An invention that eliminates the need for divers to cut steel piles under water, a country school which promotes farm safety, and a health program which allows older workers to carry out their duties to their full potential are among the finalists in the 2015 WorkSafe Victoria Awards.
Twenty finalists across seven categories have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to workplace health and safety or in helping injured workers return to work.
Winners will be announced at a special ceremony at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre on 28 October during Health and Safety Week.
The finalists are:
BEST SOLUTION TO A SPECIFIC WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY ISSUE
ANC Forestry Group (Morwell). The harvest and haulage company has created a new chain restraint system to prevent logs shifting or slipping off trucks during transit.
Aqua Prep (Highett). The specialist contractor has created a system to remove steel piles under water using Ultra High Pressure Water (2500bar-36,000psi). This removed the need to have divers in the water and eliminated the risks they would otherwise face cutting steel under water.
E. B. Mawson and Sons (Cohuna). The concrete and quarry business invented a method using cameras to inspect the barrels of concrete trucks to determine if internal cleaning was required. This reduced the need for staff to enter the barrels for a visual inspection by more than 90 per cent.
HEALTH AND SAFETY INVENTION OF THE YEAR
APSB (Mt Eliza). The company has developed a plastic hook bolt to reduce risks in the construction of concrete slabs. The hook bolt braces the boxing frame from the inside which eliminates the need for external bracing and star pickets, which are a common cause of trips and injuries. As an added benefit, the hook also reduces the need for labour intensive construction methods to be used..
Machinery Automation & Robotics (Tullamarine). The company has designed a special unit for the meat processing industry to reduce operator risks when using bandsaws. When the unit senses an operator has come in contact with the blade it can shut down the bandsaw within 15 milliseconds – the difference between a small cut and an amputated finger.
Whelans Group Investments (Bairnsdale). The company, which operates an earthmoving, road construction, and quarry operating business, has developed a quad dog trailer that eliminates the need for the trailer to be elevated to unload material. The system eliminates falls from heights, a range of manual handling issues and the risk of coming into contact with overhead power lines.
COMMITMENT TO WORKPLACE HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Kingston City Council (Cheltenham). It designed the myWellbeing 'Building Workplace Health' program to better understand and plan for employees’ health needs. The program has been credited for reducing staff injury, absenteeism and turnover rates.
Urban Maintenance Systems Pty Ltd (Notting Hill). It created a program to support its outdoor workforce to carry out their duties to their greatest potential. The year-round program supports the workforce’s physical, mental and environmental well-being.
Warner Nurseries (Narre Warren). One of Australia’s most successful wholesale nurseries, it has created a positive and safe work and social environment for staff. Initiatives include engaging a physiotherapist to assess manual handling systems, offering WorkCover health checks, providing flu vaccines, employing a massage therapist, using the CFA to check its fire plan and seeking advice from independent OHS auditors.
Sharon Friedman, Safety Manager, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. In the past two years MCEC has seen a 45 per cent decline in safety incidents due to Sharon’s commitment to improve safety. New policies and processes included a new RTW process, rigging procedure, safety induction process, safety stations, online contract management system, forklift procedure and induction process, security reporting incidents process and incident investigation.
Austin Health (Heidelberg). Austin Health is the major provider of tertiary health services, health professional education and research in the north-east of Melbourne and its Patient Services Assistants are an integral part of the organisation, providing ward-based duties that often involve significant manual handling challenges. Under the guidance of the PSA Supervisory Team, they have modified or eliminated a number of hazardous handling tasks that has made a significant difference to their health and safety.
Timboon P-12 School (Timboon). With the support of WestVic Dairy, it has created the Timboon Agriculture Project to link the school more closely to the farming community and to promote farm safety among its students.
HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE YEAR
Sean Mathews, Eastern Health (Ringwood). As the HSR for Eastern @ Home, Sean took on a leadership role in support of oncology nurses who had been working in an unsafe environment. Sean was involved in identifying solutions to a number of critical issues and was instrumental in the design of the new work environment.
Tara Seddon, Victoria Police Forensic Services Centre (Macleod). Attending crime scenes can have a physical and mental impact on staff while examining items in a laboratory can involve dealing with harmful chemicals and contaminated biological material. High workloads, strict work demands and attending court to present evidence can cause a great amount of stress on staff. As the HSR, Tara has been instrumental in ensuring colleagues are supported and solutions found for identified risks.
Greg Tingate, Bass Coast Health (Wonthaggi). Greg was elected HSR in 2012 and has helped reduce injuries on a range of issues, such as safe positioning techniques for staff of an anaesthetised patient, equipment positioning so as to maintain surgical sterility and technique, reducing the risk of falls and manual handling injuries, handling bio-hazardous waste, reducing splash injury risks and chemical safety.
EMPLOYER EXCELLENCE IN RETURN TO WORK
City of Yarra (Richmond). The City of Yarra Council has adopted a new OHS model in relation to injury management that has included a detailed job task analysis for high risk areas, free medical treatment for workplace injuries with InjuryNET, comprehensive injury management toolkits, and a partnership approach to claims management with their insurer/agent. As a result, there has been a 40 per cent reduction in standard claims, and a 55 per cent reduction in lost days due to injury.
Lend Lease (Melbourne). Lendlease developed a new best practice injury management model which was adopted by all of their legal entities across Australia. Called Project Reach, it offers employees a variety of support initiatives, including the development of local provider networks for all workplaces, a suitable duties register, an injury management intranet page, guidance documents, and a free call advice line and a RTW IT system. As a result, Lendlease has reduced injury claims and average claims costs.
Metcash (Laverton). Metcash has developed a collaborative injury management program including an early intervention initiative that focuses on the best outcomes for injured workers. The program has resulted in a 265 per cent increase in injury reporting, while the average claim duration has fallen to 21 days.
RETURN TO WORK COORDINATOR EXCELLENCE
Paula King, Dyson Group of Companies (Bundoora). Paula has been responsible for RTW at the Dyson Group, which is a family owned and operated bus company with more than 750 staff. As well as managing the safe and sustainable return to work of injured staff, Paula has
been instrumental in initiatives such as the development and delivery of injury management training to managers and supervisors, completing a task analysis and comprehensive job dictionary to assist RTW, and implementing on-site physiotherapy to manage and reduce injuries.
Claudia Solis, Lendlease (Melbourne). As the Victorian Injury Management Advisor at Lendlease, Claudia assists injured workers through Lendlease’s injury management model and the RTW process. Claudia uses a proactive and holistic approach to injury management and liaises with all stakeholders to explain everybody’s responsibilities and the importance of recovery in the workplace. Claudia has also been responsible for introducing a national number to direct workers to their Injury Management Team and producing a wallet sized notification card with IMT details to improve employee awareness of the RTW process.
The presentation ceremony is open to the public this year so if you would like to celebrate the achievements of the finalists, please register to attend. A networking event with refreshments will follow the ceremony. To register, go to www.worksafeweek.worksafe.vic.gov.au
All finalists are available for interview. For details, contact WorkSafe media manager Peter Flaherty on (03) 9641 1216 or 0478 881 664.
Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.