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The Organisation

Pernod Ricard Winemakers, formerly known as Orlando Wines, has developed a reputation for excellence in early intervention and return to work strategies. In South Australia, Pernod Ricard Winemakers is a self-insured company whose Rowland Flat site crushes approximately 20 thousand tonnes of grapes, which produces approximately 15 million litres of wine each vintage. Throughout a vintage the site receives approximately 54 million litres of juice to process. Pernod Ricard Winemakers employs 546 staff in numerous locations in South Australia and 879 staff nationally. Tasks include office, vineyard and winery based work, packaging and sales. Some of these tasks are of a very physical nature especially those completed by cellar hands in the wine making process.

For several years, Pernod Ricard Winemakers has worked towards a strategic goal of superior performance in workplace health, safety and injury management, including the implementation of systems and protocols to achieve this goal. All staff members are required to take health and safety seriously and their efforts in this area have translated into significant reductions in lost-time injuries, increased productivity and a reduction in costs related to workers’ compensation claims.

Senior management engagement is key to success

Key Initiatives and Achievements

On-site physiotherapist

Pernod Ricard Winemakers funds an on-site physiotherapist who works with staff to prevent and treat workplace injuries. The physiotherapist is available at the Rowland Flat site approximately 3 days per week and treats workers who have sustained an injury at work. As the physiotherapist has developed a strong understanding of workers’ duties, they also provide advice to managers and the injury management team regarding work processes. The physiotherapist is also used to prevent injury through conducting manual handling assessments and training across all sites. Supervisors have easy access to the onsite physiotherapist and can work as a team to identify quick fixes of potential risks to their employees’ health and wellbeing.

Through monitoring injuries, near misses and incidents, Pernod Ricard Winemakers works as a team with its health and safety and injury management personnel, department management, shop floor employees and physiotherapist to identify risks and come up with workable solutions to minimise the risk of further injury. This combination of early identification of risk, immediate training and constant follow up has led to an overall reduction in injury incidents.

Active Choice – health and wellbeing

To improve the health and wellbeing of its employees, Pernod Ricard Winemakers has an Active Choice program. Each year key health and wellbeing events are planned and rolled out to all employees. Events include activities such as skin cancer/health checks, flu vaccinations, healthy cooking demonstrations, sporting activities, dancing lessons, volunteering and cyber safety presentations. The company also pays for entry fees for fun runs and some sporting events. Events are well publicised and ideas for future topics are encouraged to increase participation.

Excellent systems

Pernod Ricard Winemakers has implemented daily ‘tier meetings’ to encourage discussion about health and safety at each level of the business. At the start of every shift, a 5-10 minute Tier 1 discussion occurs between floor level staff and their supervisor, during which they gather around a white board to discuss any safety incidents or issues, which need to or have been reported using the internal risk and incident management system (ICARUS). Two-way feedback is also provided at this meeting. Following this meeting, a Tier 2 meeting is held with supervisors and their managers so any issue raised at the Tier 1 meeting can be discussed. Department Managers and Directors then attend a Tier 3 meeting. This meeting enables cross-departmental discussion to ensure risks are addressed across the business, rather than being confined to a department. This also allows Directors to have a better understanding of safety across the business and ensures accountability for proposed actions.

Work health and safety is viewed by the company as “everybody’s responsibility” and during a shift all incidents, however minor, must be reported and logged into ICARUS. ICARUS allows for intervention to take place in a timely manner as key staff members are advised of each incident via email. This system also allows incidents to be linked to risks. Every worker, supervisor and manager across all sites have equal reasonability to follow the same incident reporting procedure. Safety and injury data collected via the procedure is analysed and reviewed, allowing areas of improvement to be identified. These KPIs are measured monthly and reported to the business via A3 improvement plans.

Major Themes

Pernod Ricard Winemakers has created a workforce that is engaged and accountable for health and safety. Underpinning its approach to managing injuries are four factors: 1) Senior management engagement in health and safety; 2) Excellent communication throughout the organisation; 3) Consistent management of incidents and injuries; and 4) Ownership, whereby health and safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Senior management engagement

Key to the implementation of any company initiative is leadership. Pernod Ricard Winemakers demonstrates excellence in both the functionality and management support of its incident reporting system. Management interact with staff on a daily basis to discuss health and safety issues and are genuinely interested in the health and wellbeing of staff. Management’s demonstrable valuing of staff also includes listening to and acting on workers’ concerns, providing ongoing training and excellent staff facilities.

