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Dr Angelica Vecchio-Sadus

Our birthday Standards Heroes have been nominated by their peers to represent all our contributors - individuals we consider to be the real heroes of standards, in Australia and internationally. We thank those who contribute their knowledge and expertise, service, and time to Standards Australia for the benefit of the Australian community.Dr Angelica Vecchio-Sadus is a Health, Safety and Environment professional. She has a PhD in chemistry, a Bachelor of Science (1st Class Honours), a Bachelor of Science (Education) and a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety. Along with these qualifications, Angelica holds a variety of certifications and training in risk management, lead auditor, safety management systems, rehabilitation case management, train small groups and change management. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety and a certified Chartered Occupational Health and Safety Professional.

Angelica’s career spans more than 25 years of national and international stakeholder engagement and collaboration in science, research, technology and safety with stakeholders from the energy, mining, manufacturing, biomedical and services sectors.

Angelica began her career as a scientist with the CSIRO and then moved into health and safety management. The working environment at CSIRO presented the most diverse hazard profile of any science agency in Australia, and possibly globally. The facilities include chemical, biological, physical and radiation labs, pilot plants, industrial testing, field stations and national facilities (e.g., telescopes, marine vessel, collections). Angelica has also worked in and visited client facilities in Australia and overseas.  
How did you become involved in standards development? 

I became involved in standards development when my organisation (CSIRO) was asked to nominate a representative to join the technical committee on Safety in Laboratories CH-026 (AS/NZS 2243). At the time I was a scientist with a part-time role in safety. Subsequently, I accepted an appointment to chair the committee, a position that I’ve held since 2010, and then the independent chair from 2021. Being involved in Standards development has allowed me the opportunity to lend my knowledge, experience and advocacy to help shape standards within my area of expertise.

What role have standards played in your career?   

Over my career, I’ve experienced great change and improvement of work practices through application of standards to lab design, hazard identification and risk mitigation. An early memory was during the safety induction on my first day of work at CSIRO. I was instructed not to eat or drink in the lab, and to wash my hands after handling lead oxide powder. This was in stark contrast to hygiene practices at uni at the time.

What is a project you’ve been particularly proud to have helped deliver? 

I’ve been the drafting leader for many projects. The most rewarding aspect has been to deliver contemporary work practices to the community through the insights and collaboration of committee members from diverse professional associations, universities, regulatory authorities and companies in Australia and New Zealand to write new clauses, edit existing clauses, review public comments and keep the standards current. I’ve often had to exercise mental stamina to referee robust discussions involving divergent viewpoints. Taking an inclusive approach and reaching consensus has always resulted in what’s best for users of the standard.  

Outside of standards development, what have been some highlights of your career? 

As a HSE Manager I helped deliver a positive and driving change culture where health and safety became a business enabler that was visibility led by leaders, integrated with business processes, and aligned with the strategic direction of the organisation. I received internal and external recognition for initiatives to improve safety. I’ve had the opportunity to share my experiences at national and international conferences, and to publish my work.

What do you think the future of standardisation looks like? 

I think the future of standardisation is Australian alignment with global standards. Australia will benefit significantly from international collaboration and substantive input into new ISO standards so that Australian interests are maintained for businesses and consumers in public health and safety, society and community impact, environmental impact, quality and integrity, competition and economic impact. With more than 5000 standards and associated publications in the catalogue, Australia is in a commanding position to influence a consistent benchmark on an international scale.

Is there anything you’d like to say or mention about Standards Australia’s centenary year? 

When I hear a company, organisation or association is 100 years old, I immediately think of what are the key aspects and points of differentiation that have contributed to their legacy and longevity. I sum these up as: trusted, respected, relevant and valued.  

Congratulations Standards Australia on your centenary. I look forward to you continuing to remain relevant and accessible to current and future generations, and to continue to benefit Australian society and communities in our daily lives.