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.

SafeWork NSW Awards 2017. We all win.

Entries are now open for the 14th annual SafeWork NSW Awards. Individuals and businesses across the state are invited to enter and showcase their innovative safety systems and commitment to workplace health and safety and recovery at work.

Established in 2004, the awards were introduced to recognise and reward individuals and businesses who go the extra mile to improve safety and injury management outcomes in their workplace environment.

This year, aside from earning that all important safety tick of approval, business winners will receive a marketing package, whilst individual winners will receive the opportunity to attend specialised safety training, a safety conference or receive a safety equipment rebate.

Plus, as a winner you will be recognised as a safety leader in your industry, just like Clive Woodnutt of Bohmer’s Tree Care, a 2016 winner. This award enabled him to win new contracts and business opportunities.

If you have developed an innovative solution that reduces workplace injury or know someone that is passionate about promoting safety culture in their workplace, then now is the time to enter!

You can enter yourself, someone you know, a business, government agency or not-for-profit organisation in one of six categories.

Entries close July 21, with the winners announced at the official awards ceremony and black-tie gala dinner on October 26.

For more information, entry details or assistance with completing your entry visit or call 02 4321 4444.

Best of the best recognised at SafeWork Awards

The winners of the 2016 SafeWork Awards have been announced, showcasing another outstanding selection of safety and recovery at work solutions and systems.

A high standard of entries this year meant our judges had their work cut out for them, selecting a total of nine winners across six categories. The winners represent small and large businesses from across the state, from industries including construction, mining, aboriculture and disability services.

As well as recognising those who go the extra mile, the Awards aim to encourage business across the state to implement similar solutions and processes. We’ll be showcasing a number of these exciting entries in the coming months so watch this space to see what others have been doing and get inspired!

And the winners are..

Bohmer’s Tree Care
Laing O’Rourke

Bracton Industries
HY-TEC Industries – Austen Quarry

Kerry Dent (Cabonne Council)

Shahn Ruprai (SRS Roads Pty Ltd)

Endeavour Foundation

Chris May (Abergeldie Complex Infrastructure)

Clive Woodnutt (Bohmer’s Tree Care)

If you’d like to be notified when the 2017 Awards open, visit and subscribe for updates!

Entering safety awards a no-brainer for Craig

When it comes to winning the 2015 SafeWork Awards Safety in Leadership award, it’s not about the certificate on the wall or even the plaque that adorns his desk. For Craig Murray, it’s about validation.

It’s as simple as that.

“Winning a SafeWork Award validates your own thinking. And it’s that validation that drives your own confidence and your own ability,” he said.

“What I’m doing, what I’m thinking and what I’m saying – the award has made me feel like I’m doing all the right things.”

Craig, the WHS Environmental Systems Manager at Sydney Fish Market, says winning the award has also cemented his credibility as a safety champion in his workplace.

“I think other employees (at Sydney Fish Market) feel as if I’m giving them sound knowledge and advice – it really is a great endorsement.”

He says the Awards offer anyone the opportunity to achieve this if they just put not only their mind, but also their heart into it.

The 2016 SafeWork Awards are now open for entry. For Craig, it’s not even a question as to whether people who are interested in safety in NSW should apply.

“The big thing for me is that I didn’t think I was doing anything special. It’s very easy for all of us to play down and underestimate our own achievements – I certainly didn’t think I had achieved enough to ever be SafeWork Awards winner,” he said.

“All I can say to other businesses is just do it.”

So what are you waiting for?

Some big changes promise to make this year’s Awards better and easier to enter than ever.

The all-new Excellence in workplace health and safety culture category will highlight organisations that have not only developed outstanding safety systems but have shown a continuous, all-encompassing commitment to safety.

There are also more categories tailored for small businesses, so even if you don’t have the safety and recovery at work budget of the big boys you’re still in with a chance.

This year we’ve launched a new-look website to make entering easier than ever – just enter your details, answer a few questions and you’re on your way. It’s fast, simple and free!

The clock is ticking so visit to get started. And remember we’re here to help, so call us on 4321 4444 with any questions.

Good luck!

The robot making life easier for Harbour Bridge workers

Some of Sydney’s most innovative thinkers – with a bit of help from a humble worm – have created a futuristic solution to an age-old problem, improving safety and winning awards in the process.

Like us, bridges have life expectancies. And just like our doctors, there are inspectors that assess the condition of the frames – inside and out – and determine what needs to be done to prolong life.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge, for example, only had a predicted life span of 100 years. As it nears its use-by date, preserving this national icon becomes more and more important, but at what cost?

