JT Property Wash
Boosting health and safety has taken business to a whole new level for a building maintenance company. Over the past two years, JT Property Wash has taken on the commercial abseiling market, landing several contracts with major New Zealand companies.
Chief Executive Justine Tupara says they would never had had the confidence to expand into the higher-risk field of work without first improving their understanding of health and safety legislation and best practice.
“Working at those heights used to scare the living daylights out of us, but we made the call to give it a go and really amp up our health and safety.”
“We’ve found that as long as we have the right people with the right attitudes and we are all onboard with making sure we are all working as safely as possible, it isn’t actually scary at all.”
Justine says the decision has taken them into a whole new league, transforming the company into a multimillion-dollar business with a team of 14 nationwide contractors and a specialist abseiling crew.
“Now we have the ability to make sure that we are getting all that business. That doesn’t come if we are not invested in health and safety, so we’ve put a lot of money, time and investment into improving.”
A strong believer in leading by example, Justine has made health and safety a key focus of her own development, enrolling in NEBOSH courses, taking an ICAM accident and investigation course and completing several Site Safe training courses. She also travels the country regularly to undertake random health and safety audits personally.
In addition, the company has rolled out a range of new safety initiatives, including specialist height rescue training, an online cloud-based tool for safety documentation and hazard identification, regular independent site audits, fortnightly Toolbox Talks and SiteWise “Green” level prequalification. They have also introduced a new “contractor of the year award” which includes a strong incentive for near-miss reporting.
“It’s important that we are always looking for improvements and I think trying to lead by example has really resonated for us as a small team.”
Justine says the company is always looking for safer, more innovative ways to work and has recently invested in a fully-automated building wash machine. The first of its kind in New Zealand, the robotic cleaning device can be remotely controlled and operated safely from the roof and the ground, removing the need for people to work at height.
Justine says a pivotal part of the company’s journey to improving health and safety has been the willingness of the team’s contractors to get on board with the changes.
“Our team of contractors are really, really invested in what they do. They take pride in their jobs and believe in making sure they do it safely because they all have families that they want to go home to at the end of the day.”
"Trying to lead by example has really resonated for us as a small team.”