Enhancing Safety, Health and Wellbeing
Consistently leading safe outcomes.
We work to establish consistent application of policies, standards and procedures across the organisation and with our business partners based on effective risk management.
Projects and activities planned for next financial year, some of which have already commenced, include the following:
- implementing actions from the three-year Safety, Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2020-23
- reviewing safety survey results with a view to streamlining and simplifying processes
- undertaking more face-to-face interaction between Corporate Safety Branch and regional safety resources and employees
- maintaining the status of our federal safety accreditation for the two federal projects in the Kimberley Region
- working with our contractors to identify incident trends from data that is a single source of truth
- hosting a Transport Portfolio Safety Forum in March 2021
- developing critical control standards to reflect identified critical risks
- concentrating on effective traffic management to ensure the safety of employees and contractors working on our network.
Our Safety Performance
We monitor our performance through a series of Safety, Health and Wellbeing (SHW) measures at our Corporate Executive and bimonthly Corporate SHW Committee meetings. EQSafe is our corporate safety reporting system that provides user-friendly dashboards that enable users to filter and focus on aspects of SHW performance. The data from last year has shown that of all the injuries recorded, 12.33 per cent are Main Roads employees and 87.67 per cent are contractor injuries. Other measures include the number of serious incidents reported for the month and the status of outstanding investigation reports.
This information helps identify critical issues, trends and emerging challenges that assist Corporate Executive to make strategic decisions to ensure the safety of our workforce and those that work with us in delivering our services.
A more collaborative approach to investigating contractor safety incidents has been encouraged, with an increase in the quality and clarity of investigation reports. Following serious incidents, we issue immediate notification across the organisation and to our contractors, with a follow up bulletin after the investigation has been completed.
Total Injuries on Body
Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate
Over the past 12 months, the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate has reduced to 1.54 exceeding our target of 1.60.
Serious Incidents Reported Within 24 Hours
- Within 24 hours - 37%
- Not within 24 hours - 63%
Over the last 12 months, almost 37 per cent of serious incidents were reported into EQSafe within 24 hours. While the reporting of incidents to Main Roads is occurring, there is a delay in submitting the incident details into EQSafe. Ongoing training and consultation is occurring to ensure that the entering of information is submitted within 24 hours, even if it comprises of basic information. In these circumstances, further information can be added once the investigation commences.
Incident Investigations Closed Out <28 Days
We seek to have all incident investigations closed out within 28 days. Last year there was a 53 per cent closure rate within 28 days.
Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management
We engaged an external consultant to review the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Process including interviews with employees who have had a workers compensation claim. A number of recommendations were made including engaging rehabilitation providers to assist with the management of difficult cases and to review the availability of specialists in regional areas so that injured workers can be reviewed locally rather than having to travel to Perth.
We have identified 12 Critical Risks, which focus on preventing serious injuries and fatalities. Due to the nature of works that we are responsible for in normal business, interaction with live traffic and mobile plant remains our highest risk. One of the primary focuses remains to identify innovative methods to mitigate the risks involved with traffic management and separation of plant.
The twelve critical risks we have identified are:
- hazardous substances
- mobile plant incident
- vehicle incident
- interaction live traffic
- fall from height
- service strike
- dropped objects
- lifting operations
- electrical shock and arc flash
- thermal stress
- engulfment from trench
- ignition causing bushfire.
Safety Health and Wellbeing Strategy
The new Corporate SHW Strategy 2020-23 has actions assigned over the coming three years. The focus for the strategy is to ensure our frontline employees have the skills and capability to undertake their role safely. This also focuses on the best practice procurement model that ensures the highest standards of labour engagement and safety practices. Our focus for 2020 is to continue to improve our internal and external stakeholder (including regulatory bodies) engagement based on the positive outcomes achieved in 2019.
Proactive Safety, Health and Wellbeing
The construction industry is one with, traditionally, the highest number of serious injuries. On our projects, there is an unavoidable interface with public traffic and it can be difficult to regulate the behaviours of all drivers.
Our projects also use heavy machinery, which sometimes operate in limited spaces with employees in close proximity. There has been a close focus on identifying suitable controls to mitigate the risks involved with these activities, with Traffic Management controls being scrutinised to ensure effectiveness and optimise safety. We have started a new initiative to record incidents with members of the public separately on EQSafe to assist us in identifying trends.
In a move towards a more contemporary approach to safety, we conducted a survey asking all employees what they believe the effectiveness was of the services offered by the safety resources at corporate and regional levels. The results of this survey, will help shape a response strategy with more emphasis being placed on collaborating with frontline employees and supervisors.
By understanding the extensive legislative and agency requirements, we aim to consolidate the essentials for each high-risk activity into Critical Risk Standards. We will then translate into a working model, which will allow the design of work to be done safely. This will assist in moving away from standalone safety planning into a holistic business approach.
We reviewed Specification 203, which details the safety and health requirements of our contracting partners to develop a safety management plan for works. The purpose of the update, which reduced the size of the requirements by 30 per cent, were to ensure the specifications were relevant to legislative requirements. The review removed unnecessary content, while adding content more relevant to works undertaken and procured in a risk based approach.
