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Construction Safety Stars in the Spotlight at 2017 NSCA Awards


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This year’s National Safety Council of Australia awards for excellence saw many leaders in construction industry safety recognised for their innovation and dedication. The annual awards attracted 124 entrants from a wide range of industry sectors that included healthcare, government departments, agriculture, energy, and manufacturing.

The Judges’ Choice Pinnacle Award, the GIO Workers Compensation Award for Excellence in WHS, was won by specialist construction safety company, Buildsafe.

The company offers a range of products including fall prevention, edge protection, void protection, and working at heights solutions. It also provides clients with a full suite of practices and documentation that simplify implementing safety and demonstrating compliance with relevant regulations.

The annual awards attracted 124 entrants from a wide range of industry sectors. 

Buildsafe also took home the award for Best Solution of a WHS Risk (medium to large business) for a new product it developed, the Void Platform Stair System. It was designed to address the major safety issue of falls from ladders on construction sites, one of the leading causes of injury in the industry.

The system provides a void protection cover that works in conjunction with a set of stairs for unrestricted safe access.

The company was also highly commended in the Best Continuous Improvement of a WHS Management System category for an upgrade to its Safety Management System that has led to measurable improvements in every aspect of the operational side of the business.

The winner of the award for excellence in this category was tier one contractor Laing O’Rourke.

The company developed and implemented a campaign called “Next Gear” that address improvements in performance, increasing safety and building resilience.It incorporates safety messages, engagement programs, and campaigns. The three principles of Next Gear are “people are the solution, safety is the presence of positives, and safety is an ethical responsibility”.

Another leading contractor, Downer, won the award for Best Communication of a Safety Message.

Having identified contact between personnel and plant are a critical safety risk, in 2016 it rolled out a Zero Harm campaign, “Mission Possible”.Its aim was to create a “Red Zone” comprising a 10-metre separation between plant and people. To activate the concept, Downer instigated a series of presentations, practical learning, educational tools, and daily reminders. Since the Red Zone campaign, the company has seen a significant decrease in incidents involving interactions between plant and personnel.

Since the Red Zone campaign, the company has seen a significant decrease in incidents involving interactions between plant and personnel. 

The winner of the Ian Chisholm Award for the Best Individual WHS Achievement was Jamie Pickels, a Site Supervisor for Otraco International. The company is a specialist engineering firm that provides tyre maintenance solutions for the mining and civil contracting sectors.

Pickels identified a task that was a safety risk for the company’s workers, and developed a tool called “spacer plate”. Not only does it improve their safety, but also simplifies the task and makes it 30 minutes quicker to complete.

Another tier one contractor, Lendlease, took home the award for the Best Safety Leadership Program or Initiative. The company identified that conducting mobile works on a freeway posed a high risk for its staff. To minimise the chances of fatal accidents, it developed an alarm system that is triggered when speeding vehicles are detected to warn staff to take cover. Data from the alarm system is also shared to emergency services including the police.

The Award for the Best Health and Wellbeing Program went to Defence Housing Australia. 

The Award for the Best Health and Wellbeing Program went to Defence Housing Australia. DHA implemented a Prevention First WHS management system, and has recently turned the focus onto mental wellbeing in the workplace.

The psychosocial risks staff might be exposed to were analysed, and a program developed as part of Prevention First that improved employee engagement and enabled staff to be more empowered to take charge of their personal wellbeing.

The full list of other category winners and finalists can be found at the National Safety Council of Australia website.

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