Abrasive blasting small business expanding safely
When the owners of a small business decided it was time to expand, they knew they needed help with safety management. So, they called in the Queensland Government's Injury Prevention and Management (IPaM) program.
Enviroprep Media Blasting provides mobile wet abrasive blasting and had been in operation for a year. Owner / operators Dan and Michelle already knew their main challenge was controlling how work was carried out at clients' work sites. They knew they needed robust systems in place to grow their business, but found it daunting to build their own safety management system. They decided to self-refer to the IPaM program for some free assistance.
The IPaM Evolve program was identified as the most suitable for their business. This involves an advisor reviewing hazards associated with the workplace, discussing what systems are in place and where opportunities exist, and developing an action plan for change. The review found a blurring of resources that were work-related and those that were personal, meaning some work-related hazards weren't being managed in accordance with workplace standards.
During the systems review, it was clear that Enviroprep had a good understanding of what was needed but didn't have the formal systems in place. There were also challenges working at clients' premises and managing risks outside their control. The reviews were broken up into several short meetings to work around the small business' challenging schedule. The advisor developed an action plan to guide Enviroprep on establishing:
- an onsite risk assessment process to capture risks at clients' sites
- safe work procedures for critical tasks and safety risks
- practical, but recorded training and induction for all workers.
For ongoing guidance and support, Dan and Michelle kept in regular contact with their advisor as they implemented the recommended changes. This gave them confidence that their systems were robust enough to manage risks, a confidence that was put to the test when Dan and a worker were engaged on a large project for the Sunshine Coast Council.
During the project, Council representatives and WHS inspectors arrived on site to audit the work being undertaken by contractors and subcontractors. Many contractors were removed from the job over safety breaches. However, when Enviroprep's systems and practices were reviewed, they were found to be of good quality and they got the green light to continue.
Dan and Michelle have this to say to other employers:
"After working alongside IPaM to develop our policies and procedures, we started to realise how invaluable the program is going to be for our business. The steps involved helped bring our business in line with up-to-date workplace policies and procedures, helping us grow and protect our business as well as developing an understanding of workplace health and safety."
To find out how IPaM can help your business, visit worksafe.qld.gov.au.