How Recovery Partners helped Isringhausen bring their safety culture and WHSMS up to date and into line with regulations
Isringhausen (or ISRI Seats Australia) is a German company with locations in 29 countries, including Australia. ISRI has a reputation for producing high-quality seating systems for commercial vehicles, including semi-trailers, buses and cranes, military, mining and construction vehicles. ISRI seats are now fitted as standard original equipment by three of the four truck manufacturers in Australia and ISRI seats are also fitted to 90% of new buses and coaches built in Australia. The Sydney branch of ISRI has about 15-20 employees, distributed between the office and workshop. It’s a loyal and stable workforce with mainly older employees (60+). Recovery Partners was contracted to help ISRI update their Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS) and improve their safety culture. Louis Maratheftis (Lou) was the Senior Safety Consultant appointed to assist ISRI.
Although ISRI did not have a record of safety incidents and the work of employees was considered low-risk, the company recognised that there was room for improvement in their internal safety culture. Employees had raised this with management, who agreed it was time to give safety a higher priority in their organisational culture. Their WHSMS was also fairly old and was due for an update to bring it into line with current regulations.
‘To overhaul ISRI’s WHSMS, I reviewed all the documentation, policies and procedures ISRI had and updated them as needed. I wanted to give them a Work Health and Safety Management System that was current, comprehensive and would help facilitate compliance across the board,’ Lou says. Part of this endeavour was understanding the daily work practices and tasks of the various team members and evaluating the work environments of ISRI to understand how staff interacted with them.
‘The most important thing we did to improve the safety culture at ISRI was to form a WHS Champions Committee,’ says Lou. The WHS Champions are representatives from each area of the business, including management, sales, admin and warehouse staff, and other stakeholders. ‘The WHS Champions Committee meets every three months to discuss any observations staff have made or potential safety hazards that need to be addressed. This gives all staff a forum to speak and an avenue to formally raise any concerns or questions. Because the meetings are a regular event, it keeps safety in everyone’s minds and ingrains it in their workplace practices.’
At Lou’s suggestion, ISRI now holds regular Toolbox Talks, in which one person speaks on a relevant safety topic to educate others in an informal but effective way. ‘I might run a Toolbox Talk, following a Toolbox template, about the safe operation of forklifts in the workshop, which is actually important for the whole company to understand, as there’s the movement of people in and out of both the office and warehouse environments at ISRI,’ Lou says. Toolbox Talks can also be responsive to address issues that have arisen or help train staff in a new method or procedure.
Emergency Preparedness Training
‘When I was reviewing the WHSMS, it emerged that ISRI’s Emergency Preparedness Training needed to be upgraded,’ says Lou. To do this, accurate site maps (with exit locations) needed to be drawn up, safety nominees and fire wardens appointed, first aid training conducted, and fire drills instituted. ‘ISRI is now much better equipped to respond effectively in the case of an emergency,’ Lou says. Ongoing safety training for staff means that safety continues to be prioritised throughout the organisation and established standards are upheld.
‘The team at ISRI are happy with how everything has turned out,’ says Lou. ‘They’ve seen improvements in both the safety culture and the efficiency and effectiveness of the WHSMS. It’s all operating smoothly now, and we’ll continue to conduct physical workplace inspections to ensure it stays that way. I’ll also continue to be available to ISRI if they need advice or guidance, and I’ll let them know if there are any updates they need to make, industry changes that concern them or training that needs to be refreshed.’ As far as the safety culture, including all staff members in the process of upgrading their systems and maintaining them into the future, has helped ensure buy-in and accountability across the company, says Lou. ‘Even the presence of Recovery Partners at their workplace has made a difference because it’s shown ISRI employees that their management team respects their concerns and takes their safety seriously.’
The management team also has peace of mind now because they know that they’re compliant and would be comfortable if they were audited, Lou points out. Well done ISRI, for putting in the time and effort needed to make safety a priority. Your staff and their families will thank you and your business will see the benefits of a proactive approach to risk management and hazard reduction. And thanks to Lou for your smart solutions, attention to detail and excellent customer service, as always! If you’d like Lou or another Senior Safety Consultant at Recovery Partners to help you bring your WHSMS up to date or evaluate the safety procedures in your organisation, get in touch.
Our consultants love to have a chat, so go ahead and give us a call on 1300 OHS RTW (647 789) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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