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Barry Bros Specialised Services Pty Ltd (Toxfree Australia)

Toxfree Solutions Ltd

Barry Bros Specialised Services, a subsidiary of Toxfree Australia, offers a range of waste management and industrial services including; vacuum loading, hydro jet cleaning, hydro demolition of concrete, industrial cleaning of drag lines and heavy mining equipment, and all types of waste collection and transport.

In recent years, Barry Bros experienced a high rate of workers' compensation claims associated primarily with musculoskeletal injuries. The company identified the need to improve their work health and safety management systems and started making positive changes to address the issues.

In 2011, Barry Bros was invited to participate in the Injury Prevention and Management (IPaM) program, designed to help businesses develop better work health and safety, and injury management systems. The company viewed its participation in IPaM as a way to get additional assistance to continue making positive changes and further improve its workers' compensation performance and management of work health and safety.

The process

The Barry Bros leadership team worked with an IPaM advisor to complete a safety systems assessment, an onsite inspection and a safety climate survey.

The company developed a business improvement plan incorporating the assessment findings and including system changes such as:

  • implementing a national manual tasks initiative for all staff, involving task based assessments and training
  • implementing and reviewing the quality environment, safety and training (QUEST) system to improve the in-house integrated health and safety systems
  • improving consultation with staff through monthly QUEST meetings
  • developing a risk assessment tool, Step Back 5*5, to help workers identify work health and safety problems and find solutions before starting work on-site
  • reviewing work method statements to ensure legislative compliance
  • increasing the number of Queensland based rehabilitation and return to work coordinators
  • appointing a health safety and environment quality (HSEQ) advisor for the North East Region (which includes Queensland).

The benefits

As a result of focussing on improving their health and safety processes and implementing their improvement plan, Barry Bros has witnessed significant improvements to the levels of consultation and communication with staff, which in turn has led to an improved safety culture within the company.

In addition to improvements with their health and safety culture, Barry Bros has experienced a significant reduction to their workers' compensation premium rate and premium payable, which have both halved since 2011 to a rate that is now below the average for their industry.

Barry Bros has similarly improved their return to work measures:

  • The average number of paid days of lost time for those away from work with an injury is now only two days, compared to an industry average of 34 days.
  • The company increased days between injuries from 25 to 61.

Aside from reducing the number of injuries and getting workers back to work sooner after an injury, Barry Bros has also implemented system changes that have led to triple certification of the management systems for Quality (ISO 9001), Environment (ISO 14001) and Safety (AS 4801).

More information

This case study highlights some cost-effective and achievable steps employers can implement to improve injury management outcomes.

For more information about injury prevention and management, and resources to improve your business' injury prevention and management systems: