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Today at 10 am Dr Rob Vertessy and Vicki Middleton from the Bureau of Meteorology share their insights and experiences supporting the health and safety of their workforce, which spreads from one end of the globe to the other.

With staff in over fifty locations across Australia and overseas, the Bureau installs, builds, calibrates and maintains a range of scientific equipment to deliver forecasts, warnings, weather monitoring, and meteorological research services.

Ms Middleton and Dr Vertessy explain that good safety outcomes arise not from enforcing compliance or being risk-averse, but through detailed planning, by having a highly engaged and dedicated work health and safety team, and by developing a deep practical understanding of the environments in which teams work.

Ms Middleton said that a safe work culture empowers staff and contractors to stop work if safety is compromised.

“It’s really important that people are empowered to make the right decision that reinforces good workplace health and safety practice, rather than just doing what might be easiest on the day,” she said.

The Bureau’s Director Dr Rob Vertessy agrees. “Getting the senior leadership approaching work health and safety not from a compliance standpoint, but from an authentic posture of care for our people—that’s very important,” he explains.

The Bureau’s approach to work health and safety blends good work design with local and international supply chains; the intricacies of local geography, environment and culture; and the practical aspects of construction, transport, installation, and ongoing plant maintenance.

Broadcast from the Safe Work Australia website this presentation forms part of our Virtual Seminar Series, an initiative of National Safe Work Month.

About the presenters

Dr Rob Vertessy is Chief Executive Officer of the Bureau of Meteorology. Prior to that, he was a researcher and academic in the CSIRO specialising in catchment hydrology. Rob is also Australia’s permanent representative to the World Meteorological Organization and in 2013 he was elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

Vicki Middleton oversees the Bureau's corporate division and is responsible for functions including workers’ health and safety. Vicki is a highly experienced senior public servant with extensive government and private sector management experience.

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