At Royal Wolf, workplace safety underpins everything we do. It is at the forefront of our minds, from first thing in the morning to the end of the day – and every employee has a part to play.
Royal Wolf’s National Manager Operations and Safety, Charles Cordina, says, for him, protecting the company’s 300-plus workers is more than a job – it’s personal.
“We are in the business of managing people and making their work life as functional and as enjoyable as we possibly can in a safe environment,” says Charles.
“As the leader of safety in our business, every time I see an incident or a near-miss pop up, I take that personally, because I consider myself the umbrella that's protecting our people or at least giving them the tools to be able to protect themselves.”
A DAILY PRACTICE
Some of the key safety procedures at Royal Wolf include Lead Indicator Reporting, Workplace Inspections, Toolbox Talks, Daily Safety Huddles, Task Observations, Hazard Identification, and Stop Work Authority.
“Every operational and sales team across Australia and New Zealand engages in what we call a Daily Safety Huddle, in which we discuss safety,” explains Charles.
During the Daily Safety Huddles, workers hear about past incidents and their corrective actions, as well as safety trends and other relevant topics.
They also participate in stretches under the guidance of a yoga instructor. Although the stretching was initially met with resistance, it has since become a fun and welcome way to start the day.
“When you're sitting there and you're trying to get your body into a position that it's not normally accustomed to and listening to the groans of those around you, it becomes more than a Daily Safety Huddle, it's like a social gathering,” Charles laughs.
This unifying experience opens up the channels of conversation, which leads to improvements in how safety is perceived and managed.
“The more we talk about safety, the more it becomes front of mind and the more it gets embedded into our culture and into our DNA,” Charles says.
“When we don't report our hazards and when we don't identify the risks, the incidents go up.”
In Australia, the number of hazards reported across the business has risen significantly – not because the number of hazards has increased, but because they are now being identified and reported.
“Those hazards have always been there,” Charles explains, “we just weren't reporting them and we weren't cognisant of them.”
LOOKING OUT FOR EACH OTHER
At Royal Wolf, safety is a team effort. All employees are responsible for keeping themselves, and each other, safe.
Safety procedures such as Hazard 360, where employees are reminded to be aware of the environment around them at all times, and Stop Work Authority, which gives all workers the authority to stop an activity if they perceive a risk or hazard, are examples of this.
“We want our employees to go home in the same condition that they came to work in,” Charles says.
“Part of keeping everyone safe means taking responsibility. We are responsible for the safety of not only ourselves, but for the person next to us and the people around us.
“Safety at Royal Wolf is a collaboration between different departments. The HR department has a say, management has a say, operations have a say, and the workers have a say.
“From our Managing Director to the repairer in the workshop – we all play a key role.”
Each month a committee made up of Royal Wolf staff from across the country reviews the company’s Safe Work Processes, which provide guidance on how to safely perform tasks.
With all these safety measures and more in place, the results speak for themselves.
“The turnaround I've seen in the last three and a half years that I've been involved in the business is phenomenal,” Charles says.