Electrix performs in Fonterra’s community culture around safety

July 2015

Electrix performs in Fonterra’s community culture around safety

Fonterra believes that caring for its people is a key foundation to the way it operates – and it expects no less of its contractors. Fonterra is a global, cooperatively owned company with more than 30 manufacturing sites across New Zealand that range in both capacity and capabilities. The business runs an extensive programme of capital projects across its various locations, and to protect the safety of all parties involved, Fonterra has adopted a stringent community culture around safety.

While Electrix has worked on Fonterra sites for many years, it was critical the company was able to demonstrate its practical commitment to workplace safety from the outset. Fonterra’s Pahiatua site processes 1.4 million litres of milk each day from farms across northern Hawke’s Bay to southern Wairarapa and Wellington, turning it into 55,000 tons of whole milk powder each year. The growth of Fonterra’s global business meant the company needed to upgrade the existing plant to increase the overall production capabilities and manage its ever-increasing demand.

 

TOUGH CONVERSATIONS

One of the key pillars of Fonterra’s ‘putting people before the project’ is creating an environment where open and sometimes tough conversations around safety can be had. The proposed works involved increasing the number of dryers that convert milk from liquid to milk powder, upgrading the wastewater treatment plant, and increasing the capacity of storage facilities and milk tanks. As a result, numerous parties were required onsite at the same time. Electrix was engaged to install electrical equipment to ensure there was sufficient capacity through the site, as well as works to upgrade the network servicing the site.

Glenn Sullivan, group manager electrical engineering for Fonterra, comments: “In many ways safety is a journey of maturity. It’s easy for people to say they understand and what it entails, but we need to be able to observe the behaviour that demonstrates this. From the outset, Electrix demonstrated they understood what we were looking for and were able to add substantial value onsite through the safety experience they brought to the project.”

 

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT

Electrix has a strong commitment to safety, holding accreditations for AS/NZS 4801:2001 Occupational health and safety management systems, a Site Safe NZ corporate membership, and it consistently achieves tertiary (top) level member status of the NZ Accident Compensation Corporation’s (ACC) Partnership Programme. One of the keys to the company’s success and reputation for creating a safe working environment is its commitment to employee engagement. Electrix understands that looking after its people is critical to a lasting safety culture, and as part of its safety programme, it undertakes detailed risk assessments for all works and conducts regular health and safety assessments for all staff. All staff are instilled with a duty to take reasonable care of their own health and safety and ensure they do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons.

Recognition is also a key ingredient for ensuring information is constantly shared throughout all levels of the business and given the priority it deserves. Electrix believes it is important to recognise employees for performance in the area of safety to ensure they understand their efforts are important and acknowledged within the business, and uses regular communications to educate and inform best safety practices.

 

EXERCISING DUE DILIGENCE

The Fonterra community culture around safety extends to vendors and suppliers across the dairy industry that operates as a trusted group. The members of this community understand the importance of safety and are also a cultural fit within the industry. In response to its performance at the Pahiatua site, Electrix has won the contract for further works at Edendale, one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing dairying regions. The site accounts for 25% of Fonterra’s annual milk powder production and is home to some of the industry’s latest technology.

Companies have a duty to exercise due diligence to ensure they comply with the relevant acts and regulations, but also to ensure they engage appropriate resources and processes to provide and maintain a safe work environment and adequate facilities for workers. As legislation continues to develop to protect the safety of workers, experience in this arena becomes more critical when selecting the companies to engage for the various services.

 

The Electrix safety commitment

  • Provide adequate resources to prevent accidents and to strive to continually improve occupational health, safety and rehabilitation
  • Establish measurable objectives and targets to ensure continued improvement aimed at eliminating work-related injury and illness
  • Ensure managers at all levels are competent in health and safety management, and regard health, safety and rehabilitation at the workplace as their highest priorities
  • Provide employees with adequate training, information and instruction on the hazards associated with their work and safe techniques for performing the job
  • Ensure all employees contribute to the important and responsible role of incident prevention
  • Provide safe plant, equipment and systems of work
  • Ensure compliance with legislative requirements and industry standards
  • Ensure workplace rehabilitation is commenced as soon as practicable, in accordance with medical advice and the individual needs of the employee
  • Ensure as far as practicable that suitable duties are made available to injured workers to facilitate their safe and early return to the workplace
  • Consult with employees to ensure that occupational health, safety and rehabilitation plans, policies and procedures operate effectively.
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