non-complex injuries at work can help people get better, sooner. To do that successfully, it takes a team – the employee, their employer, and their health professional – along with the support of whānau and workmates.

Learn how your organisation can support a successful recovery at work experience and discover why it’s not only good for people recovering from injury, but for business too.

Iain PotterHead of Injury Prevention, ACC

Amanda PeartBusiness Engagement and Partnerships Manager, ACC

Downer’s human and operational performance programme’s use of learning teams has enabled stakeholders to come up with new solutions to improve work and safety. Award-winning practitioner Michelle Oberg shares her journey in bringing Safety-II principles from academia into the real world.

Michelle ObergNational Human Operational Performance Manager, Downer Utilities (AUSTRALIA)

Poipoia ō tatou tangata, kia puawai: Nurture our People, let them blossom

Evolving beyond a typical EAP programme, the Meridian Energy Care Team concept aims to normalise mental health conversations, encourage early intervention, provide support to people leaders and wrap around care to workers. John and Trish share the journey and how it works in practice.

John SkudderHead of Safety and Wellbeing and Trish AllenWellbeing Partner, Meridian Energy (winner of the Wellbeing category at the 2022 Safeguard awards).

Making a difference

By her own admission, Jessie Bourke fell into health and safety in forestry – but it has changed her life. Only a few years into her career, her list of achievements is already extensive. An Agent of Change in provincial New Zealand, Jessie is committed to making a difference and helping workers and workplaces flourish.

Jessie Bourke, Health and Safety Manager, Logic Forest Solutions Limited (2022 Safeguard awards Emerging Practitioner)

Rethinking a traditional wellbeing programme, Neroli McDougall championed a more holistic and daring plan that included most life issues. Inspired by the wellbeing pillars of Te Whare Tapa Whā, the Got Your Back programme was born. Strongly supported by executives and management at Firstgas Group, the programme continues to develop and expand, bringing about positive change in the organisation and the wider community.

Neroli McDougall, Senior HR Business Partner, Firstgas Group (2022 Safeguard awards Mental Health Champion).  

What does it take to be a great leader? Dave Letele had an unconventional start in life, but this has enabled him to think of different ways to achieve success, and to embrace failure as a teacher. He has learned what makes great leaders, and what inspires others to achieve great things for themselves. Dave’s relentless positivity to change lives has made a difference to thousands of people across New Zealand, and he’s just getting warmed up.

Dave Letele

We are excited to bring the health & safety community together for two days of learning and networking at the 2023 Safeguard National Health & Safety Conference.

Join us on 20-21 June as we collectively explore the theme Agents of Change.

Last year’s Safeguard Conference was all about reconnecting with each other as the country emerged from Covid-19 restrictions and organisations worked out what the new normal meant operationally. Hence last year’s conference theme of Connection – Culture – Care.

This year’s conference will address a new challenge: how can people with health & safety responsibility establish themselves as successful change agents within their organisations?

Because addressing work-related risks means collaborating with multiple partners – the workers most of all – to change how work is done.

