Workplace health and safety finalists announced

Twenty-eight Victorian businesses, health and safety representatives and individuals are finalists in the 2016 WorkSafe Awards.
News article published

Thursday 29 Sep 2016

Industries and topics
  • Health and safety representatives
  • Return to work

The prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions to workplace health and safety and to helping injured workers return to work.

The finalists come from a wide range of industries including health care, local government, manufacturing, emergency services and education.

WorkSafe Chief Executive Clare Amies said each finalist should be enormously proud of their achievements in helping to make Victorian workplaces safer.

“Our finalists may come from diverse backgrounds and fields but they share an incredible passion for keeping workers safe and supporting injured workers return to safe work,” Ms Amies said.

“WorkSafe is delighted to recognise them for their outstanding contributions to workplace health and safety.”

Winners will be announced at a special ceremony at the Regent Plaza Ballroom on 7 October during Health and Safety Month.

The finalists are:


Monash Health (Clayton)

In 2015 Monash Health identified that occupational violence and aggressive behaviour was being under-reported. A workshop with Ambulance Victoria and Victoria Police identified more than 80 strategies that could be used to help de-escalate difficult situations. An employee video was produced and qualified OV staff appointed to also help drive a cultural change.

Dinkum Industries (Pearcedale)

Dinkum Industries developed a safer portable toilet to eliminate risk of service personnel coming in contact with contaminated waste material. The Fair Dinkum toilet’s innovative design effectively creates a preventative barrier between service personnel and harmful exposure to waste material during the servicing or removal of the toilets.

Wodonga Fire Brigade (Wodonga)

Routine pressure testing of fire hoses is a recognised hazard for CFA members, as hoses can burst under pressure and cause serious injuries to the operator. After conducting their own risk assessment, members of the Wodonga Fire Brigade designed a special unit which fills hoses with water while controlling the water pressure with an electric pump. As well as significantly reducing the risk of injuries, the unit can be fixed to the ground or trailer-mounted to eliminate manual handling concerns.

M C Herd Pty Ltd (Corio)

Senior management recognised a fall risk for drivers as they delivered and unloaded cattle up to 10 times a day at their meat processing operation. They designed a motorised unloading ramp with self-closing doors that open inwards. The ramp is easy to fit and manoeuvre and eliminates the need for drivers to climb the side, walk on top of, or get inside the crates to unload.


Bendigo Health (Bendigo)

Bendigo Health was concerned at the possible injury risks to staff who helped move obese patients after their death from the hospital to the funeral director’s care. It developed the idea of using a disposable repositioning sling that could remain under the patient through the entire transfer, which significantly reduced the risk of sprains and strains and other manual handling injuries for staff and funeral service employees.

Peter Rowland Catering P/L (South Yarra)

To eliminate the risk of catering staff having to navigate the stairs on portable structures while carrying food and beverages, Peter Rowland Catering identified a way to eliminate the risk by using portable lifting equipment. The equipment allows service trollies weighing up to 200kg to be lifted to the appropriate tier on temporary major event structures. The process has helped the company reduce its manual handling claims by 90 per cent.

Botanix Plant Supply (Somerville)

Up to four employees were needed each time a large tree was moved around the Botanix Plant Supply nursery or on or off a delivery truck. So the company worked with its employees and an engineer to design a mechanical solution that transports large trees and keeps them stable while completely eliminating the need for heavy manual lifting. As a bonus, the affordable piece of equipment can be adapted to all machinery used in horticulture.


Country Fire Authority Victoria (Burwood East)

In 2015 CFA Burwood East introduced Health Monitoring Rehab Units to enable real-time management of members while they were firefighting or dealing with hazardous materials. A noticeable reduction in cases of heat stress and dehydration has now been achieved. The units have been deployed by the CFA across the state and are now being used by other emergency services.

Corrigans Produce Farms (Clyde)

As the OHS/HR Manager for Corrigan’s Produce Farms, Lisa Corrigan designed farm-specific systems and training programs for their diverse workforce, including many people who speak little or no English. Lisa consulted with employees to identify and assess safety risks on the farm and worked with Chisholm TAFE to develop a multi-lingual training program featuring visual and tactile learning components.

Livestock & Rural Transporters Association (Warrnambool)

The Livestock & Rural Transporters Association worked with several volunteer members and industry stakeholders to produce a new guide covering the safe design of livestock loading ramps and forcing yards. The guide ensures there is a consistent approach to safety across the state - from users as well as those wishing to build or upgrade their facilities.


Lendlease Building Contractors Pty Ltd (Docklands)

After assessing many handrail systems, Lendlease determined there was no product that met its safety standards. So it created a system for edge protection and site containment called the Telescopic Handrail System, which was flexible enough to accommodate site constraints and multiple trades but was robust enough to provide appropriate protection. The system is now in use on multiple sites and there has been no notification of any falls incidents at these sites.

Firefox Industries Pty Ltd (Bayswater)

Following an employee suggestion, Firefox Industries designed an innovative engineering solution to reduce the risk of falling from roofs and other structural heights. Called Escalair, it is an extension ladder attachment which eliminates the “blind spot” so the user has full visual sight of the first step when facing the ladder to start their descent. It enables workers to safely access and exit roofs and tall structures via an erect walk-through motion, while maintaining three points of contact with the ladder at all times.

Master Builders Association of Victoria (East Melbourne)

MBAV recognised a need to train frontline managers and supervisors to manage workplace bullying in the construction sector so it created the Prevention and Awareness of Bullying Course. It is the first immersive course of its type, providing a realistic simulation training experience that explores what bullying is, relevant laws, real-life case studies and highly skilled actors that enable participants to practice their skills in a safe environment. It has been so effective that it is has been delivered to businesses across a range of other industries

Scott Automation & Robotics (Tullamarine)

Scott Automation & Robotics designed a machine to make the first main cuts to a carcass. Called the X-Ray Primal System, it cuts the carcass into three main sections – the forequarter, middle and hindquarter. The system then cuts the middle into further pieces. The system removes the need for bandsaws, which are a common cause of cuts and lacerations, and reduces musculoskeletal injuries caused by manually handling heavy carcasses into position for cutting.