Each year senior management undertake a wide range of safety and injury management tasks. A record of these tasks is entered into a document known as ‘Leaders Standard Work’. The number of tasks completed is reported monthly. Each Senior Manager can see how many tasks other Managers are undertaking and the Global Operations Director can see how involved their managers are with safety and injury management and vice versa.

The philosophy within the company is that all people are treated as you would like to be treated. Therefore, management treat all incidents and injuries with the same level of care and attention. Even a ‘near miss’ could be an avoidable injury. Acting on items each day enables the management team to get on top of anything before it gets too big. The management team has driven this change because the care of workers is seen as non- negotiable. Management say that the impetus for this change came from frustration that issues were being tabled, but not acted upon. Trends in injury or incidents are now visible, which means that the management team has the opportunity to drive pro-active and preventative care, which in turn increases or maintains productivity for the business.

Excellent communication

Openness and transparency ensure that all staff, from the Global Operations Director to shop floor workers, can raise issues about risk and safety and understand what actions will occur to address them. The reporting of an injury is viewed positively, therefore workers actively engage in daily incident reporting. This open communication enables the organisation to be proactive about incidents, thereby reducing the overall risk of injuries.

When a person does have a claim, they are given an information pack about their rights and responsibilities as a worker. The pack contains information about what they can expect from their employer. The language in these packs is a key differentiator; it is firm but not compliance driven, reminding workers that they, not just the employer, have a responsibility to help themselves back to work. This message is communicated clearly every day in actions on the floor and through workers’ compensation processes.

If an injury occurs, communication between the worker, management, the treating doctor and the injury management team occurs as soon as possible. Emails and telephone calls between all parties are encouraged. This way decisions can be made quickly and information regarding suitable duties is provided in a clear and timely manner, which in turn facilitates not only a timely but a durable return to work.

Consistency in injury management

When an injury occurs it is reported into ICARUS. The injury management team will contact that worker within one day. This way information can be obtained and provided quickly, treatment can be arranged and where appropriate, suitable duties provided. Caring for workers in this way has contributed to quicker recovery, resulting in less lost time and substantial cost savings not only in relation to workers’ compensation claims but for recruitment. This approach is supported by a recent National Return to Work survey, which found that work environments characterised by supervisor and management support for workers achieved more successful early return to work outcomes (SWA, 2014).

Owning the responsibility for workplace health and safety and timely return to work

Pernod Ricard Winemakers has a clear message that everyone is responsible for the health and safety of workers. This is illustrated by supervisors being aware of an injured worker’s restrictions and consulting with the worker on their work capacity. This reinforces to workers that they share a responsibility for their return to work. According to Pernod Ricard Winemakers, if you have ownership, consistency and communication then you’re off to a pretty good start. Positive workplace safety attitudes at all levels of Australian organisations have also been linked with early and sustained return to work outcomes (SWA, 2014).


SWA (2014) The National Return to Work Survey: The Role of the Employer and the Workplace. Australia and New Zealand: 2013. Published by Safe Work Australia. Accessed June 2014.

The bottom line

As a result of proactive early intervention, increased safety initiatives and reduced injuries across its South Australian sites, Pernod Ricard Winemakers reported its outstanding claim liability had reduced by 17.1% from FY12 to FY13. Its bank guarantee has also reduced by 18.4% in the same period.

Tips and Tricks

Suggestions from Pernod Ricard Winemakers to other organisations.

Change takes time, don’t give up

All good things take time, energy and consistency. You get what you focus on so concentrate on the results you want and don’t stop trying to continuously improve the systems until you get the results you are looking for.

Have a clear, consistent message

It is essential to have good systems in place, which allows clear and consistent communication; “Safety is everybody’s responsibility”.

Make your people the key focus of your business

Employees are your most valuable assets; without a safe and healthy team you can’t have a successful business.

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