Enviable health and safety landscapes

Find out how 2017 SafeWork NSW Award winners, Sailfish Catamarans and Port Stephens Council, have built their workplace health and safety culture.

Construction worker on road

Sailfish Catamaran

Established in 1993 and based in Alstonville in northern NSW, Sailfish Catamarans builds aluminium boats. From a staff of two producing five boats a year, the company has grown to a staff of 19 full time tradesmen and apprentices building about 30 custom-built catamarans a year. Today, it is a successful manufacturing and exporting business.

It is also the envy of many small businesses, having won the 2017 SafeWork award for excellence in workplace health and safety culture for small business.

‘It’s a great achievement,’ said Ian Drew, Purchasing and Administration Officer.

‘We’ve come a long way and everyone’s on board with our new culture.’

The company is proud of its young workforce and employs a new apprentice every year – and from day 1 a safety culture is embedded. New employees are taught the company’s values, what they will learn, work ethic and workplace expectations.

This, coupled with a no bullying policy and apprentice buddy system, allows everyone to understand and own their responsibilities in the workplace.

The owner, Darren Foster, says the company has undergone significant cultural change in its commitment to health and safety. There is now an open door policy with all senior management regarding health and safety issues, and daily tool box talks in which all mangers participate.

The company’s consultation process recently resulted in new equipment being introduced to address risks associated with working at heights.

Today, Sailfish Catamarans boasts a dynamic workforce that is committed to safety.

Port Stephens Council

Testament to Port Stephens Council’s outstanding safety culture is a work health and safety audit score exceeding other regional councils by more than 20 per cent.

The council is also the winner of the 2017 SafeWork award for excellence in workplace health and safety culture for large business.

The council boasts 13 health and safety representatives, plus deputies, a hazard ID app, a dedicated safety page on its intranet, health and safety noticeboards, ergonomic assessments, safety alerts, monthly newsletters, and a health and wellness program.

The general manager attends induction sessions for new employees and chairs health and safety committee meetings, and all senior managers are required to do two field visits every month.

The results speak for themselves: premiums are down 50 per cent over the past seven years; cost of claims are about half that of other councils; the number of claims have fallen almost 50 per cent over the past six years; and the council scored over 96 per cent in a work health and safety audit, compared with about 75 per cent for other councils.

Read more about the SafeWork NSW Awards.

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