National awards recognise excellence in OHS

Tuesday, 24 April, 2007

The winners of the national Safe Work Australia Awards 2006 were announced at a ceremony at Old Parliament House last night.

Thirty-three finalists from across Australia competed for this year's awards, covering a range of industries from both the public and private sectors.

More than 180 people attended the awards dinner, including government and ASCC representatives, past awards finalists, industry representatives and OHS professionals.

The awards were presented by the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, the Hon Joe Hockey MP and the Chairman of the ASCC, Bill Scales.

Speaking at the ceremony last night, Scales commended all the finalists for their dedication to making Australian workplaces safer. "Organisations and individuals who won an award tonight can be very proud of this national recognition of their commitment to health and safety in their workplace."

The Ausclad Group of Companies won the Best Workplace Health and Safety Management System award. Its committed approach towards the health and safety of its employees, subcontractors and visitors is demonstrated through the implementation and continuous improvement of its corporate health, safety and environmental (HSE) management system.

"The judging panel believes that if the Ausclad Group of Companies continues on this path, in 12 months it will be considered exceptional in its field," Scales said.

SA Country Fire Service won the Best Solution to an Identified Workplace Health and Safety Issue award with its design of the CFS 34, a rural fire appliance.

Crew protection in the case of burn overs is paramount. The SA Country Fire Service embarked on a journey of continuous improvement with its main focus being to address crew safety and ergonomic issues on appliances. The evolving outcome is the 2006 CFS 34 (meaning 3000 litre, four-wheel drive), which has been innovatively designed and is considered best practice in its field.

The Best Workplace Health and Safety Practices in Small Business award was won by Peter Bradford of PW & CJ Bradford, a farmer and member of the rural fire brigade from Western Australia.

Moving water can be heavy and hazardous especially after hours of fighting fires, so after various difficult experiences in transporting water, Peter invented a portable aluminium standpipe system for filling tanks from overhead.

"Peter's portable aluminium standpipe system is a practical, low-cost solution to hazards. The idea is original, innovative and very cost effective," Scales said.

"The system is now being used effectively in many other rural areas and has reduced the hazards associated with transferring water to a significant degree."

Robert Petrovski from TNT Australia won the Best Individual Contribution to Workplace Health and Safety award for contributing above and beyond what was expected of him as an OHS representative.

"Robert implemented a number of initiatives to improve safety and influence the right behaviours at TNT Australia," Scales said.

"A dramatic change in the company's performance has since been recorded."

The 2006 national Safe Work Australia Award winners were chosen by a judging panel made up of five representatives from the Australian Safety and Compensation Council.

The full list of winners and finalists is available at www.ascc.gov.au.

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