MRO Magazine

Attendance sold out at big health and safety conference


Mississauga, ON – From outer space to deep sea exploration, with a infusion of mental health, WSPS’s Partners in Prevention conference keynote speakers Colonel Chris Hadfield, Dr. Joe MacInnis and Michael Landsberg, captivated a sold-out crowd of 4,500 at the annual workplace health and safety conference.

Held April 28-29, 2015, at the International Centre, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield chronicled his 20 years of training in order to spend five months as Commander of the International Space Station (ISS). “We were always focused on what could kill us next,” said Hadfield, explaining the extreme consequences of a safety infraction while in orbit.

Dr. Joe MacInnis, who spent 60 days at sea as a member of James Cameron’s Mariana Trench dive team, coined the term “safety intelligence” to describe the three safety principles required for a safe workplace – elevating safety eloquence, enhancing empathy and amplifying endurance. “Science-driven exploration cannot take place without these in place and fabulous fitness,” stressed McGinnis.

TSN broadcaster Michael Landsberg told the crowd that the stigma of mental health keeps people “in the closet.”

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“Mental health needs to be regarded as a sickness, not perceived as a weakness,” Landsberg explained. “People need to be open and honest and not shy away from frank talk about mental health.”

Opening the conference, Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn was upbeat in telling the gathered that workplace injuries in Ontario have been reduced by 40% in the past 10 years but grim in recounting that one-half of all workplace fatalities in 2014 were in the industrial sector.

To resolve some of these issues, Workplace Safety and Prevention Service President (WSPS) and CEO, Elizabeth Mills, said, “We have to collaborate and continue to bring our diverse perspective and experiences together to come up with new ideas because one idea can spark change.”

A packed Trade Show floor, with over 400 exhibits, provided conference delegates an opportunity to interact with health and safety suppliers. Over 60 educational seminars covered a variety of workplace health and safety issues.

Next year’s conference is scheduled for April 26-27, 2016.