National Hide Processors (NHP) cure animal hides for tanneries around the world. Environmental conditions and work processes including manual handling and mobile plant mean that safety is a priority for NHP's Workplace Health and Safety / Human Resource Manager, Peter Ribbe.
When Peter first joined NHP he encountered many barriers to staff adopting health and safety practices. There was a lack of trust in the organisation's previous safety management, and low workforce morale.
To truly understand roles and work tasks, Peter taught himself every job conducted in the factory. This enabled him to recognise safety risks and introduce training and solutions to minimise these risks.
Peter instigated a change management regime involving everyone at NHP including:
- identifying new types of personal protective equipment and training employees in their use
- implementing a hygiene and medical treatment system to prevent skin ailments from brine
- introducing a health and wellbeing program
- recruiting new members from the factory floor to the health and safety committee (members were traditionally from management), fostering new ideas and encouraging workers to be accountable for their own health and safety
- implementing a range of solutions that helped to reduce manual handling by more than 40 per cent for hide packing staff.
Employees at NHP now feel they have a safe place to work and that their safety is a priority. This has resulted in happier employees and a strong work health and safety culture.
Peter familiarised himself with every job at National Hide Processors to understand each job's safety risks.