The SHE Show South in Milton Keynes this year turned out to be one of our most successful events so far, with a blockbuster networking reception and a thought-provoking conference exploring organisational culture change, mental health in the workplace and the importance of passion, integrity and empowerment in our lives.

Our networking dinner reception (Sponsored by Washingtondowling Associates) was a very special occasion. Not only did we have Craig Heap, Commonwealth Games gold medal winning gymnast, as our After Dinner Speaker (Networking Evening Dinner Sponsored by Honeywell Safety Products) inspiring us all to greater things, but also Stephen James a very talented magician! (Sponsored by The Safety Knife Company) It was an early opportunity for delegates to meet each other and a fantastic time was had by all.

Conference theme: culture change: It’s all about ticking the right boxes… not box ticking

Delegates had an unexpected jolt at the start of proceedings provided by Alice Boyd of Just Drama Based Training Ltd. When Alice gave us a verbal list of 20 items to remember in the correct order, no one thought it would be possible to do. Alice showed us a super technique to make it possible – and it worked. A very effective ice-breaker, Alice!

Safety as a value… not a priority

Martin Carter’s presentation focused on dispelling some of the myths surrounding safety, health and environment and challenged us to think differently about safety culture. Using the analogy of slaying mythological dragons, Martin encouraged delegates to separate facts from fiction. Here’s a sobering thought: “There may be over a thousand things you need to do to develop a safety culture in an organisation”. Instead of slogans such as “zero harm” and “safety first”, compliance through real leadership, engagement and mindfulness produces the best results.

Alice Boyd and the team from Just Drama Based Training (Dan, Matt and Gary) gave us a live dramatisation of the build-up to an incident occurring on a site. Apart from the accomplished acting on show, this live session gave delegates the ability to input into the unfolding story and the decisions being made by workers and managers in a risky situation. It showed us how we perceive risk and how we can impact risk through our words and actions. Depending on the choices we make, and how we perceive risk, we can change outcomes and prevent an incident occurring.

Mental wellbeing… taboo or to do

Dawn Hemmings, EHS Lead EMEA at A SCHULMAN, did a fantastic job of topping and tailing the event and introducing each speaker. Thanks, Dawn! Not only that, Dawn is an EHS expert and took us through what has changed over the last 20 years regarding stress awareness in the workplace.

Dawn pointed out that the society we work in now is more pressurised and demanding than ever before. Stress is just one mental illness that workers may suffer from, and it could be the precursor to more serious illnesses. Implementing a mental wellbeing policy, as well as good quality training for managers and employees, shows workers that their employer cares about their wellbeing.

Next up was John Durkin of Social Support Services. John outlined the strength of an experience-led approach to dealing with post-traumatic stress compared to a top-down approach based on authority and psychiatry. He presented powerful evidence that a bottom-up approach using the experience of peers, and focusing on peer-support, produces superior outcomes when compared to clinical approaches that focus on symptom reduction.

Back to basics… open, honest and safe

Chris Hines MBE of A grain of Sand reminded us of the obligation we all have to making a difference in our working and personal lives. Summarised neatly in his first point to delegates, Chris encapsulated our obligation: “The deal is that we get to live on this amazing planet so we make our lives count and give something back.” Chris’ passion for the environment came through loud and clear as he outlined the challenges that lie ahead for humans and the environment. As a species we have the knowledge and the ability to live in harmony with each other and the planet. Make it happen, people!

James Pomeroy, Group HSES Director at Lloyd’s Register, discussed the importance of keeping things simple and focused on the real risks in order to fully engage workers in safety and health. While simplification improves safety, it is essential to focus on the key risks in an organisation. An important aspect of the strategy at LR is making training simple, engaging and accessible, sharing and storytelling to make safety personal. New technology can also be utilised effectively – mobile technology can be especially useful. This fits well with James’ point that “The best person to assess the risk is the individual facing it.”

Mark Scoggins, Solicitor Advocate, entertained us as usual with his ascorbic wit (and some charm too!). Mark contrasted the outcomes of appeal hearings in England and Scotland and the implications for future appeals against enforcement notices using a case involving Chevron as an example. It’s always interesting to hear a lawyer’s view on SHE cases, especially when it is delivered in an engaging and entertaining way.

Throughout the day, delegates had regular opportunities to visit our exhibition. Our exhibitors gave delegates an exhibition to remember, sharing their knowledge and experience and explaining how their world class products and services solve problems for customers. We had a wide range of market-leading organisations represented at the event, from manufacturers of safety equipment to lone worker safety service providers and SHEQ recruitment specialists. Of course, our sponsors and partners were well represented too.

A word about our valued sponsors and partners

Our event was supported by a fantastic group of sponsors and partners. They added an amazing array of knowledge and experience to the whole show and were available to delegates throughout the event.

Headline Sponsors

Honeywell Safety Products helps organisations build enduring safety cultures across a wide range of markets. The company is a leading manufacturer of premium protective eye and face products that set the standard for comfortable, high quality protection at work.

Kier Group plc is a leading property, residential, construction and services group that invests in, builds, maintains and renews the places where we work, live and play. We operate across a range of sectors including defence, education, health, housing, industrials, power, transport and utilities. Listed on the London Stock Exchange, we are a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

Networking Evening Dinner Sponsors

Honeywell Safety Products helps organisations build enduring safety cultures across a wide range of markets. The company is a leading manufacturer of premium protective eye and face products that set the standard for comfortable, high quality protection at work.

Networking Evening Table Entertainment Sponsors

The Safety Knife Company Founded in 1993, The Safety Knife Company have been bringing you the latest Safety and Utility Knife innovations for over 20 years, significantly reducing the risk of injuries in the workplace.

Networking Evening Drinks Reception Sponsors

Washingtondowling Associates Ltd experts in the organisation of specialist events. With over 20 years experience in conference design and management, our events result in a high profile for Clients, associated Sponsors and Partners.

Event Partners

Shirley Parsons Ltd is a professional talent practice specialising in the health, safety, environmental, and quality professions. It is the only specialist agency headed by a chartered safety professional (Shirley Parsons has CMIOSH accreditation).

IEMA is a worldwide alliance of environment and sustainability professionals. IEMA is an independent network of more than 14,000 people in over 100 countries, working together to make our businesses and organisations future-proof.

Anker & Marsh can help you design, refine and integrate a risk driven safety, wellbeing and mental health. Assessment tools available include culture, safety culture and behavioural bench-marking. Training courses include safety leadership, behavioural safety and individual resilience training.

PPE is the specialist in social media support for firms in the safety, health, environment and allied industries. The company is a media partner of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work and is a member of the British Safety Industry Federation.

Thank you to all of our valued sponsors and partners for helping make The SHE Show South a success.

Next up – The SHE Show North West, 18th September 2018, Hilton Hotel Blackpool

The Washingtondowling team, our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and partners look forward to welcoming you to our next show in Blackpool in September. Keep in touch with developments leading up to the event on Twitter using hashtag #SHEshowNW and on our LinkedIn page. We hope very much to see you there!