Electrical incident builds strong team safety culture
More from Alistair Green
Condamine Electric has had to ride the workload roller coaster just as Stimson Plumbing did when the flurry of work brought on by the gas pipeline in the Surat Basin dried up.
As a result, General Manager of Condamine Electric Alistair Green looked at how to reduce risk to keep the business viable and staff employed. A look at various cost-cutting measures was just part of the equation.
A recent potentially life-threatening incident called for an even deeper look at risk assessment both for the business and for the entire fifty-strong workforce.
The incident gave Condamine Electric an opportunity to involve the staff in reviewing the company’s safety standards. In this line of work, where one mistake can mean disaster, these standards are imperative.
Risk reduction on a whiteboard
If it wasn’t for the incident, the following may not have gone down so well with the staff. But, at the end of the day, people want those they’re working with to be safe. So a tactic that might have otherwise been fraught with backlash has been welcomed by the staff and they’re running with it.
While no one wants this kind of accident to happen to themselves or their colleagues, the management at Condamine Electric were able to take from the negative experience and develop an ongoing program to greatly reduce future risk.
The employee involved in the incident was willing to share exactly what mistakes were made leading up to it. This gave staff an opportunity to discuss what happened and how to minimise the risk of it happening again.
How does it work?
Believe or not, the staff now participate in monthly meetings where they can raise instances when they’ve seen their work mates doing something deemed unsafe. The action is then rated by their peers according to the potential severity of the action. They then discuss how that action is a risk to themselves, their peers and/or the business.
Additionally, the company continues their close relationship with the Electrical Safety Office. They voluntarily self-report incidents to ensure their team is kept up with the latest safety standards. When significant incidents do arise, they are quick to involve the ESO.
What’s interesting to note here is that while such incidents carry potential consequences for the company, no such consequences are passed on to the employee. The only requirement is that it is discussed with their peers in order to celebrate what has been learned, not to dwell on the mistake.
Alistair has often heard:
“Wow, that was close, but that could have easily happened to me."
It goes to show how transparency and an honest relationship with staff can reap huge rewards for the company as a whole.
Thank you to the Condamine Electric Company for sharing their bold story.