As featured in Hunter Headline - Why safety awards are so important

By Sarah-Jane Dunford

It can sometimes seem like there is an award ceremony for everything and anything. Which is why I was initially hesitant to launch the Hunter Safety Awards. I thought they may just get lost in the crowd.

Having been personally affected by workplace safety, I really feel I am on a mission to make safety a priority in workplaces. I want to change Australian and Hunter workplaces from having a culture of penalty, to a culture of proactive and positive approaches for workplace health and safety.

So I bit the bullet and after 18 months of planning, the inaugural awards were held in March this year, with 11 businesses chosen from over 50 finalists, presented with their awards in front of a packed room of almost 400 industry representatives and businesspeople.

The best bit about this process was getting to learn about all the amazing things local businesses and individuals are doing in relation to work, health and safety (WHS).

For example, John Holland Rail – winner of Most Innovative WHS Idea (large organisation) invented the A Frame, the first of its kind in the rail industry. It increases the working at height risk control effectiveness from a fall arrest risk control.

When using the A Frame, a worker is restrained from above by an inertia reel. This means that the worker is in as close to a fall restraint situation that can be produced in the environment. This innovation provides a control that prevents a worker falling through the infrastructure, if the worker was to trip or the structure were to collapse.

Rotacaster, the winner of the Most Innovative WHS Idea (SME), invented is a new category of hand trolley, which can fully support a load without the constant need for an operator to balance and/or carry parts of the load. It also reduces the effort and time required for most common actions associated with the use of a hand truck, while promoting better ergonomic posture during those actions.

The hand truck known as the ‘Rotatruck’ is a four-wheeled hand-truck that utilises at least two Rotacaster multi-directional wheels to form a stable small wheel-base that can fully support a broad range of load types when reclined in to the transporting position (onto all four wheels).

Submissions have already started arriving in for the 2017 awards and, once again, I am thrilled to read about WHS is being embraced by organisations and individuals.

The Hunter Safety Awards has 11 categories covering WHS leadership, management, improvement, training and innovative ideas, with submissions sought for 10 of the categories. I’ve listed the categories below and I really urge you to consider entering. The submission forms are not too complex – we just want to know what you’ve done! Just make sure you get your completed criteria in by 4 November 2016.

Click here to download the criteria.