The nature of Interflow’s work renewing deteriorated pipelines means a high-risk work environment is unavoidable. But a revitalised direction and a focus on managing safety will reduce potential harm.
With more than 450 field staff spread across the country, Interflow Health, Safety and Environment Executive Manager Adrian Smith said it’s vital to create a culture that focuses on managing and understanding risk across the organisation.
When Smith joined the company in 2017 and embarked on a tour of Interflow’s regional offices, he discovered different locations had different standards, often revolving around their clients’ expectations.
His time on the road revealed a range of opportunities to further strengthen Interflow’s focus on safety and raise the bar, from site set up, mobile plants and vehicles, to depots and offices.
“I didn’t see significant inconsistencies, but we needed to identify our own specific safety standards and obligations to further improve the overall Interflow culture,” Smith said.
To do this, Smith and the Interflow management team created Harm 2 Zero (H20), a program designed to develop leadership skills and make safety simple to understand and follow.
Smith will discuss how Interflow developed H20 during his presentation at Ozwater’19 in May, including the company’s focus on six key pillars: collaboration, communication and consultation; workplace health, safety and environmental management system; planning and design; risk management; critical and fatal risks; and safety assurance and investigation.
“The idea was, if we were to put these key pillars into place, we would achieve our commitment to H20 because we would remove or minimise risk and give our frontline staff a clear understanding of our safety standards, expectations and obligations,” he said.
“We work in a high-risk industry, so we understand there is a level of harm, but we wanted to ensure we have effective standards.”
The company has now delivered stage one of H20 to more than 510 staff. This comprised four key modules: leadership, life saving rules, critical safety essentials, and fair and just culture.
It built on Interflow’s core values of honesty, reliability and competence to engage staff face-to-face and make everyone aware of the safety expectations and how to implement them.
“Safety is not all about telling individuals what to do; it’s about asking what our staff need to do their work more safely,” Smith said
“Ultimately the people at risk are those undertaking the task, so it’s also important to ensure we ask if they have the right equipment, tools and resources to do the job safely.”
Switched on safety
H20 is not a one-off program. Rather, it’s an ongoing journey that will see new modules rolled out on an ongoing basis.
Interflow is also introducing a new health and safety technology platform, which Smith described as a “proactive safety management tool”.
“This will supersede previous paper-based systems and allow our frontline staff to focus on the tasks at hand, and provide more oversight into what’s happening in the field,” Smith said.
To view the full Ozwater’19 program and to register, click here.