Speaker Spotlight: Philippa Dodshon20 July 2020
As we move closer towards the Minesafe International Digital Conference, we sat down with keynote speaker Philippa Dodshon to discuss her presentation and provide insights into the health and safety sector.
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. Incident investigation is a largely untapped source of information about the health and effectiveness of an organisations processes and risk controls. There is a significant opportunity to expand on current practices enabling organisations to implement learning into ongoing risk management activities to endeavour to prevent recurrence.
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. Our challenge as an industry is to ensure we are able to identify and address risks that are constantly evolving and revolving within our work environments.
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. The impacts of Covid-19 are still being felt and are likely to reverberate for some time. In MISHC we have seen greater interest in companies for training particularly regards hazard identification and risk control development / assessment, as well as enhancing incident investigation practices. Participants are keen to build their ability to test the effectiveness of their established systems and to determine how to best strengthen them.
Q. As the mining industry continues to expand and life after the pandemic pushes for more activity to boost the economy, what can we implement now to guarantee a risk-free operation for the expected accelerated work rate?
A. The number of unknowns exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly tested our systems and it is difficult to see what our future will look like. These challenges are both complex and diverse. From a safety perspective we need to determine how to bolster our systems to promote worker safety and wellbeing to weather infectious disease outbreaks and other unanticipated developments.
Q. 2020 has been an unpredictable year for Australia and the global mining sector. What do you think Australia should focus on to protect the mining workforce as best as possible? Is this something that can be collectively agreed upon?
A. The mining sector has always been one of great variability. As a sector investing in ongoing skill development that promotes our ability to adapt to change whilst ensuring safety is paramount to leading the industry into the future.
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. Establish a sound knowledge base in health and safety, and find a mentor(s) with practical experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is one of the best ways to expand your understanding and find out from the people who actually do the job what the hazards and related risk are. Finally continue with professional develop in health and safety, particularly through programs like those offered at UQ – smi.uq.edu.au/professionaldevelopment