This is part three of a three-part series. Join Neil Coulson, CEO of Jayco, as he goes undercover to find out what his staff thinks about the new safety improvements, and learn how ‘communicating the safety message’ is helping to reduce injuries from manual handling.
The Skeleton Project is an initiative from the Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) where three CEOs agreed to go ‘undercover’ in their businesses. The goal is to better understand workplace safety from their worker’s perspectives and shed light on how they can prevent the most common workplace injuries—musculoskeletal injuries.
Who is this presentation for?
This innovative presentation is for CEOs, business owners and anyone interested in work health and safety and injury prevention. It will also be of interest to health and safety representatives.
About the presenter
The VWA is the workplace health and safety regulator and manager of workers’ compensation for Victoria.
View more information about the VWA
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The Skeleton Project – Jayco
Neil Coulson, CEO, Jayco Corporation
Neil Coulson: My name's Neil Coulson. I'm the CEO of Jayco Corporation. Australia's leading manufacturer of recreational vehicles.
We pride ourselves on the Jayco family and that's about our people and our business is all about our people, so safety is critical.
We've committed to safety. We've made significant improvements. We're proud of that. I think all of our employees are proud of that, but we're equally clear that we're on a journey and that journey never ends, particularly with something like safety.
Male: Thanks for coming down Steve. I'd like to introduce you to the research group. This is Nathan.
Steven Day: Nathan. Nice to meet you Nathan.
Nathan: Steven. So Steven, how long have you worked at Jayco?
Steven Day: I've worked at Jayco for five years. So, I started out as just an aircon fitter on the line there and then I've worked my way up through to be a furniture fitter and then worked my way to a team leader position.
So what we've been able to provide here is we've got the rolls of vinyl that go onto the caravans there. Now each role is 150 kilos, so two men, you just couldn't realistically do something like that. So you'd have to use the vinyl lifter now. There you go. Save a lot of grief. Then that way I can just crank it up. The cable's taken all the tension. The back feels fine. You know, saving the backs of your legs, the back of your spine, in your shoulders as well and because you've got 17 units per day, you can't do it manually by yourself all day, every day. You'll just burn yourself out otherwise.
Nathan: And what difference has this made for you and your team?
Steven Day: On an incredible difference. An incredible difference.
When I first started here, I told these guys last week - I had to go in for an operation just due to having a hernia from doing too much of the manual lifting. A job like this has just taken that pressure off – you know. All the people in the team now, there's no added injury that's happened since any of this equipment's come in, so it's been a great, a great saving force for us down here.
The support network here is fantastic, that is, if you've got an idea, everyone will help get behind it and they'll all work towards that one goal, and then that way they can feed it back to me and they can let me know, "It was a great idea. We couldn't fit what you were thinking in, but we've then come back with this idea. How do you think of that because you're the one that's going to use it?" So, a lot of communication between the different sectors all coming for that one goal of safety.
At the moment, we're winning but we can keep winning – you know. We can keep moving that far. Page 2 of 4
Nathan: Do you think you'll ever stop improving safety?
Steven Day: Oh, no way. No way. The day we stop is the day somebody will get seriously injured.
Nathan: An ongoing journey?
Steven Day: That's right, yep.
Nathan: So Peter, tell us what happens here as part of your job?
Peter Eakins: Yep. We've just got a crane here, it's a suction crane. So it just sucks onto the side frame. It lifts it up mechanically. So again, no lifting involved.
Nathan: No lifting?
Peter Eakins: Just sliding along the roller.
Nathan: Okay, because there'd be a bit of weigh in those?
Peter Eakins: Yeah. When I first started, they used to be done manually. You used to have to have like three or four guys to carry it.
Steven Day: But now they've got the lifter, so compared to having three or four guys having to stop their work just to hold it there - it's made it a lot easier.
Nathan: So now, now the – the new equipment, the new lifting aids and those sorts of things have been introduced to Jayco - has it – has it changed the job for you and your team? And how has it changed it?
