Susanne Bahn – CEO of Tap into Safety

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Dr Susanne Bahn is Co-Director and CEO of Tap into Safety Pty Ltd. Sue has 11 years consultancy expertise including 9 years of research at Edith Cowan University in work health and safety practice and processes, risk management, supervision and leadership training and vocational education training in the construction and mining industries.

Sue’s specific expertise focuses on induction deafness and risk blindness and strategies to improve the hazard awareness skills of workers in hazardous work environments. She has published her work extensively and is the author of two books “OHS Management: Contemporary Issues in Australia” and “OHS at Work”. She has over fifty journal articles published in Australian and international journals, many of which focus on work health and safety issues.

In 2013, Sue was appointed a Member of the Safe Work Australia Expert Work Health and Safety Workers’ Compensation Panel. Sue’s qualifications include a PhD (Business – Health and Safety Management), a Masters in Human Resource Management, a Bachelor of Education and a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education.

Many of our ideas come directly from industry and we are agile enough to respond quickly through individual customisation of the applications within our platform. 

Tell us a little bit about your idea and what made you decide to take the plunge and make it happen?

The Tap into Safety methodology formed out of the consultancy work carried out by both Geoff and Susanne Bahn in KIS Safety and academic research.

Towards the end of 2004, the work evolved to also include safety training; instruction in how to write Job Hazard Analyses; facilitating Hazard Identification and Hazard Management workshops, which included on-shift visitations to underground mine working areas.

Throughout these years of training and assisting in restructuring, the feedback from industry indicated that while effort was placed on training, the resulting application by trainees was varied, and in the main untested.

Both Directors came together to launch Tap into Safety in June 2014, predominantly to respond to plateauing health and safety statistics in Australia and other countries around the world. It was clear that traditional methods of health and safety training were no longer reducing workplace injuries, fatalities and disease. The research and industry were calling for interactive, engaging training applications that appealed to younger workers and assisted those with literacy issues. Their response was to develop a customised, interactive health and safety training platform that uses 2D, 360/180 degree panoramic photo realistic scenarios that transition between work areas to teach and test safety knowledge, hazard awareness and mental health and wellbeing strategies. 

Can you explain your business model to us?

It’s a license and usage model – annual license fees for each application within the platform. Per head annual usage fee to access the health and safety training platform as often as required.

What are you working on right now and what are you most excited about in the next year?

Completing an Accelerating Commercialisation grant project that moves the 360/180 degree panoramic features across multiple platforms. iOS is finished; web and android are underway.

Our next project is to extend the features and capability of our platform to mobile phone delivery in hazard perception and include geo location and geo fencing options. This application will be available as a customised version for our enterprise customers and generic version on the Apple and Google Play stores. The generic version will allow customers to self-populate the application and is an extremely cost efficient way for smaller firms to ensure that their staff are aware of workplace hazards and how to manage them as well as offering specific location features to ensure that the business is aware where their staff are working at any given point in time.

How do you make ideas happen?

I get my best ideas in the shower but then I spend time brainstorming with our extremely talented in-house development team on implementation etc. Many of our ideas come directly from industry and we are agile enough to respond quickly through individual customisation of the applications within our platform. 

What role have mentors played in your business life? 

Mentors and strategic advisors have played a very important role in building the business. Although we had experience in running successful consultancies and small business, we lacked the experience to take Tap into Safety globally, quickly. We have spent a good deal of time with clever people who have – e.g. Curtin Ignition Programme, The Federal Government’s Entrepreneurs Infrastructure Programme, and have active membership in start-up groups like StartupAus etc.

What does your typical day look like?

There is no typical day for me in this business except that I check emails at 7am, get a shower, grab some breakfast and get into it until dinner time. I could be presenting our platform, planning and building the applications content, working on social media promotions, writing content for our fortnightly newsletter and thought leader posts, networking with customers, or other software businesses to form strategic partnerships and so on…

What challenges have you faced when starting or growing a business/organisation in Australia? 

The biggest challenge is getting referrals into the larger corporates to show our health and safety platform. We are willing to work with the majors to customise our software platform to their specific needs, but as a start-up it’s often difficult to get a foot in the door.

What is one idea you are willing to give away for free?

Use Linkedin to your advantage to build your business profile. Type in key search words such as ‘manager’ ask to connect and when you are successful thank them for connecting and invite them to visit your web page and onto your email list. This is time-consuming, but a free way to move your business up in Google search.

What people/companies/organisations do you think are doing really cool stuff in your industry, in Australia at the moment?

We like GeoMobi – geo-location and geo-fencing software

Also In House Group – tracking foot traffic in public spaces 

What about internationally?

We like Microsoft Holo Lens

What role do you think business can play in affecting social change?

We can reduce workplace injury frequency by 10% – that not only saves lives, but increases productivity and reduces business costs. We can also assist workers who are suffering from stress, anxiety and depression to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Speaking of affecting social change, Is there a particular charity you support? 

St Vincent de Paul Society. 

Name 3 websites you would recommend to our readers.


Startup Australia

Mail Chimp

Can you name 3 Australians we should follow on Twitter?

Malcolm Turnbull

Wyatt Roy

Charlie Gunningham 

Are there opportunities for people to get involved with your idea?

We are looking for the super salesman!

We’re aiming to build a community of Australian idea makers helping each other. If you could have one question answered about startups, marketing, social media, accounting, monetization, product development etc. What would it be?

How do we get to pitch our platform to the major corporates? 

What’s your favourite bar/café/restaurant?

Krayahan Thai Restaurant in Marmion, Western Australia.


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