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Cater Care IPaM film

A short film which showcases Cater Care's work with our Injury Prevention and Management (IPaM) program and their journey in improving safety outcomes.

Download a copy of this film  (MP4,645MB)

Cater Care is a private company, catering is core to what we do. We do health care, aged care, canteen services. Just by covering those number of industries and services and the fact that our staff are actually working in other people's businesses - how do we get a common culture across our business and get a consistent message and approach and philosophy that we needed to have?

The people that work for us are really driven to do a good job and to please the customer. So for us from a safety perspective what it means is that we've had to understand that the culture is that they will put other people first.

In a typical day at work we do have significant risks, manual handling risks, slips trips and falls being a lot of kitchen based work, there's cuts and burns and abrasions.

You take examples from different departments you look at the kitchen hand utilities that work in the kitchen obviously that's a lot more upper limb intensive. They're using a lot more of their wrists and their forearms and their shoulders as part of the nature of work they do with comparison to say mine site cleaning that's a bit more of a robust role and more dynamic in terms of there's a lot more torsion and force put on the trunk so you see a lot more lumbar injuries and thoracic injuries and things like that.

IPaM stands for the Injury Prevention and Management Program so we work with businesses across Queensland to help them improve the way that they're managing safety.

It's one of the ways to help an organisation or company get on the front foot with safety so they can identify where some of their problem areas might be and then they can target those areas more specifically. If there's an incident at a workplace it can have a really profound effect on the workplace itself. It can impact morale and it can just have that flow on negative effect into the workplace.

It was at the same time that IPaM came to us as when we as a business were looking to do something differently. In its initial phase it was brought to us as a response to our premium performance. What was being experienced in the business was an increase in costs that was associated with safety. It then become very clear to us that if we continued our success we had to be successful in actially managing, reducing the costs that was associated with safety related events. And it wasn't that the business was not concerned about its people but it hadn't joined the dots.

So when I started with Cater Care, as an organisation we had already embarked on working with IPaM. To me the effect was that the organisation was more focussed on safety and more I would guess open and willing to try new things.  One of the changes we made was to create a dedicated Care Services Team. That team is responsible for supporting our people anytime that their health or wellbeing is affected.

Our initial sort of focus is to provide support for employees across the business to maintain capacity for work and also provide support for them in terms of how to best manage their health and wellbeing in being able to return to work. Also provide support to management from an organisational perspective and maintain the capacity for work and provide the support for their employees aswell.

If we didn't have the Care Services Team, workplace injuries and workplace safety would be immense, they do great work for us in managing that.

So one of the big changes for us is to change the language that we use that is show that people are more likely to change their behaviours if working towards positive outcomes. We talk about work capacity management and the focus of the conversation is very much about what capacity do you have and how can we work with you to help maintain that capacity and regain it to 100%. If an employee reports an incident we actually want to know about these things we want to know about when things don't go so well so that we can understand why and then work with them to come up with some solutions to better support them to be successful in doing their job.

To allowing them more buy in through flexibility and not too many more overarching safety procedures so to speak, we find that it sort of helps them to grow within the business rather than limit them.

They've really made that shift from being a reactive injury management project through to being now being quite a proactive work capacity project so they are really focussing on what workers can do, how they can best support them to keep them at work and that's proving to be really really successful.

When we speak about the financial benefits of doing this, you can often fall into the trap of just looking at 'what's my premium rate' but you have to look at all the other impacts you have. If we're getting much better retention of our people, that has significant financial impacts just on the cost of turnover, cost of training and retaining knowledge within the business. There's a whole range of other things. When we originally started these processes I would say there was a lot of push back but if you do it in partnership and trust that changes the whole relationship.

Every person who is working in our business has the right to work safely and happily within their job, whether they're a catering assistant or site manager or a state manager.

This program is really about working collaboratively with businesses to find out what is going to work well for them, getting to know their business, finding out about where their opportunities for improvement are and really working with them to improve the way they're managing safety and injuries.

The biggest thing you can do is think of people as the solution and build trust rather than distrust.