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Small changes and engaging workers boosts safety

Businesses can often achieve great results in improving health and safety by encouraging engagement between workers and management and making small changes in the workplace.

That's the experience of a family owned business in Maryborough after completing a program with the Queensland Government's Injury Prevention and Management (IPaM) program. A joint initiative between Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and WorkCover Queensland, IPaM works with employers to improve their work safety management systems,and, in doing so cut their workers' compensation premium.

For more than 20 years, Modsel Pty Ltd has been designing and manufacturing essential patient transport, procedure stretchers and other specialised trolleys for the healthcare industry. In 2017, Modsel Pty Ltd self-referred to IPaM after hearing of the benefits from another local business.

Although the company already had a safety management system in place, they needed assistance to make improvements to reflect their current business activities. For them, the focus was on how to get everyone involved and successfully engage with employees.

Since commencing the program, Health and Safety Manager David Rowland has been impressed with the work done by his team improving the safety culture through increased worker consultation and communication.

“Since embarking on this journey, everyone has a more disciplined approach to safety and has taken an increased interest in the safety KPI's set,” David said.

“We've noticed safety has become a more meaningful conversation when implementing changes in the workplace environment and has resulted in changes which have made areas safer and more enjoyable to work in, leading to an increase in morale among staff.”

Both workers and managers take part in monthly workplace inspections, which are the basis of a monthly Safety Conformance Report. Workers were involved in the risk management reviews to update their procedures.

Accounts Manager Milly Archers said, “Initially workers were hesitant to say too much but as time progressed, they became more relaxed and really took ownership of the process”.

An information board in a highly visibly location keeps safety in focus. Everyone can see the results of the monthly workplace inspections, as well as general safety information and the Safe Work Procedure of the Month.

Whole of business monthly team meetings provide a platform for the workforce to acknowledge its safety achievements together.

For Modsel, participation in IPaM was all about improving its existing safety system rather than decreasing injury rates. Late last year, Modsel achieved 100 per cent in itsSafety Conformance Report.

Further information

To get your workplace safety on the mend or just to better look after your workers, go to www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/injury-prevention-safety/injury-prevention-and-management