A project to improve traffic safety in and around more than 70 Fonterra manufacturing and office sites in New Zealand and globally, was recognised at the Safeguard NZ Workplace Health and Safety Awards held at SkyCity Convention Centre in Auckland last night.
Nicole Rosie, Fonterra’s Group General Manager Health and Safety said the Impac- sponsored award for Best significant health and safety initiative by a large organisation marked a positive step in the Co-op’s continuing efforts to get all its 17,000 employees safe home every day. It is the second year running Fonterra has garnered the Award.
“Moving and operating vehicles are where we have our most near misses by a big margin, out-stripping by three to one the next most common near misses – unsafe storage and stacking – which we are also tackling,” Nicole said.
The Co-op’s new traffic management programme introduces a clear set of standards for controlling the movement of vehicles and people on Fonterra sites.
Regional champions were challenged to identify risks and propose solutions covering entry and exit, vehicle flow, pedestrian separation, rail traffic, and loading/unloading.
The standards will be fully introduced over the next three years, with 27 out of 73 global sites having already completed their traffic management assessments. Plant and equipment design are a vital part of the solutions to reduce or remove risk.
The standards build on other recent successful traffic safety initiatives. These include a training programme incorporating ‘in-barrel’ filming so that the Co-op’s 1350 New Zealand tanker operators can see how liquid loads move under different driving conditions.
That programme has yielded excellent results with the company recording just three tanker rollovers so far this season in 88 million kms. Five years ago the fleet had a rollover every 5.3 million kms - so that’s a five-fold improvement.
Nicole Rosie said Fonterra’s Health and Safety push, which covers the Co-op’s people, processes and plants, is starting to yield results. In April 2012, the Co-op recorded its lowest ever injury rate for all its operations around the globe.
“The progress we are making in Health and Safety recognises a lot of hard work by our frontline people, supported by our Board, business leaders and the Health and safety team,” Nicole said.
“We are on track to reduce by three quarters, the number of people who are injured at work in 2012, compared to five years ago. That’s good progress, but of course we can never relent as even one person killed or injured on the job, is one too many,” Nicole said.
Other Fonterra projects including an employee-led safety plan at the TipTop ice-cream business and safety improvements at the Whareroa testing laboratory were also finalists in the categories for NZ Safety Best initiative to encourage engagement in health & safety and Department of Labour Best initiative to address a health hazard Awards.
The Safeguard New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety awards are now in their eighth year, with a judging panel which includes representatives from the Department of Labour, ACC, the NZ Council of Trade Unions, Safeguard, and an experienced health and safety practitioner.