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Golden Circle proactive about protecting employees

09 November, 2005

Fruit and vegetable processor Golden Circle evolved its approach to safety from machine guarding to a safety systems focus in the late 1990s.

Recently it has implemented a more proactive strategy that integrates safety into the business system and focuses more on behaviour to create a culture that is working towards "an injury free workplace."

The Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate at Golden Circle Northgate site has decreased from 24.2 in January 2004 down to 10.4 in March 2005. This improvement has been achieved via the implementation of a broad business strategy encompassing 6 elements.

1. Corporate Standardisation
2. Information Management
3. Leadership & Workforce Involvement
4. Consultative Structure Effectiveness
5. Injury Management
6. System Integrity

Corporate standardisation made sure all Golden Circle sites and departments were using the same safety system. 38 safety standards were developed based on the Queensland "Tri-Safe" format. Each standard consists of compliance requirements which are implemented at the senior management, departmental and area coordinator levels.

Information management made sure there was efficient collection and distribution of information in the right format, on time and to the right people. An example of this was the reduction of incident investigations from 53 days to 5 days.

Leadership and workforce involvement was the most important element of the safety strategy. It ensured that the safety systems that were developed were integrated into everyday business activities, which were driven by all leaders within the organisation.

This involved the development of clear KPIs, training in leadership principles, and activities to increase safety communication, compliance to safety standards, focus on reoccurring incidents, hazard identification and the reinforcement of safety behaviour on the shop floor.

Consultative structure effectiveness ensured safety technical support (i.e. safety representatives) was available within each arena and issue resolution processes (i.e. safety committees) were effective and efficient.

Injury management was improved by embracing the principles of early reporting, intervention and return to work. This included the training of department leaders and area coordinators in best proactive injury management processes and the continuous skilling of area first aiders.

Finally, System integrity ensured that the new systems implemented were sustained. There were many activities introduced at all three managerial levels, including system audits, monthly KPI review meetings, and weekly departmental audits of the safety leadership program.

Golden Circle is a good example of a company evolving its approach to OH&S. A number of simple steps and measures together with the implementation of safety into the business systems have ensured the company will continue to make gains towards its quest for an "injury free workplace."

Australian Food and Grocery Council

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