Interview – David Ninnes, Head of the Office of the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR), Westpac

Westpac Ninnes DavidDavid Ninnes is the Head of the Office of the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) at Westpac.  Prior to this, David has had a varied career in safety and risk management.  This experience has helped to equip David to define Westpac’s strategy and plans to reinforce accountability and responsibility in an industry environment described as experiencing a trust gap.

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

Relevance of safety to the commercial interests of their respective organisations and the value proposition of safety.

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

Strategies span from complex to tactical.  The challenge is to have a strategy that is enduring yet provides the nimbleness to respond to organisational demands and drivers of change.  Strategies need to clearly define the value that stakeholders derive beyond moral interests and compliance.

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

I anticipate a continuing evolution of psychological demand.  In addition, the blurring of the lines between personal and work related psychological demand will be quite compelling in organisations articulating their employee value proposition.  Another is the changing nature of the workforce with the emergence of the gig-economy meaning that contingent labour and the traditional paradigm of employer and worker changes.

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

3 pieces of advice that resonated: “respond, don’t react” John Ludlow, SVP Risk Management; and “does the room light up when you walk into it or when you walk out (leadership shadow)” Keith Barr, CEO; and “who will you be when you walk in the door at home? The best version of yourself.” Gail Kelly, CEO.

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

Leaders start or reignite their enthusiasm for personal development and to apply the skills they have developed as a safety professional to broader domains and in doing so, advance the reputation of the safety professional.