Steven Day: It's just taken away like the – the risk of injury, basically.
Steven Day: There's no lifting, so there's no wrong way to do it. So you can't really hurt yourself. It makes your whole day's work easier.
Steven Day: If your work's easier, then you seem to work a bit happier, better - produce a better product really.
Steven Day: Javier, what have been the changes in how your teams complete their tasks and the sort of manual handling equipment we can see here?
Javier Toranzos: Well, for the last few years, we got these new cranes fitted. Beforehand, there was a lot of manual handling. There was a high risk of injury – you know – time loss as well. That affected us a lot.
Nathan: So, this must be a lot different to the way – the way it was before?
Javier Toranzos: We used to have four people lifting this roof to put them on the line.
Nathan: And what’s - what does the team think about using this sort of manual handling devices? Page 3 of 4
Javier Toranzos: They actually do refuse to lift them by hand.
Javier Toranzos: And I advise them to keep refusing because we have people who have injured their back before.
Nathan: It must give you confidence that now you've got this machine you're improving safety and you’re improving …
Javier Toranzos: It raises confidence and raises the morale in people. They all want to come in and do the job.
Nathan: Yep, yep.
Javier Toranzos: No one wants to come into the workplace and thinking "Oh no, I'm going to injure myself today lifting roofs."
Nathan: So I understand Javier you had an injury and the lifters have subsequently come in. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Javier Toranzos: What happened was before we had the lifters, everything would have been manual handled. So myself and an operator, we were moving one of the roofs onto another bench. I felt a bit of a crack in my back.
Nathan: Yep. What's the difference now with the sort of roof lifters and things?
Javier Toranzos: I don't have to lift it -
Javier Toranzos: - because the machine does it for me. All I've got to do is press a button. So it makes it – makes it very easy for us.
Nathan: Steven, what's the best part of your job here at Jayco?
Steven Day: Oh, just seeing the dreams of people - getting built. Just a huge sense of pride in me – you know – that I was able to build that van, I've set them up on their dream. They're off on their dream holiday travelling around and they are just having the time of their lives due to what we've done in here in the factory.
Nathan: So it sounds like you're pretty passionate about -
Steven Day: Oh, very passionate.
Nathan: - what you're building?
Steven Day: Yeah, that's right. Yeah, this is my career. I'm not going anywhere. I'm only a young guy now. You know, I've got another 40-50 years of working life in front of me, so I’ll stick with something that I know, that I like and that I love and keep kicking goals.
Neil Coulson: Meeting with Javier, Peter and Steven today was just fantastic. The fact that some of their ideas and some of their thoughts have been realised and introduced and improved – are improving safety at Jayco is a great credit to their commitment. And if the demonstration of effort and the conversations I had today are any indication, Page 4 of 4
communication is the number one priority to achieving improved safety and we have a very solid platform with great citizens like those guys who are doing a fantastic job communicating the safety message around Jayco.
I just wanted to thank you guys for participating. Jayco was invited by WorkSafe to participate in this project and I sort of jumped at the opportunity because I thought just getting out there and in this fantastic disguise where nobody would pick me -
Steven Day: I thought it was pretty good. It got me going for a while.
Neil Coulson: Did you?
Steven Day: Then I was like "That's a bit of a cheap moustache. I won't say anything about it."
Neil Coulson: But getting out there and finding out what was actually happening out there, how you guys felt about it 'cause I think as you appreciate – you know – we're pretty committed to safety here, but sometimes – you know – you miss out on what the guys are thinking out there. So, you are three guys that are going to be a big part of Jayco's future and we've not only got the strong foundations of today, but we've got a fantastic opportunity going forward, so.
Well thanks very much for your time guys.
Steven Day: Certainly, very much Neil.
Neil: I appreciate it.
Javier Toranzos: Neil.
Neil: Thanks Javier. Good on you Peter. Thanks mate.
[End of Transcript]