THE AUSTRALIAN HEALTH & SAFETY BUSINESS PODCAST | INTRODUCTION

by Brendan Torazzi

Sep 20, 2018

Hey everyone. Welcome to the first episode of the Health and Safety Business Podcast. My name is Brendan Torazzi and I am your host. Just a little bit of an intro as to why this podcast has started. Basically I’m a lover of podcasts. I’ve been listening to lots and lots of stuff more or less on a daily basis marketing podcasts, business podcasts, stuff on music, songs, a whole range of different topics. I had a bit of a look around and I saw that there was actually nothing in Australia on health and safety and I thought wouldn’t that be interesting to start my own podcast so that is exactly what I have done. Basically the aim of this podcast is to meet as many people as possible from different walks of life, different states around the country and just hear the stories, the personalities and the businesses that are really driving health and safety in Australia. By doing so I really believe that they’ll be a benefit to those that listen to it. We can potentially get more stories out there, learn some things that went well, things that didn’t go so well and just basically share information and stories so that we can all benefit.

A little bit about my story. People ask me often how did I get into the health and safety world. Was I trained? Was that my background? I really like to say to people that I entered out of naivety because I certainly didn’t plan to get involved. It’s just one of those things where life has taken me down this track. A little bit about if I wind right back when I was a teenager. I used to promote bands. I used to promote bands, I used to play in bands. Then in my early twenties after I finished uni I decided that I was pretty much unemployable. I have come from a family that have always been in business for themselves both on my mother and my father's side. For me the most natural thing in the world was to start my own business. When I finished university I came up with this idea to make some Japanese signs. I lived in Sydney but I would make Japanese signs for tourist tours in the rocks. That sort of developed over the years. I was doing it for probably about a dozen years. I started off with the Japanese signs and then I started doing Chinese stuff and Korean. Before you knew it I was translating documents and videos and all sorts of different things in all different languages.

When I was in my early thirties I sold that business and I went on again, I would say naively sold that business because I thought I should be all right. I’ll be able to just set up something when I come back. It won’t be a problem. I was about 31. My wife and I had just got married. We thought let's pack everything and go up and go travelling. That is what we did. We went travelling for two and a half years. It was a fantastic time in life, no kids, just the two of us. Newly married and we travelled around Australia. We went through Sri Lanka and Indonesia and then probably for the most part we spent 12 months in South America, six months in Brazil and then another six months travelling around all the other Spanish speaking countries. After that we went off to India and then pretty much came home with not much money left but fortunately through the first business had managed to pay off an apartment in Potts Point. Basically that was our little nest egg but we're basically starting again.

Basically from there we started making women's dresses and selling them at the market, Paddington Markets and Bondi Markets. We did that for a few years, went travelling but I was really looking for something new to get in into. In early 2005 we spotted this opportunity, these guys in the Empire State Building selling sleep. We thought wow, this cool looking, futuristic looking sleep pods. What we did we jumped on a plane and went over there. We negotiated the rights to getting these sleep pods over to Australia and in 2006 they arrived. We were so naive. We thought it would be so easy to sell these sleep pods and rent these sleep pods because of the amount of PR we were able to generate. We had so much PR. That wasn’t the problem. We were in Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, The Age are running stories, so as radio interviews. There was a whole heap of TV but companies themselves there was a only a few early adopters that were willing to take these pods up and put them in the workplace to let their staff sleep.

Of course we know the benefits of napping, having a short power nap up to 20 minutes. It can really improve your productivity in the afternoon but it was big leap for a lot of companies to allow their staff to condone that sort of thing. Through that process we met heaps and heaps of people in the sleep industry in Australia. One of those people Dr. Drew Dawson, he tipped us on to this idea that there was some fatigue management legislation coming through for the road transport industry. This was 2008 by that stage.

What we did is we partnered up with an RTO. We built an online course and we launched it. Pretty much, I reckon probably within about three months we had 20% of the market share for this new course which is very exciting times. That sort of started me on the track to building my own RTO. We partnered with an RTO for about three years under an auspice arrangement and then in 2011 we opened our own RTO, got approved. It was really fortuitous timing because shortly after that the WHS Act came into place and we rode this giant wave of training requirements in the WHS space. We kind of went from there was dangerous goods training. There was food safety legislation that came through in 2011. Then it went on to asbestos removal. There was a lot of work on the NBN and it just seemed like it was one thing after the next, after the next. Comcare training HSR was another big one that we did a lot of work for.

That kept going right up until probably the end of 2015. Super busy, the company was growing and all of that. Then we naively again went into the government funded training space which for those of you that don’t know is where the government subsidizes training on behalf of participants in certain areas. We really weren’t equipped for this change. Over the next sort of 20 months I think it lasted for we had like six or seven government audits. It pretty much almost killed me. I was totally burnt out and ready to sort of quit health and safety but I didn’t.

I kept going and I made a lot of personal changes. Luckily enough during that period where we had been really busy I got involved with some other businesses. For example I own a wedding venue now which is a complete opposite of health and safety but it's something else that I do which I spent my time on. I sort of diversified my interests a little bit but now that wedding venue is running incredibly well, very smoothly. I kind of got all my energy back and I needed a new project. I thought you know what? I’m going to give back to the industry and start a podcast.

I think it would have been five years ago I bought this OHS.com.au, the domain name. It’s a very expensive purchased. I have never been able to do anything with it. Now I’ve finally come up with this concept where I’m going to run a health and safety marketplace which hasn’t been done in Australia as yet.

That is sort of a little bit about me. As I’ve said I’ve got my energy back now. I’ve got my spark and passion and this podcast is something that I see as a new beginning really. It’s not really new because on a personal level I love to innovate and I love to try new things and be the first at doing stuff. That is where I think for me where the excitement comes, where the passion comes and where you can actually make a difference. I really don’t like following what has already been done. To me that just seems a little bit boring.

That gets us to the end of the first introduction of the Health and Safety Business Podcast. If you've enjoyed listening to the show. I encourage you to subscribe and also leave a comment so that other people can learn about what we're doing. In the upcoming weeks we're going to be starting this journey of interviewing different people from all different industries and walks of life, interesting people that shape the health and safety industry. Hopefully some things that you haven’t thought of that you didn’t realize that health and safety would apply. When you think about it the industry is massive. I was recently doing some research and the services component is about $1.5 billion per annum in Australia. The products side of health and safety is about 1.7. We’re looking at well over $3 billion industry per annum but as a lot of you probably know it's a very fragmented industry. The idea is to try and join the pieces together somehow or even just in a small way to make a difference.

I’m Brendan Torazzi. I’m signing off. Thanks very much for listening in.

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