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Work Health and Safety Blog

There's so much happening in the world of health & safety. Changes in legislation and requirements, changes in best practice, changes in ... you name it. Here's my take on making it simple. Simply Genius WHS - stop guessing... manage with confidence.

Why Safety Awards matter

Maralyn Kastel - Saturday, September 20, 2014

All awards, whether worker of the month or other incentive schemes have as one of their purposes a recognition of superior quality and performance. Often this is done with the goal of motivating others to do the same. Some awards focus on informing and highlighting practices and behaviors that others will find beneficial. Such is the Safe Work Australia Awards.

The Safe Work Australia Awards recognise and spotlight the best of workplace health and safety systems and solutions. Looking over the finalists and winners of the 9th annual Safe Work Australia Awards provides plenty of ideas for how to improve health and safety management at work. So, what can we learn from the examples of the finalists and winner in just one of the four categories, Category 1 - Best Workplace Health and Safety Management Systems?

Finalist - State Water Corporation, New South Wales bulk water delivery provider was a finalist in this category. They won this recognition due to a process that started in 2009 when their leadership team moved from just complying with health and safety laws and regulations to making such concerns “an integral part of the organisation’s corporate culture”.

They did so by creating a Work Health and Safety Management System Procedural Manual.  In addition to this, they also improved the safety training in the "induction and orientation of new workers" as well as increased auditing processes.  And, importantly, senior management was involved in this health and safety system. 

The take away from this is that to truly reduce accidents, lost time, and workplace claims, health and safety cannot be just a look at the laws and then trying to comply with them. Workplace health and safety has to become an integral part of the company’s culture and organisation. It also has to have strong support from the top and participation at all levels of a company.

The winner in this category was VEC Civil Engineering Pty Ltd. “a leader in bridge design and construction, road and rail work, civil construction, water infrastructure and steel fabrication services in Tasmania.” What did they do to win this recognition?

VEC integrated various procedures, documents, databases and other resources into one consistent HSEQ system. The HSEQ system embraces new technology, reflects the organisation’s current operations and is flexible enough to handle future growth. The new system has also seen the inclusion of VECSAFE, an electronic version of the HSEQ software management system.

VEC went beyond mere compliance to incorporate health and safety into their organisation’s operations and structure. They invested time and money and resources to create a system to allow them to create and maintain a safer workplace.

Looking at all of these finalists and the winner, you see that they all went beyond just trying to comply with the laws regulating workplace health and safety. What they excelled at is the integration into their corporate structure and made it an integral component of doing business. The leaders committed to making health and safety management an essential part of their organisation and not just a compliance matter. Then they worked to make sure that health and safety was not only the responsibility of senior management, but also the responsibility of every worker.

In addition to looking at the laws, look at other companies to see how they implement and meet these laws. How you do it is important if you wish to create a strong and beneficial health and safety management system. Contact us to learn more about how you can achieve this.

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