The Victorian Water Industry Association (VicWater) is the peak industry association for water businesses in Victoria. VicWater plays an important role in the Victorian water industry: influencing government policy, providing forums for industry discussions on priority issues, and disseminating news and information to stakeholders. A key function of VicWater is the ability to share information and learn from other water corporations; this includes the annual VicWater OHS Seminar where safety professionals from across the state get together for a 2-day conference to discuss all things safety. All Victorian water corporations were represented including members from Yarra Valley, City West and South East Water.
As part of this seminar, Safety Dimensions was invited to present a case study looking at the Safety Culture journey at Melbourne Water. Safety Dimensions has for the past 5 years, and continues to partner with Melbourne Water throughout their safety culture journey and we are certainly in a strong position to be able to speak on this topic. Safety Dimensions has extensive experience working with the Australian Water Industry and with organisations whose core services are supplied to the water industry. From major metropolitan water corporations such as Sydney Water and Melbourne Water, through to smaller Regional Water Corporations such as Gold Coast and Hunter Valley Water; we understand the unique challenges associated with working in this, often complex, and diverse work environment.
The aim of this session was to share valuable insights with the group on how Melbourne Water has proactively worked to change the safety culture within the organisation.
This included an overview of:
- Where did Melbourne Water start and what were the challenges?
- How did Melbourne Water address these challenges?
- Types of programs used to address safety
- Initial & ongoing culture surveys
- Master class, executive alignment
- Safety Leadership Foundation Program
- The MATE’s program
- What were the results and how have these results impacted on the business
- Challenges along the way and key factors to success
- Critical watershed moments with Senior Management – what worked? Influential leverage and how to step around the organisational quicksand, challenges in cultural change, tipping point etc.
The presentation was extremely well received with great discussion at the conclusion of the session. A common theme was How to balance needs with budget. Many of the Victorian Water Corporations do not necessarily have the same resources or budget as Melbourne Water and questioned the feasibility of implementing such broad scale Safety Culture Initiatives in their organisations. Safety Dimensions ability to design and deliver interventions on both the large and small scale, requiring varying levels of financial and time investment, clearly demonstrated to the attendees that Cultural Change Initiatives are achievable regardless of the size of the organisation and or budget.
This type of event can only yield positive results as it actively promotes open discussion and sharing of information, and as we all know, communication is a key ingredient in effective safety management. Safety Dimensions feel very humbled to be involved and we would like to thank VicWater for the opportunity to be involved.
If you would like to speak to one of our consultants who works extensively in the water industry – please call 03 9510 0477.