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The Safety Journey at Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia

The Safety Journey at Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia

Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia (HCMA), part of the global giant Hitachi, is a leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment.  Headquartered in Japan with over 20,000 staff globally, Hitachi is a highly diversified company that operates eleven business segments which include Information & Telecommunication Systems, Social Infrastructure, Defense and Power Systems, Electronic and Automotive Systems, Railway & Urban Systems.

‘The Kenkijin Spirit’ is at the heart of everything Hitachi do regardless of their business or location. Taken from the Japanese name of HCM, ‘Kenkijin’ roughly translates as ‘citizen of HCM’ and embodies their shared values and principles, underpinned by three ideas. These are taking on challenges without fear of failure, striving to understand a customers’ needs better than they do and communication – taking the initiative on reporting, liaising and consulting.

HCM manufactures hydraulic excavators from the smallest mini to the largest 780-tonne class, as well as rigid frame mining dump trucks and a wide range of wheel loaders, marketing their products worldwide through a global network of company owned and independent dealers.

Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia (HCMA) a wholly own subsidiary of HCM , are passionate about their machines, but are even more passionate about the safety of their people and ensuring each worker returns home safe each day. They are on a mission to embed company-wide values in their culture with the key value being “Safety takes priority over everything else”.  HCMA had invested significant time and resources into the development of their “See You Tomorrow” safety initiative. This initiative included a set of Key Safety Promises and Key Safety Responsibilities for all employees.

HCMA partnered with Safety Dimensions to bring the initiative to life and to thoroughly embed the Safety Promises and Responsibilities and desired safety behaviours across all levels of HCMA.

HCMA’s journey has included design and national delivery of 1 and 2-day programs to all staff from Executives through to front line workers. Refresher programs have been delivered, and at the learners requests, support programs such as ‘Performance Management Conversations’ are taking place.

One of the key considerations in the design phase of the project was the importance of including overseas management methodologies and messages, whilst designing a program that held local relevance yet was adaptable for overseas delivery if required. The HCMA and Safety Dimensions partnership continues with ongoing support, embedding and maintenance of the HCMA safety culture.

We spoke to William Stuart HCMA’s National WHS Manager about their Safety Journey.

Bill, when it comes to safety, what are the specific challenges in your industry and for HCMA?
For us,  the difficult part is having our people work across different types of sites and environments. There’s a huge difference (safety wise) between a blue-chip mining site vs a local small firm without an entrenched safety culture. We aim for consistency across the business, whilst ensuring everyone is clear on, and apply the same behaviours, expectations and principles regardless of work locations or the environment in which they find themselves. Our goal is to set a high standard and lead the way when it comes to safety.

Why is safety important to you, personally?
Having been directly involved in a workplace fatality at a previous workplace, I’ve seen first-hand the impact something like that has on everyone, not just for the person who lost their life but also their loved ones, their workmates and the whole organisation. I make it my job to honour that worker by sharing as much as I can about what happened, why it happened and what it’s like to live through that experience, on a personal level, for other people in the organisation and for the business.  I never want to experience that again, or would I want anyone else to have to go through that. (Continued below)

 

What drove HCMA to take a behavioural safety approach?
We’d developed our safety culture from the ground up with Executive/employee WHS committees, safety management systems and ISO accredited systems.  We knew a behavioural safety approach would work, as several of us had seen it work in other organisations, however trying to change the mindset of the leadership team and align everyone across a large organisation is a big task.

Overall I believe the visible leadership commitment is just as important as the training. We wanted to demonstrate to all our employees and managers, Senior Leadership commitment by putting in the time, resources and commitment to rolling our message out to everyone. Part of this visible commitment was demonstrated by pulling people out of work and flying them around the country to do the program, we were absolutely unwavering in our commitment to making this work across our whole organisation.

What were the specific outcomes you were looking for?
We wanted consistency and alignment of everyone across our business – so that everyone becomes a safety leader.
We want everyone on the same page, challenging the way people see safety – safety is part of our day-to-day job, not in addition to our day-to-day job.

What were the biggest obstacles/concerns you were faced with at the beginning of the project?
That we were going to have a positive impact on the way people thought about and perceived safety at work, and get it right the first time. We were asking ourselves, is this going to work logistically, and how are we going sell the message the right way?

