Marine research project wins national OHS award

Friday, 09 October, 2009

The federal government’s Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has been awarded the National Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) award for Best Workplace Health & Safety Management System for the Institute’s safety practices as part of the Scott Reef Research Project at a remote reef off the Western Australian coast. The region is expected to be economically significant to Australia as a site of future offshore energy exploration and production.

The awards recognise excellence in workplace health and safety and recipients are chosen for their demonstrated high level of passion, energy and commitment to making workplaces safer. Previous winners have included National Australia Bank, John Holland Group and Visionstream.

The project, which aims to better understand the biological and physical characteristics of an environmentally and economically significant coral reef system, has a complex array of health and safety challenges to ensure that all personnel involved are at minimal risk.

AIMS’ Co-ordinator of Health, Safety and Environment, David Williams, said: “Safety is a priority and inherent in the way we work. Of significance is the evolution of a safety culture, where everyone is encouraged - in fact empowered - to play an active role in continuously improving safety.

“The safety system was developed with significant consultation between AIMS and our main stakeholders Woodside, Riverside Marine and Arden Marine. This has provided a collaborative foundation for the research activities.”

The safety system has been in place since January 2008 and is continuously reviewed and improved. Since its implementation, a strong culture has developed among field staff, ensuring that all participants are stakeholders in the process and valued for their input.

“We are proud to say that the commitment to safety has provided a safe workplace,” AIMS CEO Dr Ian Poiner added. “We are never complacent and always vigilant, so the system is monitored and improved constantly to maintain an excellent performance.”

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