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ecoPortal Smarter Safety Virtual Summit

Safety Lessons from the Frontlines with Foodstuffs, Countdown and Briscoes


Michelle Cooper
Head of Safety & Wellbeing
Foodstuffs North Island



Ben Sheidow
Head of Health, Safety & Wellbeing
Woolworths NZ



Aston Moss
General Manager HR
Briscoe Group




Dr. Manuel Seidel




  • Michelle Cooper: What does being safe mean during the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons from the frontline.
  • Ben Sheidow: Developing crisis response plans and controls, while iteratively adapting them based on the frontline feedback.
  • Aston Moss: Cool, calm and connected: the role of effective communication in crisis management. 
  • Dr. Manuel Seidel: Using technology to support effective COVID-19 risk management in business.

Panel Discussion:

By attending this virtual summit, you'll learn;

  • What challenges they faced and how they responded to
    COVID-19 as an essential service business during lockdown. 
  • How they adapted their systems and processes to respond to an evolving environment from a safety as well as HR perspective.
  • Key insights for other businesses on how to prepare for the resumption of business operations while keeping people safe. 
  • The why, what, how, who and when of stakeholder management and the critical role of proactive communication. 
  • How does the current crisis change the role of a safety manager? What do they need to know to prepare for the future?
  • Opportunity to ask questions in a live Q&A.

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Michelle Cooper

Head of Safety & Wellbeing, Foodstuffs North Island

Starting work as a registered nurse, Michelle has moved on over her career into injury management and subsequently to become a respected health and safety manager. Now with 15 years of national and international experience, Michelle prefers to engage and lead businesses by developing effective safety management systems and a positive, pragmatic approach to safety.

Michelle has worked in various capacities for a number of New Zealand’s most respected employers such as Southern Cross, Lion Nathan and Fletcher Building. She has also spent time in Papua New Guinea and Turkey working in mining process plant construction safety.

Michelle’s current role with Foodstuffs North Island is both strategic and operational, she manages a team of eight safety professionals across 7 distribution sites and approximately 400 supermarkets across the cooperative. 

Having worked within the Accredited Employer Program in various roles since its first iteration in the early 1990s, Michelle is well-positioned to lead NZAAE through pending changes with ACC and the current Accredited Employer Program.  Michelle’s intention is to provide a meaningful voice for Accredited Employers to positively collaborate with ACC and secure some beneficial change for workers and employers alike.

ATM 20160517 APP

Aston Moss

General Manager - Human Resources, Briscoe Group

Aston began his career in retail with Woolworths (NZ) Limited and has worked for a number of retail and non-retail organisations, in both the public and private sectors. He completed his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees at The University of Auckland, complemented by 16 years with Woolworths. While with Woolworths, Aston worked across a range of roles including retail operations, buying and HR - all while concurrently completing a Diploma in Business & Administration through Massey University.

Since that time Aston has added to his portfolio of skills and experience working for organisations including SkyCity, Woolworths Limited (Australia), Progressive Enterprises, Manukau Institute of Technology, NZ Post and Fonterra in a variety of operational and HR roles. He has governance experience gained through associations with the Retail Industry Training Organisation and Waitakere Adult Literacy Incorporated. He received a Certificate in Company Direction from the NZ Institute of Directors in 2009, certified as a PRINCE2 Practitioner in 2013. As part of his community involvement, Aston serves as a Justice of the Peace.

Aston joined Briscoe Group as General Manager Human Resources in October 2015 with responsibility for human resources including health and safety.

Ben Sheidow

Ben Sheidow

Head of Health, Safety & Wellbeing, Woolworths NZ

As the Head of Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Woolworths NZ (parent company of Countdown), Ben Sheidow has significant experience across a wide range of industries and large multi-national organisations. Ben’s earlier experiences saw him working in various health and safety roles throughout Sydney, though he completed his Masters in Occupational Health and Safety slightly further South, at the University of Wollongong.

Before Woolworths Ben led the team that provided health, safety, wellbeing and medical services for the Commonwealth Bank Group, across multiple countries and to over 52,000 employees. This includes the development and delivery of multi-year strategies and continued improvement of health, safety and wellbeing performance.


Dr. Manuel Seidel

CEO, ecoPortal

Manuel is passionate about transforming traditional 'box tick' health & safety, sustainability and risk management systems into modern engagement platforms that add maximum value for their organisations. He has a PhD in engineering where he developed a framework to help organisations effectively implement and improve sustainability and risk management strategy.

Manuel is a founder and CEO of ecoPortal which has become the leading safety, risk and sustainability management software company in Australasia. ecoPortal's intuitive reporting, management and analytics technology have been developed to help organisations improve performance, engage people, reduce risk and stay compliant.