Noshcon now three times better!
For the first time, Noshcon was hosted as three, one-day events in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. This was part of Noshcon’s restructuring that has delegates excited
The annual occupational risk management conference hosted by Nosa – a health, safety and environmental risk management service provider – was a little different this year. In the past, Noshcon was a three-day event held in one province, most recently in the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal.
Health and safety officers and managers travel from across South Africa to attend the conference, which has been around since the early 1960s. It is one of the oldest of its kind in the world.
“This year, Nosa embarked on restructuring the profile of Noshcon. As Africa’s flagship occupational health and safety conference, we realised the time was ripe to retool the platform in our efforts to continue to innovate within the training expo space,” said Nosa CEO Duncan Carlisle.
“Our endeavours yielded highly successful regional, one-day programmes in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, with key industry players attending several presentations and breakaway sessions presented by a range of expert speakers,” he added.
The Johannesburg conference had the most delegates, with around 250 health and safety specialists in attendance. Carlisle noted that this is an indication of the demand from Nosa clients to bring Noshcon closer to where they live and work.
“To have Noshcon as a one-day event, and to integrate it with the Nosa Regional Awards event, has worked well. Hopefully, it will continue to grow in the years to come,” Carlisle added.
Many delegates emphasised Carlisle’s point by noting the convenience of having the event in three major cities. Siphindile Khumalo, a SHEQ coordinator at Magalies Water, said: “The conference in the Drakensberg was much bigger, but it was good to split the event as our company can’t afford to send us away for two or three days.”
The one-day structure made it possible for her to attend. However, she still feels the conference should be held over at least two days. Regional health and safety manager at Nokia, Kobus de Beer, echoed Khumalo’s sentiment.
“Breaking the conference down into three events is an improvement. Many managers don’t want their officers to be away for so many days. This way it is easier to attend and it takes away the excessive travelling,” he stated.
As the event was split among three cities, each conference was much smaller, although just as informative. The Johannesburg conference consisted of four breakaway sessions with three speakers in each session. Delegates had the opportunity to pick sessions related to their industry.
“The presentations at this year’s Noshcon were relevant, especially the updates on the standards,” noted Khutso Rankapole, Khumalo’s co-worker and fellow SHEQ coordinator. She referred to the presentation by NQA Africa chairman, Michael Timberlake, on the migration from OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001, which is expected in 2018. Timberlake was one of 14 speakers who presented at the conference.
Other speakers included managing director of Expectra, Lebeaux Mulder, who discussed organisational behaviour modification, and executive head of business development at Isometrix, Steven Simmonds, who discussed achieving excellence through integrated management systems in the first breakaway session.
The first session also included learning-solutions consultant Armand Nel, from The Training Room Online, who discussed the shift to digital learning.
The second session featured Timberlake, the head of department at Assmang, Khumani Mine, as well as Andre Johnson and Mark Andersen from the research and development division at Nosa.
SHEQ manager at Hensoldt Optronics, Werner Schierschmidt, discussed the increased knowledge of human factors in safety management systems in the third session, while Jonathan Leeming, author and conservationist, discussed the road to sustainability and Johan du Toit, director at Height Safety, presented on updates and guidelines for working at a height.
The fourth session featured Tshinanne Mutshatshi and Geoffrey Small from Eskom, who discussed environment and social management in the construction environment, and managing director at Aspirata, Venisha Bachulal, who discussed food safety and certification.
The keynote sessions were shared by Mdu Mathenjwa, from Grashyo Health and Safety, who shared his own workplace accident that led to the full reconstruction of his face, and Saiosh CEO, Neels Nortjé, who discussed professional registration for health and safety practitioners.
“I’ve been to every Noshcon,” Nortjé noted. “The format change is exciting and a breath of fresh air. It allows more delegates to benefit. It is an honour and privilege for Saoish to be part of all three events this year. Having the event in all three capitals is exciting.”
Even speakers who attended Noshcon for the first time were excited about what the conference offered. Bachulal said: “It is my first Noshcon and I find it very informative. Having the event in all three cities is brilliant as it gives delegates a better insight into the clients in each region.”
It seems Noshcon will continue to grow with its new format. De Beer commented: “As always, the event is very informative and well-represented. The speakers are also knowledgeable. The topics are relevant and the organisers are very hospitable. I look forward to coming back next year and bringing along my managers.”
Each conference, was also used as a platform to host the Nosa Regional Awards ceremony.
Carlisle noted: “The awards give recognition to companies and individuals that have gone the extra mile to advance their health and safety programmes and ensure compliance to health and safety best practices. Part of Nosa’s success is our awards and recognition; the liberty to compare companies; to compare sites; and the ability to recognise individuals.”
“It is often a difficult task to be in the occupational health and safety industry, certainly in a tough economy when budgets are being cut. For companies and individuals to maintain their health and safety programmes is extremely commendable,” he added.
Winners of the regional awards stand a chance to also win at the Noscars international banquet for Nosa clients, which will be held in Johannesburg on October 13.