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2015 Safe Work and Return to Work Awards

Safe Work Awards

Brisbane City Council

Brisbane City Council reinvigorated their safety performance through restructuring the way it managed work health and safety and taking a more holistic approach.

Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 86MB)

Film – Brisbane City Council

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Paul Wyles, Manager, Organisational Wellness, Safety and Health, Brisbane City Council

Brisbane City Council serves of population of Brisbane which is about 1.1 million people, with 7500 employees. We do everything from books to buses.

In 2004, we had a safety record which we wished to improve. We set about implementing 'zero harm' as a way of capturing the hearts and minds of our employees, and that was successful.

Since then, we've developed it further by integrating into a holistic model encapsulating wellness, safety and health. We've really driven that message across the organisation. Everything from compliance and governance under the Workplace Health and Safety Act, through to the provision of wellness centres, fully equipped gyms within two of our buildings, and outreach programs where we go out to work groups across the city to assist them with programs to improve and maintain their health. And we operate the workers' compensation and rehabilitation service to get people back as quickly as possible in a sustainable way into their jobs.

By bringing in all those things together, it means that now employees can see the end-to-end process; the linkages between their own personal wellness and the safety outcomes we're trying to achieve through zero harm.

There's a clear commitment by executive management team and the chief executive that zero harm is a priority, and that if we can't do it safely we don't do it at all.

I think across Queensland generally we're seen as a market leader in this area and we take every opportunity we can to tell people about what it is we do and the impact that's having. About 60 percent of our employees have engaged in wellness interventions and activities over the last 12 months. We've seen our lost time injury frequency rate drop from around 16 per cent to around five per cent in the last three years. Our savings for workers compensation against an actuarial assessment run in the region of 13 million dollars. And we've seen about a 30 per cent reduction in our lost time injuries.

I think all employees recognise the benefits the organisation provides in wellness, safety and health and how that helps them stay healthy and safe in the workplace.

On Screen TextRUN TIME: 2 min 16 sec

McNab Constructions

McNab Constructions have developed a phone app to address under-reporting of hazards and near misses on construction sites. They are sharing the app across industry and providing it free through app stores.

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Film – McNab Constructions

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John Martinkovic, HSEQ Manager, McNab Constructions

My name's John Martinkovic and I'm the health safety and environment and quality manager at McNab.

We started off in general construction, but more recently we're involved in civil projects as well as environmental projects for a range of clients.

Michael McNab saw the opportunity for improving our hazard reporting as a company. It was quite clear to see that every time we had really good hazard reporting, we had a corresponding reduction in the number of medical treatment injuries. So Michael and the executive, when I presented to them the opportunity to improve our hazard reporting using a phone app, were 100 percent behind that.

The Lookout app is aimed at improving the rate of hazard and near miss reporting. We found that workers typically are reluctant to report, because they don't like filling out paperwork. By developing this app, we're removing that barrier and making it a lot easier, and also giving us more real time information.

The app starts when a worker comes to site. Then they scan a unique scramble code, which identifies them being on a particular project, and once they get on site it's a simple process then of selecting either that there's a hazard they're seeing, or something that was really close in hurting someone. They select that function, take a photo, type in a few words to describe what happened and then tell us whether it's now been made safe or it still needs fixing, and press submit, and that then goes through to the project team, and the safety advisor for the job to respond to.

We consulted with the Paraplegic Benefit Fund as part of developing the app as well. We felt that an organisation like the Paraplegic Benefit Fund were instrumental or important to convey the message of 'why do we bother with hazard reporting and near miss reporting'.

The workers on site have embraced the app. They find it very easy to use—three buttons to press, take a photo, submit—so they like the fast pace of being able to tell us about something that goes wrong. The challenge for us is keeping up with that pace.

McNab is sharing the app across industry. It is freely available through the Apple store and also for Android users, so any small business or any business can actually use it.

The app has really benefitted McNab's safety culture. It's really taken the level of hazard reporting and the whole attitude of all of our workers and all of our staff around hazard reporting to another level. So we're seeing a lot more information coming through, and seeing a lot more attention to detail from our sites. And we couldn't be happier with that approach.

