A man who successfully retrained and returned to work after receiving serious injuries in a workplace car accident has won WorkSafe’s Return to Work Achievement award for 2018.
Greater Shepparton City Council arborist Chris Williams went through a long rehabilitation program at the Epworth Hospital to overcome the physical and mental barriers required to go back to work.
His hard work and dedication was recognised last night when he was named as one of nine winners at the prestigious WorkSafe Awards.
The awards, held at Crown Palladium, celebrate the achievements of both injured workers who have overcome barriers to return to work, and individuals and organisations that have contributed to workplace health and safety and helped others return to work.
Other winners included a dedicated return to work coordinator who has helped more than 100 injured workers, a Melbourne council that introduced new family violence assistance, and a company that came up with an ingenious invention to reduce the risks associated with working from heights.
WorkSafe Chief Executive Clare Amies said the winners and finalists came from a wide range of backgrounds, demonstrating there was a strong commitment in Victorian workplaces to reduce injuries and help injured workers return to work.
“These organisations and individuals have gone to incredible lengths to make their workplaces safer and healthier, to assist injured workers, or to overcome their own personal obstacles to return work after injury” Ms Amies said.
“Each one has set a good example of innovative thinking and dedication to help solve problems and overcome challenges.
“Every finalist should be proud of the wonderful work they have done to inspire others to make safety a priority in every workplace in Victoria.”
The winners of the 2018 WorkSafe Awards are:
Leading return to work practice by an employer
Mercy Health (Richmond)
In April 2017, Mercy Health launched a national early intervention and immediate response program to promote recovery at work and train managers to effectively support injured employees at the organisation’s hospital, aged and community care facilities. With service provider Cogent Thinking, Mercy Health implemented a suite of initiatives to familiarise team members with workers compensation legislation and encourage prompt intervention by line managers for hazards and injuries.
Return to work coordinator excellence
Stacey Guy, City of Ballarat
In the last seven years, Stacey Guy has helped more than 100 injured workers achieve a safe and sustainable return to work. Stacey focuses on timely intervention, and instigated the engagement of a provider panel to provide injured employees with medical assessments and early treatment for niggles or injuries. She also introduced the council’s My Wellbeing program and has increased return to work and manual handling training.
Worker return to work achievement award
Chris Williams (Shepparton)
Chris was working as an arborist when he sustained multiple serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident. During his time at Epworth Rehabilitation Hospital, Chris formed strong friendships with other in-patients who were able to support and motivate each other’s recovery. He believed it was important to return to work for his mental wellbeing, and has persevered to adjust to an office-based role.
Best solution to a manual handling issue
The Reece Group – Prime Refrigeration Plant (Truganina)
Reece undertook stakeholder consultation to reduce the musculoskeletal injury risk to workers repeatedly lifting and rolling refrigerant cylinders weighing up to 105kg. Many options, including hoists with lifting chains, were tested during the project to improve the manual handling process. The result was the creation of a smart lifting attachment that can self-latch to the lifting head and be easily removed when the cylinder is in place.
Best solution to a specific workplace health and safety issue
McConnell Dowell Constructors (Australia) Pty Ltd (Port Melbourne)
After securing the contract to restore Swanson Dock East Berth 1, McDonnell Dowell sought an alternative to working from scaffolding and barges, which present risks such as slips, trips, falls and drowning. The company designed reusable platforms named ‘wharf fender access frames’. All surfaces are stable and non-slip and workspaces are well-lit and protected from marine conditions. The multi-level decks can be moved along the wharf in small modules using an on-site crane.
Health and safety invention of the year
Ecogroup Pty Ltd (Dandenong South)
In commercial kitchens, cleaning the exhaust canopy poses risks of working at heights, manual handling, burns, chemical exposure and working in confined spaces with awkward postures. Through consultation, risk assessments and observation, Eco Group developed the ezyAxs Canopy, a commercial kitchen canopy that lowers the exhaust plenum to worker height, eliminating the need to climb onto cooking surfaces to clean the exhausts and filters.
Health and safety representative of the year
Daniel Gili, Diamond Valley Pork Pty Ltd (Laverton North)
Daniel is a highly respected health and safety representative who has been repeatedly re-elected to represent the 60 workers at abattoir and meat processing company Diamond Valley Pork. He has been dedicated to addressing inconsistent incident reporting processes and ensuring procedures are simple and transparent. Daniel takes employee safety very seriously and proactively raises and escalates employees’ concerns.
OHS Achievement Award
St John of God Berwick Hospital
Prior to construction of the new St John of God Berwick Hospital, user groups, stakeholders, and subject matter experts were consulted on the design and a series of prototype work areas were then built and used to detect any design and safety issues. Workflow and scenario testing was completed over an eight-week period, with numerous improvements identified and implemented. Opening in early 2018, the new hospital is an impressive example of safe design.
Commitment to workplace health and wellbeing
Darebin City Council
Family violence has a large impact on Australia’s workforce. Darebin City Council has introduced a whole-of-organisation commitment to address this issue and create a safe and respectful workplace. The council has appointed a family violence support officer and embedded various processes and training into its workplace operations and community programs to deal with family violence issues and encourage reporting.
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.