We were also concerned that we needed to choose the right training organisation to partner with,  our thinking was, we’d only get one go at this, and if we didn’t get it right, we would miss the boat. We wouldn’t get another opportunity to do this for several years.

You had a team of Safety Leaders to assist to drive the culture across the organisation, how did you utilise these safety leaders?
We obtained Senior WHS Leadership buy-in which involved getting our Regional WHS Advisors involved in the process, give them an opportunity for input into the content of the program. We asked our WHS leaders to be available for all the courses so they were seen to be involved and answer any questions.

Finally we had our Senior Leaders including our Managing Director there to open the training at every first session, reinforcing the notion that everyone was expected to actively participate.

What changes have you noticed as a result of the program?
We’ve had more involvement from the shop floor with an increase in reporting, participation and awareness. We’ve also had a decrease if overall injury statistical rates in LTIFR and RIFR.

 Safety Dimensions delivered programs to all levels of staff at HCMA, what were the key things you noticed at each level?
For some of our Senior Leaders the program has changed the way they view safety. For Middle Manager we saw increased commitment and accountability and from out Shop Floor teams we saw participation from all and a willingness to take on the message and act on it.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen for the organisation and for individuals before and after the program?
It’s the perception by the senior leadership team that they are responsible for driving the change within the organisation. They were committed prior but they really started to see the value in what we were doing ultimately resulting in a greater level of commitment.

Do you consider this project to have been a success?
Absolutely. We followed it up 12 months later with the refresher training to reinforce the training, and give us an opportunity to remind everyone about the expectations and the importance of what it is we are trying to achieve.

What’s next in the safety journey for HCMA?
We’re in the process of updating our Critical Safety Essentials and our See You Tomorrow initiatives with a focus on visible safety. We are also looking to expand our Key safety promises and update/ refresh our Take 5 Risk Assessments. We’re also looking at other opportunities to further educate and train our people.

Why should other organisations consider working with Safety Dimensions?
First and foremost Safety Dimensions delivered the message with a high level of professionalism from the top of their leadership, project management team all the way across to their facilitators. We encountered a few internal challenges at the start of our project and Safety Dimensions showed flexibility – they were open to feedback and had a willingness to change to meet our needs.

Safety Dimensions were like a one-stop shop, we handed over the logistics of the program and they looked after everything.


Thanks to William Stuart for taking the time to speak to Safety Dimensions.

Want to find out more?

To find out how Safety Dimensions can help your organisation transform Safety Culture, no matter where in the world you are, call us on 1300 453 555 in Australia or internationally on +613 9510 0477.

Ducab – When Enhancing Safety Culture Heats Up

Ducab – When Enhancing Safety Culture Heats Up

By Dr Paul Johnston. Lead Consultant and Facilitator

Safety Dimensions recently had an opportunity to expand our relationship with Ducab [the Dubai Cable Company, a leading manufacturer of cabling], assisting them in enhancing their HSE culture via a Behavioural Based Safety [BBS] program. Already OHSAS18001 certified, Ducab’s intention is to exceed mere compliance with the required standards, and to achieve international “best practice”. Safety Dimensions is excited to be working with them on their health and safety journey.

Challenges

The challenges faced by Ducab are both physical and cultural in nature. Physically, the average temperature in summer of 40°C+, is compounded not only by levels of humidity in excess of 60%, but also by the presence of aluminium and copper furnaces on site. Culturally, the workforce is as diverse as the wider Dubai population, with most originating from highly hierarchical societies that are characterised by a significant “power distance” in relationships.

Power distance is a term that describes how people belonging to a specific cultural group view power relationships between people, including the degree to which people not in “power positions” perceive and/or accept that power is spread unequally.

Strengths

Although the cultural backgrounds of Ducab’s workforce do indeed constitute a challenge in establishing, implementing and maintaining an effective BBS program, the same also provide a solid foundation on which to build. Whilst this may seem somewhat paradoxical, although the sense of power distance in significant, so is the importance of “team” and “community” to the workforce – this is the strength that has already contributed to Ducab’s success, and this is the strength on which the roll-out of the BBS program is being based. Indeed the Australian mindset of “looking after your mates” is a reasonable comparison. The main difference, however, is the perceptions associated with hierarchical relationships, and the manner of communication that is associated with it. (Continued below)

The Way forward

In moving forward with Ducab, the intention is to build on their success and cultural strengths, extending their sense of “team” to create a greater sense of “permission” to have safety conversations with others, regardless of rank and title.

