Two of a kind

Brendan Edwards, a mechanical fitter at Komatsu, and Bill Coulter, a self-confessed dreamer and problem solver, are two of a kind. Both are passionate about workplace safety and, fittingly, both were finalists in the 2017 SafeWork NSW Awards.

Brendan has initiated myriad safety solutions at the Moss Vale manufacturing facility where he works.

According to Hicham Merhil, Brendan’s supervisor, ‘he has never met an individual that is as hands-on about health and safety as Brendan.’

He has been responsible for introducing anti-slip grip tape on steps and anti-slip floor plates at machines; installing safety solutions for gas cylinders and shelves to reduce manual handling; streamlining traffic management systems and ensuring compliance with personal protective equipment; and on and on it goes.

Brendan generally makes about eight safety observations every month, identifying improved work processes and discussing changes with his co-workers.

Bill Coulter, on the other hand, has retired from a long career in sawmilling and logging, yet he was determined to find a safer way for tree workers to work at heights and avoid manual handling injuries.

After much research, information-gathering and stargazing, Bill bought a truck and crane, a hydraulic grapple and a cutting attachment – and called it ‘Safe Treez’. Using a remote control, it removed trees in less than half the time taken using traditional methods, eliminated the need to work at heights and significantly reduced the amount of manual handling.

If you’re one of a kind, enter the 2018 SafeWork NSW Awards.

Changing age-old traditions for a safer workplace

For many businesses, manual tasks are an important part of getting the job done.

Not surprisingly, those who work at cemeteries do numerous hazardous manual tasks and are often prone to serious injuries.John Pearce is one of those people. As an employee of Coffs Harbour City Council, John worked at the local cemetery and was concerned about the damage he and others were doing to their backs when lowering coffins into graves.

Despite the generations-old method of lowering coffins, John was determined to find a safer alternative. After extensive consultation with council colleagues and funeral parlours, he designed and built a trolley on an A-frame to transport a coffin-lowering device behind a ride-on mower or small tractor.

John’s invention reduces manual handling activities by about 90 per cent and minimises trip hazards around the grave. It eliminates the need to lift the 52-kg coffin-lowering device on and off the frame and eliminates the need to push the 300-kg trailer.

Following John’s innovative creation, the council now actively encourages all staff to be proactive and provide suggestions on improving health and safety outcomes.

Fittingly, John was a stand-out winner at the 2017 SafeWork Awards for best individual contribution to workplace health and safety.

Register now for the 2018 awards.

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