Top six upcoming occupational health & safety conferences

Risk prevention in favor of safe and healthy workplaces in the past was seen as a waste of time, money, and energy, mainly by employers, but today there has been great progress in raising awareness and positive attitudes. The implementation of occupational health and safety standards, previously BS OHSAS 18001, and now ISO 45001, has played a major role in healthy and safe workplaces. Many of the interested parties such as companies, institutions, equipment manufacturers, individuals, and the local community gather at organized events in order to build culture and raise awareness for healthy and safe workplaces at all levels. The following information in this article will help you prepare for some of the most important academic events and occupational health and safety conferences coming up through the end of 2019, as well as the world conference in 2020.

Keep up to date and be ready

Resources used for occupational health & safety are no longer seen as costs, but rather as investments that make a substantial contribution toward safer, healthier, and more productive workplaces for the benefit of businesses, employees, and governments. Some of the international initiatives and institutions, such as the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and the global initiative Vision Zero, summarize and make readily available information about the most important news, projects, and events related to occupational safety and health, both in Europe and beyond. Here are the top six events to think about, aligned in chronological order.

1) Take the Next Step, IOSH – September 16-17, 2019, Birmingham, United Kingdom

This is a global conference for safety and health professionals, brought by the chartered body Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). The event claims to give the participants inspirational presentations, fresh thinking, business intelligence, new updates, and opportunities to make important new connections with other safety and health specialists.

Key topics to be covered at the conference include:

  • Business and leadership skills
  • From compliance to competitive advantage
  • Leading sustainability and human capital
  • Collaborating with others
  • What we can learn from OSH research
  • Healthier workplaces
  • Future risks, challenges, and opportunities

2) Challenges and Actions, OHSAfrica 2019 Conference – September 18-19, 2019, Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa

This first-ever OSHAfrica Conference and Exhibition is expected to be the most important OSH event on the African continent during 2019. The concept for OSHAfrica was born from the recurring realization that Africa was lagging behind other countries in presenting credible data and sharing its experiences on occupational health and safety at international conferences.

The vision of the organizers and supporters of OSHAfrica is to create an enabling, collaborative working environment for African OSH professionals to become world-class. In that spirit, the conference starts with topics covering:

  • OSH in construction, mining, manufacturing, gas and oil, and healthcare workers
  • Improving health and safety in the informal sector
  • OSH training and competency improvement
  • Occupational health diseases, rehabilitation, and return to work
  • Occupational health assessment and fitness to work
  • Mental health in workplaces
  • Occupational safety and health leadership
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Workplace violence and assault
  • Aged workforce and pre-retirement programs
  • Drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Workplace inspection and audits

3) The Future of Safety in a Digitalised World, 10th International Conference on the Prevention of Accidents at Work – September 23-26, 2019, Vienna, Austria

The 10th Conference of ( claims to be dedicated to the general theme “The Future of Safety in a Digitalised World,” picking up on one of the great future trends – digitalization, often referred to as Industry 4.0 – and its consequences for occupational safety. The six main themes include digitalization, risk assessment, safety management systems, Vision Zero, knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE), and education and training, with a focus on the European Erasmus Program RiskMan, in which AUVA takes part as well.

Top occupational health and safety conferences 2019

4) Vision Zero in the Waste Industry, European OSH Symposium – October 23-24, 2019, Hamburg, Germany

Company representatives, occupational safety specialists, municipal contracting authorities, scientists, labor inspectors, and social security experts from a number of countries will discuss issues related to occupational health and safety goals in the field of waste disposal, which can be brought in line with company goals. Solutions on improvement, technological developments and modern logistical collection concepts, demographic changes, qualification, and internalization of the working world are some of the themes that will mark this symposium.

The global prevention initiative “Vision Zero” aims to reduce fatal and severe accidents to zero and promote a culture of safety, health, and well-being at work. The implementation of Vision Zero should be an integral part of comprehensive company quality management. The International Section of the ISSA on Prevention in Transportation will use good practical examples from the fields of waste collection and waste processing to explore with the symposium participants how the Vision Zero strategy can be used not only to improve occupational health and safety, but also to make a substantial contribution to the achievement of broader company goals.

5) Rethinking Vision Zero, Vision Zero Summit – November 12-14, 2019, Helsinki, Finland

This summit is organized by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH), in cooperation with the Finnish Zero Accidents Forum, and co-sponsored by the Vision Zero Fund, a G-7 initiative administered by the International Labour Organization. FIOH is a partner of the Vision Zero global campaign launched by the International Social Security Association (ISSA), who are also supporting the summit.

The conference will discuss Vision Zero thinking, what this should be in today’s changing world, and how it fits in with new industries and their ways of working, such as platform-based work. The conference will be the place to hear, represent, and share best practices and lessons learned.

The themes of the summit include:

  • Rethinking Vision Zero
  • Supporting human performance
  • Innovating Safety
  • Organizational learning
  • Collaborative networks
  • Future of work

6) Prevention in the Connected Age, XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work – October 4-7, 2020, Toronto, Canada

The XXII World Congress on Safety and Health at Work is a global forum for advancing worker health protection. In 1955, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA) organized and held the first World Congress in Rome, Italy. It was the first time that prevention experts and decision-makers from around the world met at a major international congress. The World Congress continues to be the world’s largest event for the international occupational health and safety community – attracting more than 3,500 delegates from more than 150 countries. Since its inception, the World Congress opens its doors to the world every three years, each time hosted by a different country.

The 2020 World Congress will attract the global workplace prevention community, including government officials and decision makers in the public and private sectors, labor leaders and CEOs, and occupational safety & health professionals from all levels. Each will contribute to the main topics for the congress:

  • Innovations in addressing longstanding safety and health challenges
  • Implications of the changing world of work for occupational safety and health
  • Advancing a culture of prevention

New opportunities for progress in OH&S

All of the upcoming events are aiming to achieve progress in occupational health and safety, set through the main themes and topics, creating an environment for opportunities and new challenges for all OH&S professionals by presenting new ideas, trends, innovations, exchanging of best practices and experiences, networking opportunities, business contacts and acquisition of new friendships.

If you want to learn more about the options for ISO 45001 implementation, download this free white paper: Implementing ISO 45001 with a consultant vs. DIY approach.

Advisera Kristina Bombas Georgievska
Kristina Bombas Georgievska
Kristina Bombas Georgievska is a Manager of Laboratory and Quality Manager working in the civil engineering industry. She has spent the last 15 years working on the implementation and auditing of international standards for quality management, environmental management, and health and safety management, as well as requirements for competence in testing laboratories and certification bodies for products and services. She holds a degree in Economics in Regional and Local Business Development and has more than two decades of professional experience in business administration and management, business and strategic planning, project management, and standards.