Will this be easy?….No.

Is it achievable?….Yes.

One of the key reasons for these answers is what we saw during our 3 weeks with Ducab. During this time, site visits and interviews were conducted, and 3 two day Safety Leadership workshops were facilitated, as was a one day Executive Masterclass. Throughout these activities, two themes remained  constant – the intent to work diligently for the good of the company, and the willingness to have open discussions in what were considered to be appropriate settings. The goal is to extend this so that all of Ducab is seen as an appropriate setting for such interaction. This goal, although challenging, is one that I believe Ducab can achieve – with this being based on the level of commitment and willingness to learn that was witnessed of both management and front-line operators alike during our time there.

Indeed, the current pace of development in Dubai, both in terms of commercial operations and infrastructure development, is remarkable – with this being reflected in the collective willingness to establish long term partnerships and to strive for international best practice.

With this in mind, we are looking forward to our next trip to Dubai, scheduled for early next year, and to see what the future in the region brings.

What Did We Learn ?

From our initial site visits, interviews, the subsequent Masterclass, through collaboration we all learned more about Ducab, the challenges they face and how to move Safety forward in a tangible way.   The experience can best be summarised in the statement “Limitations are what we put in the way, not what are actually there”.  Ducab’s willingness to understand, challenge themselves and to apply a different approach to safety was quite evident, and it something that companies both internationally and locally could learn a lot from.

Our International Advantage

Safety Dimensions has instructionally designed and/or delivered behavioural safety leadership and similar programs in 20 countries.

Read more about our international advantage here : http://www.safetydimensions.com.au/international

To find out how Safety Dimensions can help your organisation transform Safety Culture, no matter where in the world you are, call us on 1300 453 555 in Australia or internationally on +613 9510 0477.

The Safety Journey With Costa Group

The Safety Journey With Costa Group

Costa Group is Australia’s largest horticultural company and a major supplier of produce to food retailers. With over 3,500 hectares of farmed land across Australia and more than 6,000 employees during peak seasonal periods, Costa values their employees and prioritises their safety.

Safety Dimensions has been partnering with Costa Group since 2015 to continue building a strong safety culture, working on building skills and knowledge in the area of safety, for Senior Executives and Frontline Leaders.

Approaches taken included designing and developing a Costa specific Masterclass for Senior Executives, and choosing a two-day Safety Leadership program, refined through a piloting process with key stakeholders and their front-line leaders.

Post pilot, this program was rolled-out nationally to all Leaders and Managers of the business.

The program included Keepad, a surveying technology enabling participants to respond anonymously to a series of safety culture and leadership questions through the use of a handheld device. Questions were specifically developed to enable Costa to collect real-time data about behaviours and perceptions from their workforce. This data was utilised by Costa and Safety Dimensions to analyse and prioritise next steps in the journey.

Drawing together the real-time Keepad data, the positive feedback from the learners, and the improvement in Costa’s safety figures (post the Safety Leadership program) in partnership with Safety Dimensions next steps were implemented to consolidate and continue the safety journey for Costa employees.

Costa and Safety Dimensions has partnered with Costa to launch an online portal to enabling their staff (who have already undertaken the initial programs) to refresh and embed the learning from the 2-day Safety Leadership program. Safety Dimensions has built customised online portals to enable learners to do pre-work or surveys before program, or as a tool to embed the learning after programs have completed.

Within the online portal, the initial Keepad questions have been included, and this will enable Costa and Safety Dimensions to analyse shift from their earlier data in safety behaviours and perceptions over time and gain further actionable insights.

Safety Dimensions spoke to Lou Torcaso, WHS and Workers Compensation Manager at Costa about their safety journey.

Prior to this safety journey what where some of the challenges Costa experienced that you think are common to others in industry?

A challenge prior to our safety journey was providing leadership to employees on how we think about safety. There was inconsistency in a standard message across all Costa Group (business is made up of 5 different units). Some sites were more advanced than others and the challenge was to create a level playing ground across all Costa sites.

Pre this safety journey another challenge was getting the buy-in from key stakeholders about what our safety culture would look like if we implemented a program for change. We needed to ensure that this program wasn’t “just another training course” and instead a program that would help our leaders to use tools to improve how they manage their people and that they’d see the benefits in using these tools.

What were the key outcomes you were looking for when you began this partnership?