Michèle A’Court
Michèle has been working as a corporate MC and entertainer for more than 20 years - and in this current climate is using her skills as a television host (dating back more than three decades) in the online environment, giving Zoom meetings and webinars a professional flourish. Her international experience as a stand-up comedian includes work in the United States, Canada, the UK, Australia, Papua New Guinea and East Timor. She won the VAC Reilly Award for Excellence in Comedy in 2015. She regularly tours solo comedy shows around New Zealand - everywhere from opera houses to community halls. Originally trained as a journalist, she wrote a weekly newspaper column from 2008 to 2019 on current social issues for Stuff. She continues to work as a freelance writer for a variety of publications. Michèle has written two bestselling books: “Stuff I Forgot To Tell My Daughter” (2015) and “How We Met” (2018) both published by Harper Collins. Michèle is the Patron of “The Aunties”, a grassroots charity for women and children in need. She is also Patron of the Moving & Handling Association of NZ (MHANZ) which cares for carers in the health sector. Michele is a proud member of Actors’ Equity, and a Life Member of the NZ Comedy Guild. In the 2022 New Year Honours, Michèle was recognised for her services to the entertainment and comedy industries and becomes an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).
Amanda Peart
Business Engagement and Partnerships Manager, ACC
Amanda is the Business Engagement and Partnerships Manager at ACC and has been with ACC for four years. Amanda is an experienced senior leader holding roles in diverse sectors including sales and marketing, insurance and government in NZ, the Netherlands and UK. Amanda leads the national Business Engagement and Partnerships team who partner with NZ businesses, intermediaries, associations and strategic partners to deliver targeted services that aim to effect change to achieve better outcomes for employers and their employees.
Andrew Barrett
Chief Connector, Coach and Host of Safety on Tap
Andrew (Baz) Barrett is a health and safety professional by training who has become ‘reformed’ in many ways. Andrew recognised the need to create sustainable change in safety and that better individual, team and organisational learning leads to better results. This led to the creation of Safety on Tap - a change leadership company specialising in the development and growth of health and safety leaders, and more broadly, capability and innovation in the health and safety field. Safety on Tap supports large organisations across many industries to improve the safety of work, reduce safety clutter, and improve learning and operational performance. Andrew is a specialist professional coach for health and safety professionals. Andrew's work with health and safety leaders, their teams and exec is trusted by a diverse range of organisations and high risk industries including Hansen Yuncken, Downer, Origin, Abergeldie Complex Infrastructure, the South Australian Government, Major Road Projects Victoria, Endeavour Energy, Brisbane Council, Adbri, Ausnet Services, Signal Energy, and Coca-Cola Amatil. Andrew is regularly invited to speak at OHS Conferences in keynote, workshop, discussion and debate formats in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Andrew is also the host of the Safety on Tap podcast – he sparks thought-provoking conversations with interesting and inspiring people with different ideas, perspectives and stories delving into personal effectiveness, business strategy, people leadership, innovation and creativity.
Andrew Mitchell
Group Health & Safety Manager, Silver Fern Farms
Andrew Mitchell is the Group Health and Safety Manager at Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand's largest meat processor and exporter. With a strong foundation in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Psychology from the University of Otago, he developed a profound interest in understanding the factors that influence individuals' decisions, particularly when it comes to risk-taking behaviours. This curiosity led him to pursue a Post Graduate Diploma in Hazard Management, further solidifying his expertise in the Health and Safety field. Throughout his career, Andrew has gained valuable experience in diverse sectors, including mining, construction, and infrastructure, where he has successfully applied his skills as a Health and Safety Professional. With a deep commitment to promoting safe work environments and protecting the well-being of individuals, Andrew brings a comprehensive understanding of risk management and an unwavering dedication to improving safety practices within organisations.
Bevan Thompson
A Grade Butcher and HSR at Takapau Plant, Silver Fern Farms
Bevan Thompson is an A Grade Butcher from the Silver Fern Farms Takapau Plant. Since starting at the Plant in 2010 he has been a health and safety workforce representative for the Secondary Butchery since 2017, and union delegate since 2018. Bevan was recognised last year as Health and Safety Rep of the year for his efforts as a “GoodYarn” mental health facilitator, supporting his site through a serious incident, a voice for the workers during covid restrictions and the work he does organising motorcycle charity events.
Cameron Stevens
Safety Technologist and Safety Futurist
