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Generating Injury-Free Success Through World-Class Safety Fundamentals

Background

Bob Jane T-Marts operates in the competitive retail tyre business, offering the fitting, repair, alignment and sales of wheels.

Bob Jane is the largest independent retailer and franchise of its kind in Australia. It operates over 100 hundred franchised and 30 company-managed stores nationwide. From the very top end in Darwin, across the country to Bunbury in Western Australia, through to Hobart in the apple isle, Bob Jane operates in every state of Australia.

                                                                                                                                    WATCH THE VIDEO 

‘It’s brilliant, because we now have the knowledge of what’s happening in our stores.’

Angelo Bootlis, National Risk Manager


Situation

In 2011, Bob Jane faced an increase in the severity of injuries, including serious musculoskeletal occurrences at its stores. Senior leadership at Bob Jane, including Angelo Bootlis (National Risk Manager), Sam Mari (National Operations Manager), and Rodney Jane (the CEO of Bob Jane Corporation), asked Work Safety Hub to assist the organisation in moving toward industry-leading safety performance.

During the three-year engagement that followed, Work Safety Hub:

  • Evaluated Bob Jane’s safety management system against world-class systems;
  • Identified opportunities for improvement in the management of workplace safety and process safety; and
  • Provided recommendations for the development and maintenance of an industry-leading safety system at Bob Jane.

Generating Injury-Free Success Through World-Class Safety Fundamentals

Initial Assessment Findings

As a first step, Bob Jane management undertook a comprehensive assessment with Work Safety Hub that identified key areas of concern and opportunities for improvement. This assessment discovered:

  • Bob Jane’s safety culture was reactive and compliance-focused.
  • There were pockets of safety system skills in the organisation (such as the incident investigation process and its reporting process), but these were insufficient to achieve the highest standards of safety performance.
  • The established safety goals encouraged only incremental improvement.
  • Bob Jane lacked sufficient safety management knowledge to achieve industry leading safety performance.
  • There was a significant gap in the organisation’s ability to identify and mitigate risk.
  • Inconsistent safety management practices were a barrier to rapid improvement (i.e., more difficult, more expensive, slower).
  • Bob Jane’s primary goal was improving the overall safety and welfare of employees.

Primary Goals

The Work Safety Hub assessment was designed to help Bob Jane develop a high-level path forward for continuous safety improvement over the three-year engagement period from 2012 to 2015. Bob Jane and Work Safety Hub agreed that the primary goals of the engagement were to:

  1. Reduce employee injuries and ultimately create an injury free workplace;
  2. Transform the safety culture from a reactive, compliance-focused one to a resilient one (as defined by the Hudson and Parker Culture Ladder) that is proactively focused; and
  3. Develop the skills and capabilities of the line organisation to more effectively manage all aspects of the operation by establishing and maintaining high standards of performance.

‘Working with Work Safety Hub has been a great experience. They are very thorough in what they do.’

Angelo Bootlis, National Risk Manager


Needed First – A Cultural Shift

Bob Jane leadership also realised that the company needed to take the following actions to create a strong safety culture and reach its goals:

  • Make safety at least as important as production and quality (good safety is good business);
  • Gather greater input from stores and include it in the process for setting challenging goals and defining action plans;
  • Expand the safety leadership organisation by involving all levels of employees and management;
  • Establish the corporate safety policy as the driving force behind systems and processes for managing safety;
  • Ensure that all, not just some, potential workplace safety hazards are identified, analysed and safeguarded;
  • Create a comprehensive, structured auditing system that involves all levels of the organisation, to collect data and use this data as a change agent;
  • Eliminate the potential for hiding injuries by encouraging a culture where injury treatment and prevention take priority over financial incentives; and
  • Ensure that everyone at a store, including contractors, is required to comply with a consistent set of safety policies and regulations.

‘Morale has improved and the culture is much better.’