Albert Park Preschool (Albert Park)

The preschool created a new role of Wellbeing Officer and established a wellbeing sub-committee made up of employees, management, health professionals and parents to oversee their ‘Wellbeing for All’ policy and initiatives. The preschool offer a range of health promotion programs including walking tours, training and professional development options with a health focus, and were recently accredited with silver status under the Mental Health First Aid Skills Workplaces initiative.

EastLink (Ringwood)

EastLink provides its employees with a range of services and support to improve their wellbeing. This includes daily fresh fruit, inter-department sporting challenges, financial support services, and health and safety activities and advice. EastLink believes this holistic approach to wellness has reduced absenteeism and workplace injuries and improved staff satisfaction.


Paul Pascu – DP World Australia West Swanson (West Melbourne)

DP World is a shipping container terminal on West Swanson Wharf and Paul has been its elected Health and Safety Representative for 16 years. Paul is a crane operator and is highly respected for his expertise in what is a high-risk work environment. Thanks to his inclusive style, Paul has helped bring management and workers together to complete a number of safety projects that have enhanced safety at the terminal.

Kim Stirzaker – Yoowinna Wurnalung Healing Service (Lakes Entrance)

The Yoowinna Wurnalung Healing Service supports and empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the East Gippsland and Wellington shires of Gippsland. Thanks to the support of the Gippsland Lakes Community Health, Kim has been involved in a number of initiatives which have improved the health and safety of the members of her designated work group and the wider organisation. These include driving improvement in the occupational violence space – including updated policies, procedures, training and introducing new equipment – and improved risk-reporting processes.

Kelly Christie – Victoria Police (Melbourne)

Kelly is an outstanding Health and Safety representative who took on the task of seeking improvements to the Ringwood prosecutions building where she and other colleagues worked. She identified a range of hazards and determined that the site was no longer fit for purpose, so she raised the issues with the Police Association and Victoria Police. While some safety issues were resolved, Kelly drove action until members were eventually moved into a new, fit-for-purpose building and the old building was demolished.


City of Boroondara (Camberwell)

The city offers a range of programs to support employees to return to work or remain at work while recovering from injuries or illness. This includes an on-site physiotherapist, a pilot employee survey to help identify tasks that may result in incidents or injuries, and a program that helps employees stay at work in a suitable capacity while they recover from work or non-work related conditions.

The Royal Children’s Hospital (Parkville)

The RCH’s comprehensive Injury Management Program focuses on early intervention and incident reporting, using a range of tools to identify suitable duties for injured workers and support their mental and physical recovery. It also promotes health and safety initiatives to all employees with a detailed communications strategy. As a result, the number of injuries has reduced and the RCH is now performing 29 per cent better than the industry average.

Outlook Vic Inc (Pakenham)

Outlook is a social enterprise and disability service provider with a particular focus on providing support and information to injured workers with a disability or from a disadvantaged background. Its comprehensive system – made up of training, building relationships, organisational surveys and strong encouragement - ensures injured workers and their supervisors are partners in the return to work process.


Dean Stone – City of Boroondara (Camberwell)

Dean has implemented a number of programs for council employees to enable access to on-site treatment and advice for both work and non-work related injuries. Influential and innovative, Dean has also been instrumental in developing the council’s Stay at Work framework, which assists employees to remain at work while recovering from work and non-work related injuries.

Rhonda Willingham – Northern Health (Epping)

As the sole return to work coordinator for Northern Health’s 4225 employees, Rhonda provides a positive and personal level of support to every injured employee and expert advice and support to management. Rhonda has a firm focus on education, engagement and early intervention, working collaboratively with employees and managers.

Melissa Johnson – Outlook Vic Inc (Pakenham)

Melissa is committed to caring for all Outlook’s employees – 70 per cent of whom have a disability or come from a disadvantaged background. She has developed a comprehensive return to work system that includes manager training, relationships with local treating practitioners, ongoing organisational surveys to ensure employees feel supported and an engaging approach that encourages employees to come forward about injuries so they can be supported through early intervention.


Jason McDonald – Seelite Windows & Doors (Hallam)

In June 2015 carpenter Jason McDonald suffered a fractured skull, ribs and pelvis when the vehicle he was a passenger in collided with a parked truck. Jason worked with his case manager and occupational rehabilitation provider to aid his physical and mental recovery. With their support, and that of his family, and by working on strategies to overcome obstacles such as fatigue during rehabilitation, Jason was able to return to his pre-injury hours less than one year after his accident.

Freda Duraku – Doutta Galla Aged Services (Yarraville)

In 2015, laundry assistant Freda Duraku injured her right shoulder lifting an overfilled skip bag with wet towels. Realising that returning to her job risked further shoulder injuries, Freda has taken on the challenge of retraining for a new role as leisure and lifestyle assistant. She is currently completing this training course to equip her with the skills she needs for future roles.

Dan Casey – Cervus Equipment (Terang)

Daniel, a 33-year-old manager at Mahoney’s Transport Services, suffered extensive injuries after his right foot was crushed by a Bobcat at a Lake Bolac storage facility in 2014. He had extensive treatment, which has involved more than 28 surgeries in 15 months. Despite setbacks to both his physical and emotional recovery, Daniel was determined to return to work and eventually secured a new role at Cervus Equipment, a large machinery sales company in Terang.