Opening Keynote – The Curious World of Safety

John Green, Senior Vice President EHS – AECON


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Safety has traditionally been about the elimination of negative outcomes (incidents, injuries, errors, malfunctions). While this approach has led to significant improvements it has also produced several problematic side effects: disengagement and disempowerment of people, increasing bureaucracy, loss of innovation and productivity. Furthermore, many organisations now struggle with plateauing safety records. Some industries even experience increasing injury and fatality rates despite unprecedented investments in safety.

Over the last 5 years, a growing number of organisations and thought-leaders have developed a set of ideas and practices that help organisations to overcome the current impasse.
This session explored the required changes to what safety leaders do and how it’s done as HS practitioners as well as the shifts in skills and competencies that are needed to make this paradigm change happen.


John has worked in the oil, gas, petrochemical, electronics, heavy engineering, construction and aviation sectors and has 40 years’ experience of industrial safety. He is recognised and respected as someone who does safety differently and as major force for change in how industrial safety is delivered.

He has spent periods living and working overseas with in the Dubai, Iran, Europe, Hong Kong, New Zealand, parts of the USA and has recently returned from a 5-year spell in Australia covering major construction operations in the southern hemisphere. He know lives in Canada.

He has held senior positions with Motorola, British Airways and Board level positions with McAlpine, Laing O’Rourke, Battersea Power Station Development Company and now AECON. He is currently the SVP and CSO for Aecon.

John holds qualifications in Occupational Health and Safety, Environmental Mgmt, Risk Mgmt, Change Mgmt, Psychology, Law and Philosophy and is currently studying towards a LLM. He is an advocate of doing safety differently and challenging traditional or orthodox thinking.

He spends any spare time that he has climbing in Europe and scuba diving across the world or any other pastime that requires exceptional risk management skills.

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