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RUN TIME: 2 min 54 sec

MiniMovers Pty Ltd

MiniMovers have achieved signification reduced its injury claims rate and cost by focusing on improving safety communication and consultation and a number of other measures.

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Film – MiniMovers Pty Ltd

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Catherine Spellacy, General Manager,  Human Resources, MiniMovers Pty Ltd

My name's Catherine Spellacy and I'm the General Manager for Human Resources. My role is the overall responsibility for both health and safety and human resources within MiniMovers.

When I joined the company at the end of 2009, they had incorporated an external provider, had undertaken some cost cutting exercises and the owners had moved away for a couple years from the business. All of these changes had, unfortunately, an adverse effect on safety.

Senior management have played a key role in leading the safety initiative over the last few years, by bringing back the knowledgeable staff and personalising our service, our incident management, rehabilitation and reporting elements of the business.

All in all the communication has been something that has really improved within the organisation. The owner of the business, Mike O'Hagan, came back into the business and we made a decision to promote two of the long term staff. One of the key players in that was Sandra Wilkes, with over 23 years knowledge and experience. This had an immediate effect. She then handled all of the incident management, rehabilitation and reporting elements of the company, so we no longer use an external provider. It was now run by someone who knew the guys.

Other initiatives we've done is we've introduced what we call an in-truck terminal. As you can imagine in furniture removing, there's a lot of issues with carting things up and down stairs, where to park, making sure that the cones are out and so forth. They can then use their tablets and with that tablet they can take a photo of any risks and so forth or explain what happened, which helps in the investigation.

One of the major initiatives of MiniMovers is to provide a fully cooked breakfast to all employees, seven days a week. Once a month, we also have what we call the 'big breakfast', and that's a bit more formalised. We use the big breakfast also an as opportunity for reward and recognition.

MiniMovers had the opportunity to be a lead contributor in the formation of the Certificate III in furniture removals. Our contribution on that included assessment areas, training modules and so forth, and we are very pleased to announce that in 2014 this came to fruition and we now have a nationally accredited certificate.

Without everyone's support across the entire business, we would not have the success that we have now. For example, our claims have reduced from 47 a few years ago down to 22. We currently have no common law claims and our incidents have reduced. And when I say they've reduced, our reporting has gone up, which is what you want, you want to hear from the people if there's an injury, but our medically treated injuries have fallen dramatically.

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RUN TIME: 3 min 16 sec

Andrew Ryan

Andrew Ryan from Patrick Stevedoring developed the Ryan Key, which reduces the risks for stevedores dealing with faulty twist locks, which are mechanisms that lock shipping containers together.

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Film – Patrick Stevedoring Pty Ltd

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Andrew Ryan, Crane Operator, Patrick Stevedoring Pty Ltd

My names Andrew Ryan, I work for Patrick, at the Patrick automated terminal at Fisherman Islands.

The Ryan Key was developed through necessity to mitigate the risks for stevedores whilst dealing with problematic twist locks. Twist locks are mechanisms that lock the containers to containers or deck fixtures on the ship. For years, stevedores have dealt with twist locks in a range of different ways. We never had any designated tool to address the problem. Many times stevedores have to physically go in to this high risk environments and hold the twist locks open, so they're interacting with a crane that's potentially taking a 20, 30 or a 50 tonne lift. If things go wrong it's not a safe environment to be in.

So it was a matter of sitting down and identifying all of these risks, putting them together and coming up with a solution, and that was the Ryan Key.

Through the application of the Ryan Key, we're actually controlling that environment now. It enables the guys to fit the key in place, then retreat from the area. They're no longer in that high risk environment.

To come up with the solution of the Ryan Key, I followed the hierarchy of controls. To eliminate the twist locks was something we just couldn't do. They're owned by the shipping company and are an integral part of the operation and containers wouldn't stay on board vessels without twist locks. Could we substitute them? No, they needed to be there. So, the next step was to have an engineering control.

When I initially came up with the concept of the Ryan Key I approached Patrick management and spoke with them about the risk and coming up with a solution. I then engaged with my senior leaders, the guys that have been here longer than anybody, and discussed with them the idea and the concept of the key. They were more than supportive. The Ryan Key has been implemented throughout Australia for Patrick and also Asciano with their stevedoring companies in New Zealand.

