CPI welcomes hundreds of delegates to its first Health and Safety Conference post-pandemic 

30 June 2022

After a 12 month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CPI’s Biennial Health and Safety Conference was back with a bang welcoming two hundred delegates to the industries’ first face-to-face event in three years. 

Set in the stunning surroundings of the Belfry Hotel the conference, sponsored by Pilz Automation Technology, was a perfect setting for delegates to hear and participate in sessions from leading health and safety experts on topics all related to the current Paper and Board Industry Advisory Committee (PABIAC) strategy.

The day started with the unveiling of a specially commissioned exhibition to mark the 150th Anniversary of the first Papermakers’ Association. The exhibition included a walk through the history of the Paper Industry in the UK, interspersed with some fascinating archive photographs of papermaking techniques from the past through to the present. 

Andrew Large, CPI Director General, officially opened the exhibition and in a fitting tribute to mark the anniversary, presented Frogmore Paper Mill with a £4,500 cheque towards their restoration programme following the fire in January.

Speaking after the opening, Andrew Large said: “I was proud to open an Exhibition to mark the 150th Anniversary of the first Papermakers’ Anniversary. This photography display captures the industry at work today, as well as reflecting on its past. I was pleased to see many delegates visit the exhibition. A commemorative book of the photographs is to be published later in the summer. I am pleased that the photographs are now on show at DS Smith Kemsley and will find their permanent home in Frogmore Mill when its visitor centre is re-built following a devastating fire”.

Following the launch, delegates congregated in the main conference room to listen to this year’s key note address which was superbly delivered by Berry Wiersum, ex CEO Sappi Europe. With over 40 years’ experience working in the industry, and reflecting on his time as a CEO,  Berry eloquently spoke about the importance of leadership, engagement and collaboration, and how if you are serious about protecting people from injury and ill health, visibility and commitment has to come from the very top.

Keeping the momentum going, the next speaker, Samantha Peace from HSE, has a long association of working with the industry, having started off her HSE career working in the sector.  By her own admission, she was delighted to be invited back to speak at the conference. In an ‘off the wall’ but incredibly interesting presentation, Samantha captivated delegates with a history lesson in medieval jousting and how we can learn from past experiences and apply the same thinking (what can go wrong) within your own organisation to protect people from injury and health issues.

This years’ programme focused on assisting the industry in delivering against the PABIAC strategy and in particular the three PABIAC objectives of: Leadership and Engagement, Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Transport. After the break, delegates attended a combination of sessions, covering specific issues within each of the above, and all were delivered by HSE experts, occupation health professionals, machinery specialists, and health and safety practitioners from across the industry.

The day ended with a lively plenary session from John Hotowka on ‘Achievement Thinking’ and his four point strategy to achieve personal resilience. Combining magic, audience participation and humour, John left delegates with this advice ‘Every day celebrate. If you do something right, no matter how small, pause for a minute and acknowledge it’. 

The conference closed with reflections and thanks from CPI President, Stewart Begg. In his closing address, Stewart acknowledged the support and commitment from CPI and the importance of PABIAC to the whole of the UK Paper Industry, and urged everyone to commit to achieving the objectives within the strategy.

Speaking after the conference, Andrew Braund, CPI Director of Health and Safety said: “After a difficult two years, today has been a big step in a return to normality, and a clear show of commitment that no matter how difficult the current economic situation, the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone who works in the industry is of paramount importance.

Today has been an opportunity for delegates to hear from many health and safety professionals, speak to colleagues and share information on a variety health and safety related topics. With less than 12 months to go until the current PABIAC strategy finishes, I would encourage everyone who attended the event, and those that didn’t, to review their progress to date against the strategy and work towards completing any outstanding actions


Contact for further information
Holly Whitbread | [email protected] | 01793 889612
Photographs are available upon request.

Notes to Editors
Click here for further information on PABIAC and the current strategy.
CPI is the leading trade association representing the UK’s Paper-based Industries, comprising paper and board manufacturers and converters, corrugated packaging producers, makers of soft tissue papers, and collectors of paper for recycling.

CPI represents an industry with an aggregate annual turnover of £12 billion, with 56,000 direct and a further 93,000 indirect employees.

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