Interview with Dr. Robert Emery from the University of Texas Health Science Center

Dr. Robert Emery is Vice President for Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Professor of Occupational Health at the University of Texas School of Public Health. He has over 37 years of experience in health & safety and holds master’s degrees in both health physics and environmental sciences, and a doctorate in occupational health.

The OHS Leaders team took some time out earlier this week to put forward some questions for Dr. Robert Emery to answer around the current state of the Health and Safety Environment across the United States.

Dr. Robert Emery will be presenting at this year’s OHS Leaders Summit USA in Carlsbad, California on 17 – 18th October 2018.

If you would like to find out more on how you could be part of this summit please click on the register your interest tab above.


 What do you feel are the biggest challenges safety leaders are currently faced with within their business?  

Quantifying the value of prevention has always been a challenge for safety leaders. In the safety profession, it is a good day when “nothing happens”, but we have to do a better job at collectively demonstrating and articulating the amount of resources that are needed to make “nothing happen”.


2) As a safety leader, what do you feel businesses continue to get wrong when it comes to their Health and Safety strategy?

Since the workers are truly an organizations’ most valuable resource, it is important for companies to overtly express that value and exhibit genuine concern for their health and well being. The tone has to be set from the top that the organization genuinely cares about you.


3) What are the latest trends and behaviours you predict will be surfacing on the market over the coming 12 months?

I am very interested in the interface between safety and security. I am told that only in the English language are there two separate words describing loss control – but in English the difference between safety and security is intent. I believe there are opportunities for safety and security to work more closely together to collectively reduce losses of all types.


4) What is the best piece of advice you have received within your job over the years?

A wise former boss once told me: I told get paid to listen to people complain – if you have a problem, describe it to me and list the options for resolution, and always put your preferred option as number one – and you’ll likely get your way. That has proven to be sage advice for me over the years.


5) What is one key takeaway you hope our OHS audience leaves with after hearing your presentation on site?

Improving the interface between safety and security and to identify areas of synergy (See #3 above).


The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), primarily a graduate education university, educates the largest number of health care professionals in Texas. Created in 1972 by the UT System Board of Regents, UTHealth is located in the Texas Medical Center. UTHealth includes the schools of dentistry, biomedical informatics, medicine, nursing and public health, and the graduate school of biomedical sciences. UTHealth is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award certificate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees. Three UTHealth faculty practices treat patients in a variety of Houston-area clinics: UT Physicians, UT Dentists and UT Health Services.

OHS Leaders Summit team releases the first round of speakers for upcoming OHS LEADERS SUMMIT, USA, 17th – 18th October 2018

The OHS Leaders team are proud to announce the first round of speakers taking part in the upcoming OHS Leaders Summit USA.

“The upcoming OHS Leaders Summit is shaping up to be the countries number 1 safety event for the most senior safety leaders to participate in over two days in October later this year. I’m very excited to announce the first round of speakers taking part in this upcoming event for the North American safety industry. Having ran similar safety platforms in other countries around the globe for the past 7 years, the team and I are very excited to now bring this amazing platform to the local safety community,” said Tyron McGurgan, CEO, Media Corp International

We will continue to provide updates on speakers in the coming months, however, some of the speakers now confirmed for participation at this year’s event include:

David Loyd, Chief Safety Officer, NASA
Mike Lutomski – Chief Safety Officer, Space X
Bill Hilton, Head of Global Safety Services, Walt Disney World
Professor Patrick Hudson, Delft University and lead investigator in the BP Deep Water Horizon Catastrophe
Eric Knight, Global Sustainability and head of Safety, Health and Environment, AstraZeneca
Elizabeth Lay, Former Director Human Performance, Calpine
Robert Emery, Vice President for Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management, The University of Texas Health
Tiffany Felix, Vice President Global Corporate Services & Enterprise Risk, Oakwood Worldwide

Some of the topics being discussed via keynote presentations, roundtable sessions, workshops and panels at this year’s event include:

  • “Managing risks for the performers.” How is messaging delivered to the employees who are actively taking risks.
  • A look at “Possibility space” as a way of relating risk. A view on Safety II.
  • The evolving role of the safety professional and the interdepartmental collaboration with Environment, Sustainability and HR. Also the coaching and mentoring aspect of the role.
  • Using resilience engineering as opposed to traditional root cause analysis from a case study of an astronaut nearly drowning during a spacewalk.
  • Health and Safety’s role in mitigating insider threats.
  • A look at the role of being socially responsible for your workers as a safety leader rather than just being compliant with the basic standards.

About the OHS Leaders Summit:
The OHS Leaders Summit is invitation only and intended for North America’s most senior WHS Leaders to gather for a strategic two-day event in order to discuss the challenges currently facing the industry along with learning about new developments, legislation changes and new technologies and services from leading through strategic pre-arranged business meetings.

