Speakers announced for Mining Health and Safety Conference

Group of people seated in a room listening to presenter on a stage

In-person event sold out; free video livestream available April 17-18

Workplace Safety North (WSN) has announced the lineup of speakers for the 26th annual Mining Health and Safety Conference, set to take place from April 16 to 18 in Sudbury. The conference, themed “Inclusive mines, a safer future,” emphasizes the importance of diversity and equity in ensuring safer work environments.

More than 300 delegates are expected to convene for this important industry event, which serves as a platform for learning, knowledge sharing, and networking among industry professionals. A wide array of speakers will cover topics ranging from inclusive leadership and multi-generational workplaces to diversity, technology, and how to improve safety culture.

“Mining is a vital and technically demanding industry,” says Mike Parent, acting WSN President and CEO. “WSN has mining health and safety specialists and mine rescue officers located across Ontario to provide mine workers with industry-specific training. Our specialists provide training and services around mine ventilation, ground control, electrical-mechanical safety, rescue and recovery operations, priority hazards, and help companies assess health and safety risks and meet legislative requirements.

“Sudbury and northern Ontario are centres of tremendous mining industry expertise,” notes Parent, “and the conference is all about sharing our expertise to help make all mining operations safer. As Canada’s premiere mining health and safety event, the conference typically sells out each year. Once again WSN will livestream the keynote speakers for those who are not able to attend in person, including mining professionals who work around the globe.

Following an opening reception on Tuesday evening, the conference begins on Wednesday, April 17, with keynote speaker Tina Varughese talking about inclusive leadership. An industry panel will discuss the latest in safety, diversity and technology developments. Over two days, delegates will also be able to visit more than 25 vendors at the Information Exchange Trade Show.

On Thursday, April 18, technical sessions on the latest health and safety research and innovations are held in the morning. Sessions include a special panel on “Women in Mining” as well as a review of the evolution of mining risks over the last ten years. An awards luncheon recognizes achievements in mining health and safety, and keynote speaker Jill Heinerth will wrap up the conference. 

“The event couldn’t happen without the dedicated staff at WSN and the generosity of sponsors like Sofvie, Redpath, and WSIB. There will also be an industry panel discussing the intersection of health and safety, diversity, and technology, and our emcee this year will be Alicia Woods, founder and CEO of Covergalls Workwear,” adds Parent.

For the sixth year running, Workplace Safety North will offer free video livestream of keynote speakers on Wednesday, April 17, and the afternoon of Thursday, April 18.

Keynote speakers

Tina Varughese
Cross-cultural Communication and Diversity Expert
Keynote speech: Inclusive Leadership: From Silos to Safety

For fifteen years Varughese worked with immigrants in her roles with the Province of Alberta’s immigration office. She also ran her own successful relocation and settlement firm. Varughese draws from her experiences as an entrepreneur, mother, daughter, wife, sister, and friend when delivering keynotes on diversity and inclusion — topics that resonate with her both professionally and personally. Varughese has been named one of “Canada’s Top 10 Notable Speakers” by Ignite Magazine. She was the face of diversity, literally, having been chosen to participate in Dove’s campaign for Real Beauty. An Indo-Canadian daughter of first generation parents, her cultural background allows Varughese to find the best of both worlds and shed light, knowledge, and, most importantly, universal humour, into the changing workplace. 

Jeff Butler
Workplace Generation and Technology Expert
Keynote speech: Building an Effective Multi-Generational Workplace

Jeff Butler is an author and workplace strategist who explores human behaviour in the working world. His experience spans over 40 industries in four continents on how different cultures and employees interact with each other. He studies common threads of behaviour in industries such as IT professionals and underground utility workers to police officers and retail workers. He has worked with companies like Google, Amazon, John Deere and Coldwell Banker. As a researcher and practitioner, he also runs consulting and tech companies where he is able to test ideas in different workplace environments. His ideas have made it to TEDx twice, and he has authored two books on human behaviour: The Authentic Workplace and The Key to the New You.

Jill Heinerth
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
Keynote speech: Improving the Culture of Safety in High-Risk Environments

From the most dangerous technical dives deep inside underwater caves, to searching for never-before-seen ecosystems inside giant Antarctic icebergs, Heinerth’s curiosity and passion for exploring is the driving force in her life. She encourages audiences to reach beyond their limitations, challenge the unknown, and overcome their fears, while sharing practical lessons on risk management, discovery learning, failure, and collaboration. From the Sahara to Baffin Bay, Heinerth has been the hands and eyes for climatologists, archaeologists, and engineers worldwide. She led the first dives into underwater caves inside Antarctica’s massive B-15 iceberg and was a lead diver on a ground-breaking Deep Caving Team project, piloting the first accurate 3D cave mapping device using technology that is now bound for space. A bestselling author, Heinerth’s first book Into the Planet, was lauded by the Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, and the New York Times. Her children’s book, The Aquanut, is a Blue Ribbon Selection for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Heinerth is also the subject of a new documentary Diving into the Darkness, to be released in 2024.

Mining is a critical industry that plays a significant role in the economy of Ontario. Each year, the annual Mining Health and Safety Conference, hosted by WSN, helps promote awareness and share the latest news in health and safety for the mining industry. 

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