BUILDING AN INTERDEPENDENT SAFETY CULTURE IN HEAVY INDUSTRY

Taylor, D. and O’Connell, W.

Queensland Alumina Limited (QAL) has a demonstrated history of continuous improvement in safety performance. However, since 2005, safety performance has essentially plateaued with no consistent year-on-year improvement. As a result, it was proposed that a cultural shift was required to facilitate the next “step change” in site safety performance. As such, a Safety Culture Team was appointed, consisting of representatives from management staff, training department, and operations and maintenance employees.

For one month, this group of 10 employees were taken out of their normal operating roles and dedicated their time to identifying the current site safety culture and recommending avenues to modify the culture to improve safety performance. This included benchmarking local heavy industries, undertaking a site-wide “culture” survey (with over 98% participation) to determine what behaviours and factors “make a safe crew” as well as what not to do in ”a less safe crew”, developing communication strategies to engage the entire workforce (including contract workforce) of over 1200 employees, providing concise graphical summaries of the results, and providing a quantitative interpretation of the statistically significant factors.

In the present paper, the importance of the composition of the team, techniques employed to “categorise” site safety culture, the data generation and statistical interpretation will be presented; along with the conclusions and implemented items that contributed to halving the serious injury rate at QAL.

This paper gives invaluable insights into how a heavy industry can “Build an interdependent safety culture, where we foster each other’s health, safety and well-being: every where, every day.”