Feedback I've received from the industry, from the guys on the job and in the workplace, is that just how simple and how easy it is for them to use. Once they were familiar with what the issues really are and how simple it is to address them, the benefits through safety and productivity has been huge for all of them.

I would definitely say I'm proud of what I've achieved with the Ryan Key, through the reduction in risk that people face on their job day to day. Knowing that people are going to go home safely, yeah, it's definitely very rewarding.

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RUN TIME: 2 min 38 sec


RoadTek have developed an electrical cable pulley system to increase worker safety when replacing traffic signal cabling. The system reduces the risk of a manual handling injury and physical exertion, as well as the need to work at height for extended periods of time.

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Film – RoadTek

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David Packwood, RoadTek Electrical Crew Member:

My names David Packwood, I work for civil construction at RoadTek.

One of our main jobs is specifically pulling up traffic cables up the traffic poles, and it's pretty intense work.

One night shift, we have a massive job to do of re-cabling. And what was happening was they were getting on ladders, and it's looking dangerous already, just getting up on ladders, and they were trying to pull heavy traffic cable up while balancing on a ladder. And I thought 'this is a very dangerous situation for the people working there'.

So I went home, and I actually built the cable pulley system to go on top of the post. So therefore the blokes actually pull up the cables, once they've mounted the little invention, from the ground, so they don't have to worry about hurting their backs or anything like that.

Bill Lansbury, General Manager, RoadTek:

Individuals know the things that are dangerous in their daily activities. So the highlight for me was that it was identified as a hazard, the guys have actually gone away, thought about a better way to do it, and come up with a very simple idea. And that just makes it so much better because they own it, they use it and they'll do it.

Senior management across our organisation, RoadTek, within Transport and Main Roads, is always keen to ensure that any of these sorts of ideas, particularly that the field workers come up with, are shared across the wider organisation. We have about 1200 guys involved in doing daily operational activities, so this was a typical sort of homemade idea that's now evolved into something that's going to be useful for well over 100-odd employees.

If we had a look over our last five years of ladder related or manual handling related injuries while doing this type of work, we're certainly up in the twenties or thirties sort of number of incidents of significance. Since this device has been implemented at the site on the Gold Coast, those injuries and incidents have basically reduced to zero in this particular case. So, I think if we extrapolate that across the state, I think there is a great opportunity for a more safe workplace. It's as simple as that.

David Packwood:

The jobs get done a lot safer and quicker, and everybody's happy.

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RUN TIME: 2 min 39 sec

Return to Work Awards

Lend Lease

Lend Lease developed a new injury management offering, giving their workers a sense of feeling secure and cared for, knowing that there are professionals who can assist them, and get them back to work as quickly and safely as possible. Engaging and empowering workers during their recovery, removes the stress, pressure and anxiousness that can sometimes be part of recovering from an injury or illness. The implementation of their injury management model has led to the business experiencing substantially lower claim and premium costs.

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Film – Lend Lease

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Shane Ham – Injury Management Advisor QLD/NT - Lend Lease

It's beneficial for Lend Lease to have our injured workers come back to work as soon as they're medically able. Yes, it does have financial impacts and it keeps premium costs down, nut ultimately that's not our goal, our goal is the health and wellbeing of our employees and keeping them interacting with colleagues.

Project reach was an initiative that Lend Lease implemented across the business to ensure consistency in the insurance field. This had a new injury management policy, procedure, whole heap of collateral, grab and go packs, reporting cards, 1800 toll free number for our injured workers to call. This was then reiterated with the whole injury management team in Queensland by going out to the sites and businesses, interacting with the businesses, getting to know each of the new businesses and having them get to know us.

The grab and go packs, specific for the injured workers includes claims forms, introductions to the doctors, suitable duties register, so what the job the worker does, what the critical physical factors are, alternatives to suitable duties that they can and can't do. This kind of information really helps interact with doctors and they're your allies in getting injured workers back to work.

If they're informed, the business gets the results they need as well. Where a brand new project is starting up, we try to engage local clinics, on board them with our processes, what we expect from our workers, what our system is and to see how they can help us achieve that outcome and how we can also help them minimize the work they need to put in, so we're all getting the outcomes that we want and need, to get the best result.

