An injured worker who underwent multiple surgeries in his determination to get back to work, a Victoria Police employee who fought for a healthier office for colleagues, and a robotics company that invented a safer system for cutting large carcasses were among the winners of the 2016 WorkSafe Awards.
The winners were named at a gala ceremony at the Regent Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne.
More than 330 people attended the event, including all 28 finalists, colleagues, families and friends, and senior WorkSafe staff. Minister for Finance Robin Scott also appeared as a special guest.
Mr Scott praised all the finalists for their contribution to making their workplaces safer.
"Every finalist has achieved remarkable things and has an inspiring story to tell," Mr Scott said.
"Safety at work can never be compromised and I hope the fantastic example of all our winners inspires others to implement their own health and safety ideas across Victorian workplaces."
WorkSafe Chief Executive Clare Amies said the high quality of the finalists was a reflection of the commitment shown by so many Victorian workplaces to health and safety.
"Victoria is fortunate that it has so many organisations and individuals dedicated to keeping workplaces safe, and ensuring injured workers get back to work as soon as they are safely able," Ms Amies said.
"Safety can never be taken for granted and our award winners remind us that every improvement in health and safety, no matter how small, makes a difference to someone's life.
"Its people and organisations like these who are making it possible for all Victorians to get home from work safe every day."
The winners are:
Health and Safety
OHS Achievement Award
- Corrigans Produce Farms: OHS/HR Manager, Lisa Corrigan, designed farm-specific systems and training programs for their diverse workforce to identify and assess safety risks on the farm and worked with Chisholm TAFE to develop a multi-lingual training program featuring visual and tactile learning components (Clyde)
Health and Safety Representative of the Year
- Kelly Christie, Victoria Police: As Health and Safety representative, Kelly sought improvements to the Ringwood prosecutions building where she and other colleagues worked after identifying a range of hazards. While some safety issues were resolved, Kelly drove action until members were eventually moved into a new, fit-for-purpose building and the old building was demolished (Melbourne)
Health and Safety Invention of the Year – joint winners
- Lend Lease Building Contractors P/L: Lendlease created a system for edge protection and site containment, the Telescopic Handrail System, which was flexible enough to accommodate site constraints and multiple trades but robust enough to provide appropriate protection. The system is now in use on multiple sites and there has been no notification of any falls incidents at these sites (Docklands)
- Scott Automation & Robotics: Designed a machine called the X-Ray Primal System to remove the need for bandsaws when cutting main sections of an animal carcass to reduce risk of injury from cuts, lacerations, and manually handling of heavy carcasses into position for cutting (Tullamarine)
Best Solution to a Specific Workplace Health and Safety Issue
- M C Herd Pty Ltd: Senior management recognised a fall risk for drivers as they delivered and unloaded cattle up to 10 times a day at their meat processing operation. They designed a motorised unloading ramp with self-closing doors that open inwards, eliminating the need for drivers to climb the side, walk on top of, or get inside the crates to unload (Corio)
Best Solution to a Manual Handling Issue
- Bendigo Health: Bendigo Health was concerned at the possible injury risks to staff that helped move obese patients after their death from the hospital to the funeral director's care. It developed an idea to use a disposable repositioning sling that could remain under the patient through the entire transfer, significantly reducing the risk of sprains and strains and other manual handling injuries for staff and funeral service employees (Bendigo)
Commitment to Workplace Health and Wellbeing
- Eastlink: Eastlink provides its employees with a range of services and support to improve their wellbeing. This includes daily fresh fruit, inter-department sporting challenges, financial support services, and health and safety activities and advice. Eastlink believes this holistic approach to wellness has reduced absenteeism and workplace injuries and improved staff satisfaction (Ringwood)
Return to Work
Worker Return to Work Achievement Award
- Dan Casey, Cervus Equipment: Dan, a 33-year-old manager at Mahoney's Transport Services, suffered extensive injuries after his right foot was crushed by a Bobcat at a Lake Bolac storage facility in 2014. He had extensive treatment, which involved more than 28 surgeries in 15 months. Despite setbacks to both his physical and emotional recovery, Dan was determined to return to work and eventually secured a new role at Cervus Equipment, a large machinery sales company in Terang (Terang)
Return to Work Coordinator Excellence
- Melissa Johnson, Outlook Vic Inc: Melissa is committed to caring for all Outlook employees – 70 per cent of whom have a disability or come from a disadvantaged background. She developed a comprehensive return to work system that includes manager training, relationships with local treating practitioners, ongoing organisational surveys to ensure employees feel supported and an engaging approach that encourages employees to come forward about injuries so they can be supported through early intervention (Pakenham)
Employer Excellence in Return to Work
- The Royal Children's Hospital: The RCH's comprehensive Injury Management Program focuses on early intervention and incident reporting, using a range of tools to identify suitable duties for injured workers and support their mental and physical recovery. It also promotes health and safety initiatives to all employees with a detailed communications strategy. As a result, the number of injuries has reduced and the RCH is now performing 29 per cent better than the industry average (Parkville).
For photos, and to arrange an interview with an award winner, contact WorkSafe Media Advisor Caitlin Rode – 0434 685 577
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.