Newslink operates newsagents and bookstores across Australia, including all major airports in Queensland. The company manages full-time, part-time and casual workers with overlapping shifts. Workers handle time-sensitive consumer goods, such as magazines and newspapers, and move them from onsite warehouses to point of purchase locations.
Newslink was invited to participate in the Injury Prevention and Management (IPaM) program in 2012, after a period of increased workers' compensation claims which led to increased business costs and WorkCover Queensland premiums.
The IPaM program is a joint initiative between Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) and WorkCover Queensland. The program assists organisations to develop better work health and safety and injury management systems.
With the assistance of an IPaM advisor, Newslink head office analysed its workers' compensation data and identified that a sizeable number of claims involved manual handling tasks. For Newslink stores in a high security environment, items often required handling multiple times as they passed through stringent screening procedures—this was an area of risk which previously had not been addressed by Newslink.
Newslink head office collaborated with its IPaM advisor to develop and implement a renewed safety management system. The system included a risk identification and management process that focused on the specific challenges of the Newslink operating environment. The renewed process now includes a hazard identification checklist that is the basis of a mandatory process completed every two months by all stores and warehouses nationwide.
The renewed process formalises engagement and communication with workers to discuss safety concerns. The feedback from Health and Safety Committee meetings has assisted Newslink management to develop and implement targeted and effective safe working procedures.
To support implementation of the safety management system, Newslink provides ongoing training to all regional and store managers. Training is then delivered to team leaders and workers. To establish the training program, the IPaM advisor provided 'train the trainer' sessions to key staff.
NewsLink has seen an improvement in workers' compensation performance, including decreasing its statutory claims costs and increasing the number of workers who return to work after an injury. There has been a decrease in manual handling injuries, which is directly attributable to the renewed safety management system.
While progress has been made, the Newslink management team acknowledges that there is still work to be done to fully embed the renewed safety management system into the organisation. This will be a continuing priority for Newslink.
For more information on the IPaM program, please visit:
- call 1300 362 128
- visit the Injury prevention and management program (IPAM) web page.