Rapid growth behind need to upgrade WHS
Rapid growth had seen Arundel’s Usher Group increase its workforce and take on more and more major projects. However, something just wasn’t right for its Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) Manager, Amanda Pennycook.
With the company experiencing exponential growth, Amanda called the Queensland Government’s Injury Prevention and Management Program for help. IPaM is a joint initiative of WorkCover Queensland and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and can be freely accessed by all employers with a WorkCover Queensland policy.
Starting out as a small-scale painting business, Usher Group provides amalgamated services, including electrical (installing solar panels), painting, rendering, maintenance and signage design and manufacture. The group also installs scaffolds, ranging from mass climbing to swing stages.
With more than 400 staff and offices around the country, geography presented a challenge and it wanted to ensure its WHS systems and processes were keeping up with its expansion. IPaM helped the Usher Group review its existing safety management systems policies, processes and procedures, and the effectiveness of these was then tested in the workplace.
Amanda said the review was very helpful, particularly for reporting issues, an area of concern previously identified by the Usher Group as site-specific reports from staff weren’t marrying up with what contractors were saying in their site inspection reports.
“Coming from a place where our on-site supervisor and safety reps’ reporting wasn’t quite up to scratch, it’s been unreal to see the improvement there,” she said.
As part of the IPaM program, Usher Group also ran a workforce safety culture survey, with staff input identifying opportunities for improvement, which complemented the earlier systems review.
One of the greatest benefits was the development of an employee assist program, with IPaM helping develop an employee assist policy. An EA facilitator now conducts site visits twice a week.
“The IPaM support has benefited everyone. I work very closely with our teams to make sure they all get home safe in the afternoons and leave work happier than they did in the morning. IPaM has helped that happen,” Amanda said.
Read more about the Injury Prevention and Management program