To provide the same safety message across all Costa Group sites and ensure the consistency of the training to all employees. The challenge was to be able to do this over 40 sites nationally (with some sites located in regional/remote areas).

We were looking to improve the safety culture of our Managers, Supervisors and Team Leaders to enhance their behaviour and mindset which we hoped in effect would cascade into improvement of our safety performance through proactive control.

The key outcome for all of this was to also ensure this was sustained and not forgotten about in 6 months or that “old habits” returned. We felt we needed strong Facilitators/Trainers to provide the consistent safety message across all sites. These Facilitators/Trainers need to be engaging and influential in communicating the program.

What did you think the biggest obstacles were going to be to the success of this project?

The biggest obstacle for the success of this project was managing the logistics in getting over 600 people nationally (including those in regional areas) trained over a period of time and to manage this from a central point with venues in a number of places across the country. This created another obstacle with travel costs, accommodation etc. The other obstacle was getting support by all business units (WHS Managers) as well as the Executive team.

Another obstacle was time. Trying to not only coordinate people to get to the training, but also provide a program that wasn’t too long and wasn’t too short to be effective. This program required people to take time out of their normal duties so the challenge was to provide a program to cater for the site’s needs. For example some sites participated in two consecutive days of training, whilst others had 1 day training and then their second day was 3 weeks later. Flexibility was important for the success of this project.

Safety can be viewed as time consuming and costly, how within the partnership did you to stay within your time-frames and budgets?

Prior to approval we conducted a “snapshot” 5 hour version of the 2 day program for the Executive team (Masterclass program) as well as a “pilot program” for key stakeholders (WHS Managers). This provided the team the “buy-in” to the program so that they understood what we needed to achieve. This also provided us financial support to roll this out to the broader group.

We worked with Safety Dimensions to create a schedule for the year and mapped out what the costs would be, based on training program, Facilitators/Trainers availability, venues, travel, accommodation etc. Once finalised, this was locked in and people were able to book participants into the program according to the dates that worked with them (via an online booking system developed by Safety Dimensions).

Centralising venues across each state allowed for efficiency and reduced costs to get employees to the program. With support from our company sponsor (Chief Operating Officer) funds were approved and signoff to be included in the budget. This was then tracked regularly by me to ensure that we stayed within budget. The key to this success was to provide key stakeholders reasons as to why this wasn’t a time consuming and costly exercise and we did this by providing them information and involving them with the process.

Often when employees are directed to undertake a program this can be met with mixed reactions. Did employees shift their views during this journey?

From the day our first program commenced employees reactions were very positive overall. Whilst there were a small percentage of negative reactions, we felt that overall the mindset had shifted and this had reflected in significant improvements to our safety performance.

There is supporting evidence that would suggest that the significant increase in Near Miss reporting correlates to when the program had commenced. Feedback from some sites showed significant increase in reporting. In theory reporting near misses effectively reduces LTI’s, MTI’s and FTI’s. This theory is further supported with the Total Recordable Frequency Rate (TRFIR) trending downwards since the roll out of this program.

This in effect clearly showed our senior management the benefits of this program.

Do you have any positive stories or anecdotes about how this training impacted a particular worker or business unit’s way of operating or thinking when it comes to safety or leadership?

Keepad survey data indicated that we are moving in the right direction and that we are not that far away in where we need to be. Whilst there are some sites better than others in implementing proactive safety, there was a general consensus that people are not afraid to speak to their managers around safety and that employees were confident that there was a commitment from senior management.

One positive that comes to mind was a particular Manager at one site had called me the very next day after he had completed his training to tell me that he had “seen the light” and that it made sense to him now in what he needs to do to change the mindset of his team. Within that week that particular site had implemented a number of improvements in both process and procedures. This was further reflected on a number of initiatives implemented that eventually gave this site an internal award (Chairman’s Award) for “Workplace Health and Safety” for demonstrating improvement.

How important is it to partner with the right training provider?

An excellent relationship is really critical to partnering with the right training provider. We had carefully selected a training provider who needed to be consistent, and most importantly be flexible with our needs.

It was important that we were able to select Facilitators/Trainers who we felt comfortable with (pre-selection of trainers prior to the commencement of program) and to be able to communicate with our provider around better ways to coordinate the training to suit our needs.



Thanks to Lou Torcaso for speaking with us. Find out more about the Costa Group here.


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