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Safety Leadership


Safety Leadership – In Partnership With John Holland Group

John Holland Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leighton Holdings, delivering contracting, engineering and services solutions to the infrastructure, energy, resources and transport services sectors across Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asia and the Middle East.

Construction SilhouetteThe Project

Safety Dimensions was one of the industry partners involved, with the John Holland Group, in the research conducted by the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Construction Innovation focused on the development of a construction safety competency framework. The output from, this research is a package for construction industries designed to be a practical tool to support the principles of safety culture within organisations.

John Holland Group and Safety Dimensions then worked collaboratively to build a nationally recognised qualification in Safety Leadership (OHS). This collaboration has resulted in an industry based accreditation that has been a mainstay in relevant qualifications for those involved in safety leadership and WHS practices through the construction industry. This program has won numerous awards and has now been adapted for application across a range of high risk industries beyond construction including; manufacturing, transport and logistics, air travel, mining and agriculture.

The process of collaboration that we undertook with this project included:

  • Investigation and review of research and findings into occupational health and safety in the building and construction industry. This included the CRC research.
  • Development of a mapping document to demonstrate the need for a suitable training package that was industry specific and design and development of content.
  • Consultation with other construction companies to ensure that the qualification was (and remains) transferable and relevant.
  • Development of and validation of assessment processes, observation and competency reporting and student support mechanisms.
  • Training of, auditing and agreement on consistent standards for facilitators and assessors.
  • Ongoing course modification and maintenance.


An independent Industry Evaluation was conducted by a research psychologist Tamara Banks on behalf of the CRC for Construction Innovation on the effects of the training conducted by Safety Dimensions in meeting the Construction Industry requirements.

The findings were:

“One of the organisations had previously compared a section of their workforce that had attended the safety program with a section of their workforce that had not attended the safety program. They observed that the course attendees had a higher understanding of what good safety leadership looked like, lower tolerance for uncontrolled risk, and were more critical of safety performance. They believed that participation in the construction safety leadership program created dissatisfaction with mediocrity, providing a foundation for change. They viewed the safety program as a lever that had helped deliver safety outcomes in their organisation.

Overall, managers believed that the training program was achieving positive safety outcomes as demonstrated through the achievement of: greater clarity on safety roles and responsibilities; attitude shifts towards viewing zero harm as achievable; identification of gaps in organisational safety management systems; instigating the inclusion of ‘consultation’ as key performance indicator; recommendations from assessment items being implemented organisation wide to improve safety practices and enhanced safety culture.”

“This evaluation found that 8,273 students from the construction industry had participated insafety leadership foundation training that covered material contained in the Construction Safety Competency Framework. Overall there was substantial overlap between the content included in the framework and the material covered in the 10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction .

Furthermore it was identified that the competency framework content delivered through the Safety Dimensions training programs had achieved real safety outcomes within the construction industry.

In regards to the behavioural criteria, managers from all of the case study organisations described examples of how the behaviours and attitudes learned in the training program have been transferred by their students to their workplace. The biggest behavioural improvement that was reported by all managers, related to communication. All managers indicated that safety communication had increased in both volume and quality since their organisation implemented the safety training program. Several managers described how program implementation had fostered the development of a common language and understanding around safety leadership.

The manager from this organisation believed that the construction safety leadership program had substantially contributed to their observed safety improvements over one year as indicated by decreases in lost time injury frequency rates from 2.85 to 1.51 and total recordable injury frequency rates from 22.77 to 13.70.

In conclusion, the implementation of the Construction Safety Competency Framework as delivered through the 10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction program is helping to improve OH&S performance in the construction industry. It is clear that Safety Dimensions has invested considerably in the development of the safety program. They should be commended for maintaining the integrity of the research framework when implementing safety training with business clients. To ensure future success for the safety leadership program, it is recommended that the program continue to be updated to maintain currency with current construction industry training needs.”

Find our more about the 10604NAT Certificate IV in Safety Leadership (WHS) – Construction >>

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