Coates Hire’s new Group Manager HSEQ Martine Briers has hit the ground running with the implementation of her vision for a national Coates Hire safety culture. As soon as she arrived in the Mascot office in Sydney she set out on weeklong tours of the state branches, first New South Wales, then Queensland, followed by Western Australia and then Victoria and South Australia.
“I’m a big believer in safety on the ground and at the frontline being part of change management,” she says. “I’ve already started visiting the regional branches. Last week I flew to SA and got a car and drove round all the regional branches to Melbourne.”
Briers has articulated “the four pillars” of safety strategy as being plant, procedures, people and leadership. Plant and sites should be regulation compliant and up to date. “I’ll enable that with the right systems and tools for employees and clients to manage critical risk.”
Raising awareness, training, consistent communications and positive reinforcement ensures all staff – the people factor –understand safety values, but Briers believes that leadership is the key to best practice. Site walks and visiting the branches are central to this.
“Leaders at the Executive and Coates Hire Leadership Team levels are required to do walks and be part of the safety journey, to go on the floor and talk to people. Walks encourage our people to work safely.”
The newly formulated Coates Hire HSEQ team of 18 comprises 10 national advisors plus one environmental manager, a systems and contracts quality management team, and a branches and transport manager.
“We have created a team charter together covering our purpose, goals and the behaviours of the team to activate and support the single vision of the company,” she says. “Now we are out of the office and on the ground communicating directly with our people and up-skilling, providing direction, advice, support and coaching.”
The team has set some provisional benchmarks for “quick wins that we are working on” as well as longer term requirements. “Now we are looking at critical issues” using lagging and leading indicators on a month by month basis. “We have set a very high goal for reducing total recordable injuries, that’s the whole of the Coates Hire lag indicator,” Briers says. “The team’s role is to drive and support achieving these strategic goals.”
Lead indicators are obtained from observation and reporting. “It’s very much about preventative measures. How we go about that is identifying risk, always looking at corrective actions. Near miss reporting engenders actions that lead to improvement.”
Appropriate response to injuries when they occur is part of this. “Injury management covers the quality of immediate early intervention, which is of paramount importance,” she stresses. “For our managers knowing the steps is part of their management skills.”
In Briers’s experience planning is the precursor to success. “I do believe in having a clear strategy plan,” she says. “That’s how people come on board.
“That’s my aim at Coates Hire, creating easy tools to achieve a good outcome. I see that outcome for our customers and employees that nobody gets injured. It’s our belief that it is achievable.”