Until now, the best way to examine the bridge interior was to send a bridge inspector in. With chambers smaller than one metre tall and port holes measuring half of that, providing a thorough check-up could be quite an ordeal.

To avoid putting the squeeze on their workers, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) enlisted some expert assistance from University of Technology Sydney (UTS) engineers. The challenge was to create something small enough to fit in the cramped spaces, agile enough to move through the steel passages and smart enough to record data and provide an accurate assessment of the bridge’s condition.

The result is CROC, an autonomous robot that could have a significant impact on the way steel bridges and other tight spaces are inspected.

Through an extensive process of consultation, trials, workshops and robotic engineering, UTS and RMS found CROC’s inspiration in an unlikely hero – the tiny inchworm.

The robot consists of a flexible body with a magnetic ‘foot’ at each end, along with a sensor package equipped with a camera and scanning equipment. To top it all off a ‘brain’ handles environmental and situation awareness, 3D map building, motion planning, collision avoidance, negotiation with edges/corners/rivets and data collection.

Once carried into position (on an operator’s back, no less) and deployed, inspectors can monitor the high definition feed to assess the bridge’s condition in safety and comfort.

It’s a high-tech solution to an age-old problem; one that has scored both parties recognition at the recent SafeWork NSW Awards. Against stiff competition RMS and UTS made an impression on the judges and went home with the award for best solution to an identified workplace health and safety issue category.

More importantly, it’s an invention that has the potential to improve safety not only for our local bridge inspectors but for workers around the world. Any workplace that needs to inspect cramped metal environments could benefit, such as ship holds, power plants and transmission towers.

See CROC in action, or visit the UTS Centre for Autonomous Systems YouTube channel for other fascinating innovations.

If you’ve developed a solution to a workplace safety issue (no matter how simple – intelligent robots not necessary) check out the 2016 SafeWork NSW Awards, opening soon.

Wicked boss keeps workers safe

Staff at Wicked Berries create dream treats in a model workplace, thanks to the diligence of their not-so-wicked employer.

A focus on worker safety and getting back to basics has helped Wicked take out Best Workplace Health and Safety Practices in a Small Business at the 2014 WorkCover SafeWork Awards.

Wicked Berries specialise in indulgent chocolate dipped strawberries and deliver their products Australia wide.

Packing and handling forms a big part of the work involved, which comes with its own safety risks, but Wicked’s Director, Mr Kerry O’Sullivan, a former baker well-aware of workplace safety, is set on making sure his facilities are safe.

“I guess because it’s not something a lot of businesses tend to focus on; because we’re doing franchising I just made it a habit of ticking all the boxes on that side of things,” Kerry said.

While the micro business employs just five staff, developing a work health and safety system was a key strategy to support the growing business in the long term.

The company is currently branching out as a franchise and they know work health and safety is a crucial factor to attract staff and ensure productivity.

“Imagine having 40 or 50 franchises and then having to implement it all later,” said Kerry.

“If it’s happening right from the start it forms part of the procedure for everyone.

“If everyone’s safe at work it means better productivity and a better workplace. That’s proven. It covers so many different aspects of a business.”

To win the award, Wicked Berries had to show what risks were identified, how they were addressed and what the outcomes were.

Kerry listed hazardous manual tasks such as the storage and handling of stock boxes, movement of stock and high shelving as challenges they overcame through better practice.

Their innovative safety improvements and adjustments have helped to secure longevity for their enviable zero ‘injuries resulting in time off’ record.

Some of the changes they implemented were machinery safeguards, anti-fatigue mats and visible safety procedures, but by far the most useful and easy were storage boxes that are colour-coded by weight.

“Colour coding boxes was the most dramatic change. The colour coding definitely works It’s so simple,” said Kerry.

“Going up ladders for stock posed a problem.

“Now that heavier items are shelved lower down, workers only have to lift light stock from the top and they’re happy about that.”

Wicked Berries also instituted procedures like staff induction and risk control training and franchisee training and information, making sure work health and safety is deeply embedded in the culture of the business.

Kerry believes the key to his winning workplace is walking the walk and says the award gives them credibility as a workplace with integrity that cares about the welfare of its staff.

“Having everything in place is one thing, enforcing it is another,” Kerry said.

“Get the basics right first.

“Assess your business independently, judge it on its own merits and find out what needs to be addressed.

“Your employee is number one so find out the risks and tackle that.”