When we first started, we had 170 claims from all parts of the business in Queensland, and we're now down to just two claims. We've got a better culture with reporting, the injured workers are calling us because they have concerns, and would like some help and assistance, and that's what they get from calling our 1800 number.

The injury management team tries to at least get to every individual site and asset at least once a year in person. We do talk to the site managers and the asset managers over the phone, at regional conferences and they also get invited to attend our injury management national conference held once a year, and usually has around 100 to 150 delegates from around the country.

That conference gives them a conduit to our team, to let us know basically, aside from the work we do with them during the year, if there's something working well, if there's something not working well or if they've got ideas on additional things that we can do as well and it gives us a platform to go to the business as well and say, this is what we're going to do for the next twelve months and this is how we're going to help you.

Key tips for injury management and return to work would be to be consistent in how they approach the return to work topic, be consistent with the manager, and get the consistent messages out there and get the executive management on board to really drive the results.

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RUN TIME: 3 min 29 sec

Tropical Reef Shipyard

Ian has provided education to management, supervisors and workers to encourage them to embrace a positive return to work culture. By capturing each and every incident that occurs at their facility and providing proactive treatment and role modification, workers have been more willing to notify about their injury or niggling discomfort, resulting in 100 percent return to work and no lost time injuries in over 527 days.

Download a copy of this film (ZIP/MP4, 157MB)

Film – Tropical Reef Shipyard

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Ian Morrison – Return to Work Coordinator, Tropical Reef Shipyard

Tropical Reef Shipyard is the largest shipyard north of Sydney. We employ approximately 150 employees at any given time, plus we also employ sub-contractors and labour hire guys as projects ramp up and down. I think the key thing in helping guys change their attitude towards the return to work process is to involve them in every aspect of it, have an open communication with them and make sure that I communicate with them on a regular basis so we can keep up to date with any individual developments in their lives. We need to be able to build a relationship of trust with individuals so they can then know that you're actually out to look after their interests.

We set a few goals for them to achieve and some targets. Once they're met, we met with the guys and celebrated for it, so we held barbeques and parties when they reached the goals we set for them. So when you have a wife of a bloke come up to you and thank you as an individual for looking after the welfare of their husband, it really makes you feel pretty good, like, you know there's nothing more rewarding to me, then having someone come and do that.

That's a big incentive for me because when I see the positives in individual's lives, the role on effect in the family's lives, it's the motivation to carry on even when things do get a bit difficult because you feel like you're making a difference. Communication between all parties in the return to work process is the crucial thing here. You need to be able to communicate openly with the doctor as well as the worker and their supervisors, and also upper management and so involvement of each of those individuals in the process is an important aspect of getting an early return to work.

For other return to work coordinators, the best advice I can give them is to be actively involved in the return to work process and the treatment of the worker, communicate with the worker openly and honestly, talk with the doctor and work with the doctor and the worker to ensure that the outcome is positive. So the way we encourage workers to return back to work after their injury is we attend the doctor appointment with the injured worker so that the doctor understands what type of work we do, the roles that we have available for the return to work program as well as the suitable duties available. We also make sure that the worker understands that we are committed to looking after their welfare and we are not going to give them duties which is only going to further aggravate their situation so that we're all on the same page and work together for the same situation.

One of the strategies we use and what I think is very important in the return to work process is we believe in an early intervention, so even before a workers injured to the point where he needs to consult a doctor. We encourage the workers to come to their supervisor, identify times where they've got a small aggravation, which may increase if left unchecked so we modify their duties in the first instance, so that we give them time to heal and recuperate. Upper management in Tropical Reef are very supportive of the return to work process because they've see the benefits that come from the return to work process in the lowering of premiums, the increased productivity in the blokes who do the job from day to day.

I think the secret to success is to actually care about what happens to your workers, don't pretend. You've got to be real with people, people know when you're bluffing or just go through the motions of things. I'll go outside of work hours to touch base with them and make sure that they're okay, and I've offered to mow lawns for people if the worker is unable to get to work,

I'll drive to his home, pick him up and bring him to work, I'll arrange for him to get home after work. You just need to do a little bit extra, so that people understand that you really are, it's not just about work, it is about them. I guess it's just, people just need to know that you really care about them, and it's not just about your job.

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RUN TIME: 4 min 12 sec