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Brisbane City Council

Category eight – Best demonstrated leadership in work health and safety

Brisbane City Council (BCC) is the largest local government in Australia, employing 8000 staff.

In 2004, BCC introduced its Zero Harm policy. By 2008, its lost time injury frequency rate had halved and an employee survey revealed an increase in personal responsibility for safety. However, by 2009 it became clear that improvements in safety performance had plateaued and the then CEO was looking for ways to revitalise Zero Harm and continue reductions in injuries and associated lost time.

Research revealed that further progress required the company to restructure the way it managed work health and safety to include a more holistic approach. BCC developed and offered targeted wellness interventions to Council work areas, rewrote its Zero Harm policy to expand its commitments to worker wellness, and created an organisational standard within the Zero Harm management system to outline Council's approach to managing employee wellbeing.

Brisbane City Council
Brisbane City Council workers stretching before work

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Film – Brisbane City Council

On Screen Text

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