Under the Injury Prevention and Management (IPaM) program, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland works with businesses to develop better work health, safety and injury management systems.
Gay Constructions Pty Ltd is a steel manufacturer operating out of a facility in Brisbane and is involved in commercial, industrial, defence, mining and infrastructure projects.
Prior to engaging with IPaM, Gay Constructions’ senior management set the goal of becoming a world class manufacturing business. They realised they would need to shift their attitude and commit to significant changes across the company to improve production, quality and safety.
Since joining with IPaM, Gay Constructions has seen many business safety and injury management improvements along with a reduction in injury costs to the business. These include:
- improved staff productivity
- receiving more contracts through tender processes
- their accredited safety system and safety record are now attracting clients
- an 80 per cent reduction in workers’ compensation claims over the past four years, and
- a period of more than 700 days without a Lost Time Injury (LTI) (after experiencing 22 LTIs in 2009 alone).
The first step to achieve this was to review their existing safety and injury management systems and survey employees about safety in the workplace.
The company then worked with the IPaM advisor to develop an action plan which included:
- establishing and measuring positive safety performance indicators
- improving the incident investigation process
- improving consultation with workers through the safety committee and toolbox meetings
- training staff on the use of personal protective equipment, and
- focusing on identifying and controlling manual task risks.
The action plan complemented three safety initiatives Gay Constructions were already implementing:
- Immediate reporting of safety incidents to the general manager.
To demonstrate that the safety of all staff is important, supervisors are required to notify the general manager of any safety incident, regardless of the time of day.
- Increased staff accountability for meeting safety responsibilities.
Prior to this, staff were not made accountable for meeting their safety responsibilities. Management now enforce safety procedures.
- Measuring safety performance using both ‘lag’ and ‘lead’ indicators.
Gay Constructions traditionally only measured ‘lag’ or historical indicators. They have now introduced ‘lead’ safety indicators – early warnings which can help identify failures in the safety system earlier, giving them an opportunity to fix issues before incidents occur. Several other safety activities are now measured, including:
- the number of tool box talks
- the number of safety committee meetings
- the number of scheduled safety inspections, and
- the timeliness of safety incidents and hazards reported and acted on.
Due to the positive outcomes achieved for businesses like Gay Constructions from collaborating with IPaM, the Queensland Government recently provided additional funding to make the program available to more employers.
An additional $2.35 million in funding will allow IPaM to work closely with around 500 businesses a year and deliver at least six major workshops targeting priority industries and work safety risks.
For more information visit the Workplace Healthand Safety Queensland website or call 1300 369 915.