About Media Corp International:
Media Corp International organises business-to-business events across a range of industries throughout the globe. MCI brings senior decision makers together with suppliers and organises a series of roundtable discussions, face to face business meetings and keynote speaker sessions. These events give senior leaders across a range of major industries the opportunity to learn about the latest technology and service offerings along with understanding and exchanging ideas with their peers on relevant industry topics through targeted networking sessions.

Mental Health Strategy: a case study, with Emma Blee from Australia Post

My guest Emma Blee spends her working hours at Australia Post, Australia’s national postal service. In her role as Head of Enterprise Safety, Emma is the architect of her organisation’s mental health strategy, which she will be speaking about at the 2018 OHS Leaders Summit which is being held on the 7th and 8th March in the Gold Coast. The OHS Leaders Summit is the place for senior OHS leaders to get a unique combination of standout speakers, industry thought leaders, networking and personalised meetings with the leading suppliers of OHS products and services, meaning you can leverage the best of what’s out there to help your OHS program succeed. Visit to find out more and get your seat – spots are limited.

Let get started, here’s Emma:

You have told me loud and clear that learning more about mental health is something that you want, and need to become a more effective OHS professional. So I hope that this episode continues to support you to grow and improve. A few other episodes focussed on mental health and psychology that you might enjoy are Ep53, Getting started on your mental health program with Jay Spence, Ep37 on psychological safety with Tim Austin, Ep39 on psychosocial risk being the elephant in the room and ep 40 with Cat Mattice, honing in on the issue and the opportunity surrounding bullying. Check out all those episodes and more at You can also sign up for our free interview notes – I give you my handwritten notes from each chat, along with a reflection worksheet to help you boost what you learn and take action from in each episode. All of that is at

My three takeaways from that chat with Emma Blee:

  1. Have a strategy! It doesn’t matter whether you are massive like Aus Post or a small business, strategy is simple another word for ‘I know what I want to achieve and how I’m going to get it’.  Emma said before their strategy they had an Employee Assistance Program, and did some training – but who knows how they will help if there isn’t a clear intent, a clear strategy?I know of no better place to get guidance on your strategy than, which will step you through the process.
  2. It takes time, don’t be impatient.  It was 4 years in the making, just for Aus Post to really get started.  We will successfully overwhelm ourselves and the leaders we are trying to serve if we try and do too much, too fast.  Your strategy must be realistic, so focus on the things that will give you the most benefit early, and leave it at that for the first year! If things go remarkably well, you can always revise and expand your strategy.  The opposite, being overly ambitious and falling short, doesn’t feel good or look good to anyone.
  3. Remember the humans.  Emma shared the human side of their efforts with the feedback received from real people, having real conversations, because of the efforts of the strategy she is leading.  Emma’s four strategy pillars of measurement, policies & procedures, education & training, and support processes all sound very logical and corporate – because that’s the environment she works in.  But it doesn’t forget the humans, and I hope you don’t either in your new mental health strategy.

Until next time, what’s the one thing you’ll do to take positive, effective or rewarding action, to grow yourself, and drastically improve health and safety along the way.  Seeya!


2017 OHS Leaders Summit Australia delivers happiness to Bear Cottage with donations over $12,800 raised during charity auction

21st March 2017 – The 6th annual OHS Leaders Summit Australia (Gold Coast) on the Gold Coast delivered joy in the way of $12,800 in donations raised during a lively and exciting charity auction. Held during the Networking Dinner on Wednesday 15 March, the auction was packed with fantastic prizes and delighted guests with all funds going to such a great cause – Bear Cottage.

Bear Cottage is the only children’s hospice in NSW, one of only two in Australia, and the only one in the world affiliated with a children’s hospital. It is a very special place that’s dedicated to caring for children with life-limiting conditions and their families. Located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, in Manly, Bear Cottage is like a home away from home – as far removed from a hospital environment as possible. Bear Cottage is set up to provide excellence in paediatric medical care 24 hours a day, and their affiliation to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead means they have access to some of the best medical resources in the world.

Media Corp International who hosts the OHS Leaders Summit Australia (Gold Coast) worked to bring together the prizes to be auctioned off at the Networking Dinner with over 180 top OHS leaders from around Australia supporting this initiative and digging deep to contribute to the total amount raised, “We would like to thank the 180+ OHS Leaders who attended the Networking Dinner at the 2017 OHS Leaders Summit Australia (Gold Coast) and we are really thrilled to be able to give back to the community and to support such a worthy cause such as Bear Cottage. This charity is close to our hearts and one that we feel so strongly about so to be able to support them means a lot – I know the $12,800 raised will be so well utilised,” said Media Corp International CEO, Tyron McGurgan.

To support Bear Cottage and donate please click here. For more information about the OHS Leaders Summit Australia (Gold Coast) please visit


Mark your diary for the 2018 OHS Leaders Summit Australia

Wednesday 7 & Thursday 8 March 2018, Gold Coast



Platinum & Gold Sponsors




OHS Leaders Summit Australia (Gold Coast) is powered by Media Corp International.


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