Speaker Spotlight: Peta Slocombe18 August 2020
We are pleased to announce Peta Slocombe will be joining us at the Minesafe International Digital Conference. Presenting on ‘Mental health from the (Under)ground up. A proactive approach embedding culture and technology’, we sat down with Peta to gain more insights into her presentation and the importance of workplace health and safety.
Q. What message would you like to highlight to those attending the Minesafe Conference? What do you hope will be the main take away from your presentation?
A. Mental Health and wellness is not an initiative, nor a project. It is a part of life, and if it is part of our employee’s lives that means it is part of company culture. The statistics have changed so much that mental health has become a commonality that joins us and not an aberration that might arise. It is a task for all of us to be as well as we can be as opposed to an area that needs attention just when people are struggling. For me – that’s a relief. It simplifies mental health instead of making it harder.
Q. Will the latest developments in safety soon meet the challenges of current operations? What do you think is the key factor in working towards a zero-risk industry for the future?
A. Areas such as mental health, culture, and awareness of self and others that under pin these things are never zero sum. I am hover very optimistic that technological developments in mental health and a culture of education and transparency will make the human element of safety profoundly better in the next few years.
Q. Our global community has been significantly altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. What do you think has been the main impact of COVID-19 in the resources sector with regards to Health and Safety? Has the pandemic shifted innovations and developments in a different way?
A. Organisational and psychological agility has been one of the main impacts from my perspective. Safety, daily changes in risk management, the ability to adapt to changes in the workforce, in teams, in our families and in our own minds has been tested like never before. I think we’ve learned we are capable of more than we imagined. In unprecedented times, in a game of Paper, Scissors, Rock, a company’s Culture will drive outcomes more than anything else.
Q. Mental health is a huge issue within all industries and significantly in the resources sector. What strategies are in place to ensure a healthy workplace culture that supports all employees? Has the pandemic outbreak also accelerated mental health issues within the sector?
A. Most things in life are amplified under stress. If it is a strong culture or family, it usually gets stronger. If it is an Achilles Heel such as anxiety or low change tolerance, it often gets worse. Mental health globally has become a true “second wave” as a global health issue. Maybe that was needed before we started to have some of the different conversations we are having now.
Q. As the sector continues to change at a rapid rate, what insights do you have for young professionals interested in learning more about health and safety within the sector or for those working for the first time in challenging environments?
A. As machine learning, AI and automation continue to move from trade shows to day to day life on (or under) the ground in mining, contributions around human behaviour will be the most critical piece. Leading safety and a culture of safety will be an exciting place to be.