Keeping the Wolf Pack safe from harm

Shar Debney Profile
Prioritising mental wellbeing supports increased productivity and overall safety

When it comes to health and safety it’s very easy to come across like you’re telling people off says Shar Debney, New Zealand-based HSEQ Advisor for Royal Wolf, A UNITED RENTALS COMPANY.

“It can feel like that sometimes, but I approach it by making sure our team know that health and safety is there to support them. It’s essential to communicate in a way that promotes understanding and cooperation without coming across reprimanding,” she smiles.

“It’s important to have a positive attitude, being emotionally empathetic and approachable. Being a good communicator and learning how to be an active listener is a huge thing because so many people are good at talking and not very good at listening.”

After 25 years in the hospitality industry, Debney wanted a career change and a move into HSEQ at Royal Wolf in 2022 came naturally.

“You've got to genuinely care about people and their well-being and safety. That comes naturally to me because I’m a people person having worked in hospitality and management for many years.

“Successful hospitality leaders enjoy the challenge of thinking creatively to solve problems at the drop of a hat and safety has a similar aspect when it comes to mitigating risk.”

Mental wellbeing a priority

Supporting her team to make positive changes to help improve their mental wellbeing and way of life is an essential part of Debney’s role.  

“Having experienced mental health challenges first-hand in the hospitality industry, especially through the pandemic, I can relate to those going through something similar and I’m grateful to be able to be there to support them through their journey.”

She says Royal Wolf’s emphasis on supporting employees’ mental wellbeing is reaping benefits from staff morale, productivity, and safety perspective.

“We recognise the importance of prioritising mental health and wellbeing and know that a healthy workforce supports increased productivity and the overall safety of the team.

“We connect with our teams on a personal level as well. We're always checking in. I think that's really important.”

Safety first is key challenge

Debney says one of the main challenges for the safety sector is keeping employees engaged and focused on putting safety first.

“People feel pressured to get jobs done, so just making sure that people are taking that step back and following the correct process is really important because safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Royal Wolf’s process of reporting and reviewing incidents enables it to learn from occurrences, identify how to improve systems if necessary, and ultimately make sure it doesn’t happen again.

 “The role and directive of any investigation should never seek to blame any individual or group of individuals, but the aim is to find out what the root cause of the incident was and what happened prior to the event occurring.

“It’s about how we can prevent it from happening again. We review the risks and controls we have in place to identify how, and if, we can improve them in any way.”

Significant incidents prompt a safety alert which is issued to the team to ensure the incident and outcomes are relayed across the business.

“Keeping the lines of communication open, and ensuring people continue to feel like they have the confidence to report hazards and incidents, is critical because if they’re not recording these then we're not learning.”

To learn more about our workplace and safety at Royal Wolf, visit:

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