Cameron is Australia’s leading Safety Technologist & Safety Futurist, a MSc-qualified chartered health and safety professional with extensive experience deploying emerging technologies to improve the design, experience and safety of work for enterprises across the globe. Cameron is the Founder of the Safety Innovation Academy where he coaches technology and safety teams to improve digital literacy, develop digital safety strategy and enable safety technology transformation. As a trusted voice for human-centered, responsible innovation, Cameron is global keynote speaker, author of SafetyTech News and a key contributor to the international standards for Artificial Intelligence and Augmented and Virtual Reality safety.
Captain David Morgan
Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer, Air New Zealand
As Chief Operational Integrity and Safety Officer David Morgan has overall responsibility for determining Air New Zealand’s Flight Operations policy, procedures and processes and is also accountable for the aeronautical and ground operations for the airline. His portfolio also includes People and Operational Safety, Group Security, Business Continuity and Emergency Management as well as crew competency, standards and training and the Groups Learning organisation. He remains a current Boeing 787 standards pilot and is also Chief Pilot for the Airline.
Dave Letele
Former professional boxer, Dave Letele (AKA Brown Buttabean), is a South Auckland community leader who uses his platform to advocate for families in need. Having grown up with a father who was the president of the Mongrel Mob and in and out of prison throughout his childhood, Dave understands what it means to struggle. It took Dave a near-death experience to pull him out of a downward spiral. From there, he embarked on a journey that led to him owning several businesses, playing rugby league all over the world, becoming a professional boxer, losing almost 100 kg in body weight, and starting over. Dave is an inspiration to thousands of Kiwis, achieving his transformation purely through hard work and dedication. Starting his platform via his private Facebook group where over 10,000 people have achieved life-changing levels of weight loss, Dave went on to found his company Buttabean Motivation (BBM), where he and his team are currently working with public health and social service providers across Auckland to deliver his highly effective BBM programs to improve the health outcomes for obese people. Dave’s bold and no-nonsense approach has changed thousands of lives in his community and around New Zealand. In 2022, Dave was awarded with the Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero of the year Award for his incredible work across Aotearoa. Nothing quite beats a real story straight from the heart, Dave will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions where you will come out the other side understanding the power of determination, perseverance, hard work, taking that first step and hope! Let Dave inspire your audience.
Dr Dougal Sutherland
Chief Executive, Umbrella
Dougal has been working as a clinical psychologist for over 20 years and is the CEO of Umbrella Wellbeing. His work providing psychological support to workplaces and employees has seen him assist an array of organisations, including government departments, private companies and the Sir John Kirwan Foundation. This work has taken him around the country and around the world, providing help to everyone from stressed-out bureaucrats in Wellington to people living in a constant state of fear due to impending missile attacks. Dougal is also an Adjunct Teaching Fellow at Te Herenga Waka–Victoria University of Wellington in the School of Psychology.
Iain Potter
Head of Injury Prevention, ACC
Iain has come to ACC after a career in public health (20 years as Chief Executive of the Health Sponsorship Council – delivering behavioural changes programmes including; Smokefree, Auahi Kore, Quit/Me Mutu, Sunsmart, Bike Wise, Problem Gambling, Feeding our Futures, etc) and sport administration (over nine years as Chief Executive of Basketball NZ). Working at ACC provides an opportunity to bring those experiences to light in an injury prevention context working alongside a very committed team.
Jessie Bourke
Health and Safety Manager
Jessie is a health, safety and wellbeing professional based out of (what used to be known as sunny!) Gisborne. Her current role involves splitting her time between managing health and safety for a locally owned and operated forest management company and providing strategical health and safety support to local governance. She was the 2022 Safeguard emerging health and safety practitioner of the year. Her presentation is about starting a career in health, safety and wellbeing and building HS resilience in provincial New Zealand.
John Skudder
Head of Safety and Wellbeing, Meridian Energy
John has spent over 20 years working in Health and Safety, starting at Norske Skog Tasman Paper and then as a Program Manager for ACC, Health and Safety Lead at Contact Energy and now Safety and Wellbeing Manager at Meridian Energy. “My time with Tasman Paper as an Accredited Employer taught me the value of clear process and communication when it came to rehabilitation, we took our injury management practices there and applied them to the management of long term illness to great effect. Over the time I have worked in Health and Safety we have seen the “H” evolve from occupational health, to physical health and now finally to include mental health and wellbeing, a holistic approach. Clarity of process and communication is vital for people in a workplace who are struggling for whatever reason.
