Supermarket logistics operation wins top award

Press Release – Thomson Reuters
Countdown Logistics has won the Supreme Award at this year’s New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards.

The company won the health hazard category with a multi-faceted and comprehensive approach to address injuries arising from manual handling.

Awards were presented in 11 categories at a gala dinner at SKYCITY Convention Centre in Auckland last night, where an audience of over 400 celebrated the achievements of a wide variety of successful health and safety initiatives.

The awards, in their eighth year, are organised by Safeguard magazine and supported by the Department of Labour. The awards are judged by a five-strong panel representing the Department of Labour, ACC, NZ Council of Trade Unions, Safeguard, and an industry health and safety practitioner.

Convenor of judges Peter Bateman, who represented Safeguard, said the more than 120 entries reflected the diverse, creative but usually unheralded efforts of many people around the country to help ensure people at work remain safe and healthy.

The winners were:
The Supreme Award – The Department of Labour/ACC best overall contribution to improving workplace health and safety in New Zealand
Countdown Logistics, Auckland

Kensington Swan best initiative to address a safety hazard
Wellington Tunnels Alliance
The Terrace Tunnel upgrade required the tunnel to be kept open during the day while the ceiling was progressively demolished at night. A large self-driving mobile work deck shaped to the ceiling’s contours could be elevated to varying working heights as a safe and productive work platform which also helped minimise manual handling risks.

Department of Labour best initiative to address a health hazard
Countdown Logistics, Auckland
Manual handling was a major cause of sprains and strains at the Auckland Regional Distribution Centre, where some staff were each lifting more than 10 tonnes of product each day. A wide range of initiatives significantly reduced the material having to be lifted by hand. The company also worked with product suppliers to reduce pack weights.

Vitae best initiative to improve employee wellness
Electricity Supply Industry Joint Entry
(Northpower, Transpower, Top Energy, Electrix, NZ Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union)
The union had been working with the companies on education around drug and alcohol policies and recognised the issues were common to all. They collaborated on producing a training DVD to address the issue. Volunteers were auditioned to play all the parts. The short film has a strong narrative drive and highly believable characters.

NZ Safety best initiative to encourage engagement in health & safety
Refining NZ, Whangarei
Wanted to shift safety culture by making it OK for staff to exhibit safe behaviours without suffering loss of mana. Used a Safety Warrior week involving staff and their families and using former rugby and league legends. Used “crouch, touch, pause and engage” to engage staff and contractors in thinking more deeply about hazardous work.

SICK best design or technology initiative
Orica NZ Ltd, Mt Maunganui
Decided a foolproof way of delivering bulk liquid chemicals was required after incidents where tanker drivers inadvertently mixed two chemicals together. Developed a computer system using wireless technology to ensure inappropriate chemicals cannot be mixed by tracking the contents of a trailer and only allowing delivery if a positive match occurs.

Site Safe best health and safety initiative by a small business
McLeod Cranes, Mt Maunganui
Responded to a near-miss event involving the transport of steel pipe casings by leading a collaboration with clients to re-evaluate the procedures for the safe handling of casings. The result was a revised handling procedure which has improved safety and been well received in trials.
Impac best significant health and safety initiative by a large organisation
Fonterra Co-operative Group
Following a number of incidents the company sought to develop a safe, standardised method for controlling the movement of vehicles and people within 73 sites worldwide. Regional champions were challenged to identify risks and propose solutions covering entry and exit, vehicle flow, pedestrian separation, rail traffic, and loading/unloading.

ACC best leadership of an industry sector
Puataunofo “Come Home Safely”
This continually evolving multi-agency initiative has raised awareness of workplace health and safety among its target group of Pacific workers, their families and employers. Using Pacific languages and cultural norms, it delivers the safety message to manufacturing workers in a way which is meaningful and effective.

Safeguard health and safety practitioner of the year
Tony Rigg, HEB Construction, Auckland
Set up a strategic management group to sit between safety reps and senior management, which has helped drive good ideas up the line. Used a serious crane incident to produce a training DVD for the crane industry and used other incidents as learning opportunities for a wider set of stakeholders.
Ross Wilson – NZCTU most influential employee
Peter McCaw, KiwiRail, Christchurch
A remote control operator at the Middleton yard who participated in a joint committee to implement consultants’ recommendations to improve safety after several incidents. He helped establish a new safety culture at the yard and has consistently fronted the hard issues with peers and managers. He has also promoted the notion of a ‘just’ culture.

A Lifetime Achievement award was made to: Keith Stewart
The health and safety practice leader for the Department of Labour’s Southern Region, Keith’s more than 25-year service with the Department has included serving as Wellington service manager, head of the business support unit, acting national operations manager, and national support manager. He was the investigation leader for the Department’s large-scale involvement in both the IcePak coolstore fire in Hamilton and the Pike River mine explosion.

A special commendation was made to: SafeRise Platforms Ltd, New Plymouth
Designed an adjustable platform for use in rotary dairy sheds so farmers and vets can work from it with a much lower risk of developing musculoskeletal injuries. These are common because vets, in particular, spend long periods in awkward positions applying repetitive treatments. It also reduces the risk of trips, falls, and being kicked by cows.

Another special commendation was made to: Acrow Ltd, Auckland
The company built temporary seating at Eden Park for the Rugby World Cup. The project was the largest of its kind undertaken in New Zealand and required special risk management for working at unusual heights and in a relatively confined area to a tight deadline using multiple subcontractors. Delivered on schedule and without injury.

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