Safety Champions

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Expressway Spares have been named 2022 Safety Champions, taking home the win in the inaugural Work Health and Safety (WHS) Excellence Showcase.

The Work Health and Safety (WHS) Excellence Showcase, which was formerly known as the SafeWork Awards, recognises the hard work of employees and businesses in setting new standards in outstanding work health and safety management.

Attracting entries from a range of industries and regions, not only do the finalists and Champions demonstrate Work Health and Safety best practice, they also display an innovative mindset and willingness to implement real behaviour change.

Expressways Spares took home the win in the category for ‘Outstanding Solution to a Work Health and Safety Risk – Large Business (non-government)’. We caught up with Expressway Spares HSEQ Manager Gary Bowyer to learn how the business made it their mission to support the health and safety of their workforce.

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Gary shared how it all started a few years ago when Expressway Spares introduced a new standardised risk assessment checklist book to the workplace. It listed all the typical workplace hazards and their controls (mostly admin and PPE controls) and required each individual to complete the checklist on a daily basis for the work they were performing.

“Like many risk assessment processes, it lacked engagement and soon became a ‘tick and flick’ with most workers admitting there was limited value in the process,” said Gary.

“Whilst it met all the requirements for WHS, it was clear to us that it could be improved. Health and safety is very important to us so we decided to overhaul our processes so we could further mitigate the risks to our workers.”

Senior staff and Gary consulted with the workforce and management to identify alternate processes that would engage the workforce, welcoming all ideas.

“One team member suggested the use of whiteboards as they are visible in the workplace (not stored away in a cupboard after completion) and additionally, would involve the team as a whole. It was from this suggestion that our new Risk Assessment Process evolved.”

The new Expressway Spares system encompassed more than just ‘tick and flick checklists’. They simplified the language used for the entire Risk Assessment Process, as this would take into consideration that their less experienced workers such as apprentices. Each work group identified their work area critical risks and their controls which were provided on to a permanent sign in each work area which is reviewed weekly, and where a change is introduced, the team risk assess the change on the whiteboard and record this in a different colour marker.

“Since its introduction Expressway Spares have already experienced significant declines in injuries and other areas such as warranty claims,” said Gary.

“Another great outcome is that all our workers are more engaged and able to explain the risks associated with the work they are performing and how they are managing these risks. They are empowered to be proactive about safety across all of our operations. It’s led to a real safety first attitude.”

Following on from the success of the new Risk Assessment Process, Expressway Spares entered a submission into the Showcase. Gary and workshop foreman Matthew Hutchison attended the Awards Ceremony where they thrilled to be named winners.

“The win really validates our commitment to WHS at Expressway Spares and how much we value the health and safety of our workforce. While it was just Matt and I there to receive the award, it would not have been possible without the involvement and continued dedication of all our staff,” said Gary.

Well done and congratulations to everyone at Expressway Spares. It’s great to see them setting new benchmarks in work health and safety innovation and we hope it encourages more companies to follow.

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