Sky Mason Developments

The Sky Mason Developments team won the MSA Leadership Award (small business) category for 2014. This is their story on how two contractors successfully led and influenced a culture of health and safety.

For more information on our awards visit our Health and Safety Awards page.  


Sky Mason Developments is a small innovative company in Tairua that carries out building, sub development, construction, fishing charters and tree felling.

A small company of 20 employees, two individuals emerged as keen and avid advocates for excellence in health and safety; Tony Cameron and Manu Wright, contractors to Sky Mason Developments.

Despite being contractors, they voluntarily took on the role of Health and Safety Supervisors on 297C Main Road Tairua – a large area of land about to be sub divided for low density urban dwelling. They were initially approached to drop over 200 old man pines, however they utilised much of Sky Mason Developments machinery, tools and employees to assist them in this huge undertaking. Tony and Manu used their experience in the Arboriculture Industry to set in place the overall task analysis, planning, hazard registers and all other health and safety requirements and training. 


After the purchase of a large area of undulating farm and bush land for sub developing and building houses, Sky Mason Developments needed to clear the land of over 200 fully grown pine trees. These pines were located on a steep hillside which was also very slippery, which made for a high risk job ahead. Tree felling is risky at the best of times; however it was clear that there needed to be strong planning and safety measures put in place for the project ahead. The overall goal was to drop the trees, remove and dispose of them and clean up the site. This needed to be done in the safest possible manner while up skilling employees and encouraging ownership over health and safety in the workplace, and creating an environment where employees could feel confident and safe.

What did they do?

Tony and Manu took it upon themselves to become very familiar with the Site Safe Health and Safety Policy adopted by Sky Mason, and applied all company standards and policies to the project. Having come from the arboriculture industry, Tony and Manu used and shared their expertise to put in place additional health and safety standards where required, ensuring the safety plan was tailored to the projects specific tasks and environment.

Hazards on site were identified on a regular basis, taking into account all workers and visitors on site. The hazard register was updated and signed by employees on a daily basis to ensure everyone on site was aware of any potential hazards and safety requirements. Tony and Manu were vigilant in ensuring hazard registers were signed daily and updated regularly, task analysis followed and when required they were reviewed and amended.  All staff were trained appropriately to ensure levels of competency were met and sighted.  Regular tool box meetings were held where everyone could discuss the task and how it should be approached.  No new tasks were started before everyone on site was fully informed and made aware of their role.  Tony and Manu ensured everyone could voice their opinions and have their say.  That made it easy for staff to embrace the policies because they felt part of the process.  Tony and Manu made sure that any new staff or visitors to the site were inducted appropriately. PPE was regularly checked and certified; everything from footwear, ensuring adequate hydration, sun block, fair breaks and regular stock checks of first aid kits.  Any employee not adhering to safety practices was approached and re-educated in an encouraging way, which meant lessons were voluntarily taken on board. 

Their enthusiasm was contagious and this coupled with their ideas, communication skills and excellent rapport with all staff ensured the entire project was a success Tony and Manu’s experience and knowledge of the arboriculture industry and their passion for safety created a place of work that people wanted to come to, do the job and know that all possible care was taken to ensure a safe working environment where training and PPE was provided for all aspects of the job.  A work place that had accountability and safety was a team effort, not just a company policy.  Tony and Manu were true leaders of health and safety for Sky Mason Developments and they took the company’s safety culture and ethos to whole new levels.  Now the entire company follows and adheres to the same standards.


As a result of all of the above, over 200 mature old man pines were dropped, the site cleared and the overall project at that stage completed.  Only one minor incident was recorded (a contusion from a swinging branch in the face of a worker – bruising and a bit of swelling).  The incident reminded staff how important Health and Safety at all times is, even after the tree has been dropped.  Tony and Manu ensured that the task analysis and hazard registers were updated, a tool box meeting was held to discuss the incident and the injured worker received all rehabilitation support and care, and was back at work two days later. 

As the terrain was very steep there was the potential for many more incidents.  Hazards included men up trees, an excavator in use and large tractor operating in close proximity, quad bikes operating, vehicles, ground workers and spotters.  Without Tony and Manu’s leadership and without the willingness of the workers to take on board the ethos and embrace the policies set in place, the entire operation would not have been nearly as successful.

Outcomes and benefits

There were two key benefits; a major part of the sub development project was completed safely and a higher level culture of health and safety was embraced by the entire company.

Two men made not just a visible difference to the landscape, but a visible difference in all aspects of the way Sky Mason Developments operates – proving a health and safety culture can be built from the ground up.  Everyone takes ownership of their own health and safety but also the safety of the person next to them.

Through Tony and Manu, Sky Mason Developments was put on the map at the last Site Safe Awards Ceremony by winning a judges special award for leadership in the work place.  Rochelle, HR Administrator of Sky Mason Developments states “This award takes centre place in our main office and is a constant reminder to be proud of not just what we accomplished but what it stands for”. 

Even though Tony and Manu have completed their part of the project and moved on, the legacy they installed continues today.  Regular reviews and updates of Task Analysis, hazard registers, PPE, competency on machinery/tools, have helped keep the rate of injury and incidents in the work place to a minimum.  Full reporting and review and updates of procedures have ensured the growing company gets better and better at Health and Safety.  Reviewing policy and government legislation at tool box meetings, training days and having a project manager/site foreman who is hands on and active in all aspects of the job, has ensured what Tony and Manu started, continues to grow. 

Sky Mason Developments embrace safety in the work place and take its importance very seriously.  Health and Safety is forever evolving and the culture Tony and Manu have installed has meant employees embrace change and look for better and safer ways to carry out tasks. 

“Looking back would we do anything differently?  Probably not.  It’s been a wonderful learning curve and we go into every challenge with poise and confidence.  As the first ever receivers of the MSA Leadership Award (small businesses), Sky Mason Developments will be proud to attend the 2016 Site Safe Awards Ceremony and look forward to supporting this year’s winners.” - Rochelle, HR Administrator, Sky Mason Developments.

For more information on our awards visit our Health and Safety Awards page.  

“Looking back would we do anything differently? Probably not. It’s been a wonderful learning curve and we go into every challenge with poise and confidence. As the first ever receivers of the MSA Leadership Award (small businesses), Sky Mason Developments will be proud to attend the 2016 Site Safe Awards Ceremony and look forward to supporting this year’s winners.”

Rochelle, HR Administrator, Sky Mason Developments