Michelle Oberg
National Human Operational Performance Manager, Downer Utilities (AUSTRALIA)
Michelle Oberg, Downer Utilities National Human and Operational Performance Manager, proactively and collaboratively shifts the business approach to safety from traditional methods to include progressive safety theories, ideas and applied practices (e.g. Safety II, Human Factors, and Organisational Psychology). Since joining, Michelle has been an instrumental part in guiding the safety direction and strategy of Downer Utilities, with key tenets being that we embrace our people as the solution and question long-held assumptions. Michelle is leading the way in operationalising progressive safety theories in Australia, turning theoretical understanding into applied operational initiatives.
Neroli McDougall
Senior HR Business Partner, Firstgas Group
Neroli is currently a Senior HR Business Partner in the People, Safety and Sustainability team at Firstgas Group. Neroli takes a people first approach, practices what she preaches and operates in a way that is heavily aligned with the values of Firstgas Group. She is responsible for driving, administering and championing the Got Your Back wellbeing programme.
Phil Parkes
Chief Executive, WorkSafe New Zealand
Phil is the Chief Executive of WorkSafe New Zealand since 2020. Prior to this, Phil held several leadership positions at WorkSafe including as Chief Operating Officer, where he was head of our Operations Group of over 300 employees from the High Hazards, Energy and Public Safety, Health and Safety Innovation, Operational Excellence, General Inspectorate, Specialist Interventions, and Health and Technical Services teams. Phil has extensive regulatory and leadership experiences from previous roles in local and central government in New Zealand and the UK. He joined WorkSafe from the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority where, as General Manager Policy and Legal, he led the implementation of a new regulatory framework for environmental effects of offshore petroleum and mineral activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone. Phil has a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Health and an MSc in Environmental Management and has completed an executive leadership course with Mt Eliza Business School.
Samantha Turner
Barrister, Stout Street Chambers
Samantha is a leading employment and health and safety law expert. She has over twenty years’ experience and is a skilled mediator and litigator, who is also a regular speaker at conferences and trainer on key employment and health and safety issues. Samantha has extensive experience working with public sector and local government bodies and she has been involved in a number of high-profile reviews, inquiries and investigations. Samantha has also worked with a wide range of leading New Zealand and global corporates, often working with leaders and lawyers from other jurisdictions and matching the requirements of New Zealand compliance to initiatives proposed from other jurisdictions. She was previously a partner at Simpson Grierson and she joined the independent bar in late 2021. Samantha has consistently been a ranked lawyer in Chambers Asia-Pacific Employment and Asia Pacific Legal 500 Employment and other leading legal directories.
Trish Allen
Wellbeing Partner, Meridian Energy
Trish Allen is a registered Health and Safety Practitioner at Meridian Energy. Whilst Trish has been practising in Health and Safety for well over 18 years, Trish also recently gained a Diploma is Psychology and Advanced Counselling Skills thus bringing a holistic approach to Safety and Wellbeing. Trish brings both a strategic and frontline practice perspective to her work in Wellbeing. Recently introducing CARE teams into her Wellbeing Framework allows employees at Meridian to being their whole selves to work. Working closely with equipping managers to support the Wellbeing of their people ensures that the mental health challenges experienced by their people is carefully managed using a series of helpful tools. Trish is very passionate about not only safety but also the Wellbeing of all people. “If we can support our people to bring their whole selves to work without discrimination, judgement or stigma is where we can really make a difference. From an employee value proposition perspective our Wellbeing programme really does make Meridian a sought after employer”.
Virginia Burton-Konia
Virginia Burton-Konia
Virginia is the Manager, Injury Prevention, Workplaces at ACC and has been with ACC for almost seven years. Virginia has extensive experience designing and implementing system and sector change, in collaboration with industry and profession groups, with the goal being to improve outcomes for New Zealanders. Prior to being at ACC, Virginia worked in a range of government agencies, with her first career being secondary teaching. Virginia leads a team of committed professionals at ACC that are focussed on how best to improve the performance of the Work System and evolve the role that ACC can play in this. Currently the team’s focus is on building partnerships with key system players and activating these groups through investment, and other enabling supports, so that they are well set up to make meaningful change for businesses and workers in Aotearoa.

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