Positive company culture is the cornerstone to stellar health and safety, says Wellington health and safety manager Denise Dunne.
Denise, who works for PCL Contracting, said the civil contracting company was thrilled to learn they had received a perfect SiteWise prequalification score two years running.
SiteWise, an online prequalification tool which grades a contractors’ health and safety capability and publishes it in a database for main contractors to view, was a great way “one stop shop” for companies like PCL to showcase their strong health and safety systems and processes, Denise said.
“It’s great to have one place where you can direct people for that information, rather than having to keep providing it.”
She attributes the 100 per cent ratings to PCL’s focus on company culture.
“A couple of years ago we began a journey of culture change within the company, starting at a management level and then progressing to the supervisors and finally but most importantly the rest of the team. For us, it’s definitely all about having a team culture where safety is integral to everything we do.”
“In an environment where robust health and safety practices are integral in getting contracts it is important that we have the buy in from the whole team”
“There can be elements within a culture that can lead to a toxic attitude and to an ‘us and them’ feeling. We’ve worked hard to close that gap so that we are all working together as a team.”
Denise said introducing a company ethos based on the acronym CRASH: Communication, Respect, Attitude, Support and Honesty had helped achieve that. And, with the help of Norm Hewitt as “Keeper of the Culture”, PCL have managed to redevelop their company culture and align it with the CRASH principles.
The company has since introduced a raft of measures to improve its health and safety, including:
- An open-door policy between management and workers
- Monthly Health and Safety Awards as nominated by co-workers for going the extra mile in Health and Safety
- Targets to increase near miss and damage reporting so processes can be improved constantly
- Visits from a physio to demonstrate correct techniques for manual handling
- Workers reporting early signs of discomfort are sent straight to physio
- Discounted flu jabs
- Health and safety reporting displayed to workers
- Election and training of health and safety representatives who will host the regular health and safety meetings
- A reinduction day to kick off each new year focusing on the areas where the greatest improvement can happen – includes stretching exercises, health checks with a nurse, reviewing Safe operating procedures and finishing with a team building exercise to start the guys year off by working together e.g. building a waterslide
- Adding healthy options such as salad and vegetable dishes to meetings and functions
- Offering workers additional help with meal planning and budgeting
Since making the changes, PCL has noted an increase in near miss reporting and workers being more proactive about identifying improvements.
“It’s made such a difference – we’ve got a workforce of people who want to come to work because they enjoy it and get real satisfaction from what they do.”
"It’s definitely all about having a team culture where safety is integral to everything we do.”