Lifting safety awareness to new heights

Crown Equipment Pty Ltd

Sunday, 01 March, 2015



Lifting safety awareness to new heights

With diverse work environments comes a multitude of different issues that can affect workers and their safety on the job. Recognising this, and with the aim of decreasing workplace incidents, Crown Equipment has focused on developing courses and initiatives that make its safety messages personal and relevant.

Over the last four years, Crown Equipment has developed safety courses and initiatives that have dramatically reduced the incidents of injury in all areas of its operations. One main measurement of this is that Crown’s Medical Treatment Injury (MTI) rate has been reduced by 60% in the last four years. Another measurement of safety success is that Crown’s current lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) figure stands at just 0.6 injuries per million hours worked.

Achieving these results has involved programs and initiatives that work across all staff situations, coupled with other activities that focus on issues relating to specific sections of the workforce. Overseeing these Crown programs is Anthony Keating, national manager safety, risk, environment and quality.

“Engaging with staff on safety issues is not a one-size-fits-all equation. It requires making the message personal and making it relevant, so our approach over the last four years has been multifaceted,” said Keating.

In 2014, the Crown team undertook a government-structured online health check with specialists from NSW Health. This program was run across all of the company’s facilities throughout Australia and gained a massive response with hundreds of employees completing the program.

“National initiatives such as the online health check run by NSW Health are great for companies such as Crown, which have people not just in the major capital cities but regional centres right around the country. These programs extend the individual’s engagement by focusing on general health and wellbeing rather than just workplace safety. For us, a healthy workforce is a more productive and more satisfied workforce,” said Keating.

Crown promoted the online health check by emailing all employees with a fact sheet about the program and the log-in details to the government website. For Sydney employees without access to a computer, Crown arranged for medical practitioners from NSW Health to come to Crown’s head office and explain the health check, as well as assist employees to complete the health check on paper.

Most recently, Crown ran its annual Safety Week program. Each year the company looks at a particular segment of the workforce and engages with them to think more closely about safety in their specific work environment. To broaden the appeal of the Safety Week program, Crown also runs a Safety Week drawing competition, where children of employees are invited to submit drawings about safety at work, with the best 12 used as artwork for the next year’s Crown Safety Calendar.

“When we introduced Crown Safety Week for the first time in 2011, we focused on one area of improvement, which was reporting all safety hazards. Since then we have kept the same strategy, by focusing on one area of improvement, and in 2012 we introduced the Cardinal Safety Rules and last year we focused on hand safety,” said Keating.

As part of its latest Safety Week, the focus was on manual handling with safety messages conveyed via daily emails to over 500 staff. This was supported by the release of e-learning training programs on manual handling to help Crown employees understand the risks and hazards associated with the tasks they perform.

Each day’s email included a safety quiz with daily prizes awarded for the best answers to the questions.

“We received more than 200 quiz responses over the week, which indicated that we were engaging very strongly and meaningfully with our employees on such an important issue,” said Keating.

Crown is convinced that safety messages are getting through to employees and that the employees are putting a focus on safety, because for the fourth year in a row there have been no MTI or LTI incidents during Safety Week.

According to Greg Simmonds, managing director, Australia, safety is a key driver of productivity.

“Companies invest thousands of dollars in making sure their equipment is well maintained, well utilised and operated appropriately. They do this to optimise equipment uptime, maximise equipment life and increase overall productivity. Yet too few companies apply this same principle, to the same extent, to their employees. At Crown, we know that looking after employees and assisting them in looking after themselves and each other is a winning approach,” said Simmonds.

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