Angelo Bootlis, National Risk Manager


Generating Injury Free Success Through World-Class Safety Fundamentals

The Bob Jane Improvement Strategy

Although leadership commitment and support were key drivers in building a safety culture, Bob Jane and the Work Safety Hub consulting team agreed that the greatest success would be achieved through implementing an improvement strategy that included six essential steps:

  1. Establishing a strategic safety management structure;
  2. Developing and introducing safety process systems in the areas of safety observation, incident investigation, rules and procedures, and communications-activities-involvement;
  3. Developing performance standards and metrics to monitor safety performance;
  4. Building safety leadership competencies at all levels of the organisation;
  5. Establishing process safety reviews to identify and mitigate risks from high hazard operations; and
  6. Training employees on the new safety systems and processes.

Achieving Improvement through a Comprehensive Approach

Bob Jane, with support from Work Safety Hub, developed and implemented a safety management system, focused around the operations environment. It provides the organisational, process, and skill infrastructure needed to broaden the perspective of safety, incorporate accountabilities and move Bob Jane towards being an injury-free workplace.

This goal will be accomplished through a comprehensive three-year strategic process that includes:

  • Defining and documenting safe work standards;
  • Reinforcing standards and expectations through auditing and observation;
  • Fostering employee involvement through activities and communication;
  • Preventing incident recurrence through incident investigation;
  • Driving accountability through actionable information.

The improvement strategy was organised by Work Safety Hub and implemented in three phases to drive positive organisational results.

The first stage of the work identified the strengths and opportunities associated with the current WHS culture and systems across the operation. Work Safety Hub conducted over 130 audits across the nation reinforcing standards and expectations through the audit process and observation.

Work Safety Hub organised the second stage, the establishment of a National Safety Forum which included focus group sessions with a cross section of people from across the business to hear everyone’s experiences and ideas, as well as the conduct of a survey (The Safety Climate Tool) of workers, managers and franchisees. From the survey and focus groups, Work Safety Hub identified the gaps between what Bob Jane are doing now and what they needed to do to create a more effective approach to WHS.

When this work was done, Work Safety Hub facilitated a series of workshops to hear views about how these gaps might be filled in the future and what needed to change to achieve a WHS culture that creates a safe and healthy work environment.

Work Safety Hub then conducted a Future Inquiry planning session to develop an action plan to fill the gaps and move Bob Jane closer to an industry leading WHS culture.

Importance of Process Improvement and Communication

Work Safety Hub helped Bob Jane manage the necessary internal changes through its strategic improvement framework and OHS model of practice which includes initial fact finding and background research to establish all possible relevant facts, envisioning the future state, a carefully planned transition, and delivering the change.

It was also critical to the success of the implementation to ensure continual two-way communication among all stakeholders involved in safety management at Bob Jane, including:

  • The corporate risk committee
  • The steering team
  • Top leadership
  • Franchisees
  • Line management
  • Employees

Knowledge Transfer and Sustainability

Since sustainability is a primary goal of every Work Safety Hub safety consulting engagement, an annual National Safety Summit was created to help maintain and strengthen improvement across all of Bob Jane. Each year, successes are celebrated at the summit and continuous improvement opportunities are identified. As a result, this event has helped anchor and reinforce safety sustainability throughout the company and over time.

‘Work Safety Hub can tailor to our needs. They are experienced and able to give us personalised service. I can call at any given time and they are there for me.’

Angelo Bootlis, National Risk Manager


Conclusion

To maintain an industry leading safety management structure and safety culture, an organisation must:

  • establish high safety standards;
  • regularly review its performance, monitor operations and processes;
  • make needed improvements promptly;
  • and continue safety training, coaching, and other awareness-building activities so that all employees understand their responsibilities and know how to work safely.

Today Bob Jane continues to operate by the core set of safety principles that Work Safety Hub helped the company develop and implement.

Results

A key deliverable for the Bob Jane steering committee was to achieve at least a significant reduction in injuries to Bob Jane employees against a 2011 year-end baseline. This would represent a major milestone on a path to zero injuries. By year-end 2014, Bob Jane has significantly reduced its incidence rate.

Benefits to Bob Jane

In addition to reducing injuries, the most important benefits of implementing an industry-leading safety management structure at Bob Jane included the development of a work environment that fosters trust and openness and invites collaboration between company management and its employees. The process has also created professional development opportunities for employees in the areas of safety management, project management, team building, process methodology, and leadership skills.

Create an injury-free workplace and reap the benefits. Talk to Work Safety Hub today.

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