With the impending move from the Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) Act to the National Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Act, it has been recognised that more emphasis should be made to involve the elected safety representatives in safety related activities.
A crucial part of ensuring a safe workforce is ensuring that employees are trained and competent in the tasks they are doing. Within the training section on iRoads, LearningHub houses a series of mandatory training programs that employees complete online to gain or maintain competency.
2019 External Integrated Management System (IMS) Audit
During the 2019 Compliance Audit we received 10 low level safety improvements against AS4801:2001 and Main Roads has received recommendation for certification to ISO45001:2018. The actions were monitored throughout the year to ensure they were closed out in preparation for the 2020 IMS Surveillance audit.
The external auditors acknowledge the maturity of our certified management systems, including the role we play in engaging external regulators such as WorkSafe WA to identify and improve system gaps.
Mental Health Strategy
Mental health is increasingly important in the workplace, playing a crucial role in everything from productivity and economic success to the social wellbeing of the nation. The impact of mental health on organisations can be significant – especially impacts from work absences and long-term work incapacity. With the COVID-19 Pandemic, mental health and wellbeing was at the front of mind when developing the coping strategies for our employees.
Our Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace Survey has set a baseline. Results indicate that 45 per cent of our workforce reported a need for an approach to mental health in the workplace (including awareness raising, capability building, and prevention and support) that is embedded in an integrated and sustained way.
In October 2019, during the National Mental Health Week, a Mental Wellness Strategic Framework and Action Plan 2019–22 was released. It is a framework for staff to build their capability and commitment to positive workplace culture, to assess mental health risks, to take informed action for improving mental health and ensure early access to effective care and rehabilitation. This plan is our first comprehensive approach to workplace mental wellness.
In accordance with the Mental Wellness Action Plan, the key focus for 2019 to 2020 has been ‘Improve Understanding of Mental Health’. This has been facilitated through monthly articles on our intranet site, iRoads, which cover such topics as: Mental Health and Wellbeing during the Festive Season; Mental Health and Women; and What is Mental Health? In addition, there are sessions providing an overview of the three most common mental health conditions and the signs that may suggest someone is not coping. The aim is to contribute to creating a workplace culture where staff are comfortable openly discussing mental health and may notice if someone is having an issue.
Our in-house training program TEAM (Training, Engaging Accountable Managers), provides sessions in Workplace Mental Health for Leaders, as well as Resilience and Change. These are to equip participants with skills to recognise and respond with confidence to mental health issues in the workplace. They also provide tools and strategies for dealing with stress and for shifting unhelpful perspectives. The feedback from all those involved in the Awareness Raising Sessions and TEAM Training has been extremely positive.
We have an Employee Assistance Program that allows employees to access registered psychologists to help them cope with work-related or non-work-related challenges. While confidential, the stats show usage of the program is similar between genders and generally attended on a voluntary and self-referred basis. Data suggests significantly improved results to wellbeing or referral to more specialised practitioners.
The focus will be to continue to create a culture of disclosure, where risks are addressed and mental health support is promoted and readily available to employees. There will also be a focus on building capability for our supervisors and managers to be more responsive and supportive in recognising mental health issues early on, and appropriately responding or intervening.
Strategic Way of Responding to Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic required we develop strategies encompassing directives from government and health authorities. To ensure there was a single source of truth for all information related to COVID-19, a dedicated page was produced on iRoads. Initiatives to reduce both physical and psychological risks saw efforts to stop the spread of the disease by restricting employee movements. This included: restricting work-related travel; prioritising working from home arrangements, especially for vulnerable employees; social distancing; and pre-screening processes for those returning to work after illness.
Unfortunately, there were three Main Roads employees and one contractor who contracted the virus in a rural area of the state. The response in contact tracing, quarantining and support for staff was handled with precision and professionalism with excellent cooperation from our teams.
We continue to monitor and review incident management processes in order to communicate lessons learnt. We developed training to deliver to frontline employees and supervisors to ensure that the incident response process is clear and concise. The training includes instructions on how to ensure a collaborative approach during investigations between contractors and ourselves following serious or potentially serious incidents.
Communication of Safety Banner Alerts
We regularly communicate Safety Banner Alerts across the organisation and to our contractors providing lessons learnt from serious incidents with associated corrective actions. Over the last year, we issued 81 banner alerts:
|Safety Banner Alert Type||Number|
Red (Initial information on a serious incident)
Grey (follow on from Red Alert with final investigation findings and corrective actions associated)
Blue (safety information – general)
Orange (technology and innovation)
Supporting the Stop Violence Against Women Campaign
Between November and December 2019, Main Roads again supported the 16 Days in WA to Stop Violence Against Women campaign. One of the initiatives was to support people affected by homelessness, which is often as a direct result of domestic violence. Staff donated goods for hampers to the St Bart’s Christmas hamper appeal. Fifteen volunteers assisted with packing hampers, which were supplied to 350 men, 150 women and children.