Home' Army News : October 27th 2011 Contents 22 FEATURES
Army October 27, 2011
INITIALLY planned to provide soldiers
in 16RWAR with a safer working envi-
ronment, the unit's safety management
system received the top prize in its cat-
egory at the Safety and Compensation
Commission's 2011 Safety Awards.
The award of Best Workplace Health
and Safety Management System awarded
at a gala Comcare dinner in Melbourne on
September 13, recognised the unit's holistic
commitment to continuous improvement in
occupational health and safety.
Speaking about his role as 16RWAR's
CO at the time the system was introduced,
Lt-Col David Jones said a safety review
revealed a workable system, but one that
was underdeveloped, inconsistently applied
and which had limited penetration through
"We realised we had to improve our safe-
ty performance and the way we managed the
rehabilitation of our injured soldiers," Lt-Col
"We also needed to overhaul our safety
system and change our approach to safety
"Our challenge was to develop a cus-
tomised health and safety system, one that
would work for us and suited our part-time
When the unit's new safety management
system was in place, the results were dra-
matic. The ArmySAFE Advisory Service
audited the unit as "fully compliant" and the
battalion reduced its annual injury rate by 72
Lt-Col Jones never intended for the unit
to receive so much acclaim.
"The very positive outcome of the ASAS
audit was great recognition of everyone's
effort. When 13 Bde called for nominations
for the ArmySAFE awards we sent in our
submission and the rest is history," he said.
The former CO accredited the battal-
ion's success at the safety awards to the
whole unit. "It was most pleasing for me that
this project was a group effort, with contri-
butions made at all levels of the battalion,
because safety requires the team to make it
"My XO, Maj Chris Adams, played a
critical role, working very hard throughout
and producing excellent results. My appre-
ciation also goes to my OHS committee, the
padre, fire wardens, first aiders, Q stores,
training staff, fulltime and part-time soldiers
-- all did their bit in the development of our
The battalion leadership team established
an OHS Management System that was fully
integrated into its business and governance
processes, not just bolted-on to them.
"We took a project management
approach -- we gained buy-in from our lead-
ership group and this cascaded down, we
implemented a communications strategy to
explain why we needed to change and peo-
ple progressively came onboard to sponsor
their little part of what they were doing to
improve safety," Lt-Col Jones said.
This progressive change in the battalion's
approach to safety management took nine
months to implement.
"It wasn't as if we just flicked on a light
switch," he said.
And it was the little things that gave the
CO confidence that safety was accepted as
being everyone's responsibility.
"I knew our safety system was work-
ing when my commanders would ask their
soldiers safety related questions and person-
ally check and ensure that the necessary risk
management procedures were in place."
There was clear leadership, commitment
and "ownership" of safety performance at all
levels of the unit, Lt-Col Jones said.
"It's this essential change in culture that
has kept the system alive and part of how we
do business safely in the unit today."
Battalion sets the standard
Leadership, commitment and a cultural shift were the
keys to 16RWAR's award-winning safety management
system, Maj John Liston reports.
Safe and sound:
LCpl Daniel Smith,
16RWAR, patrols the
Bindoon Training Area
as part of a live-fire
within the unit's
system. Inset, Maj
Chris Adams and
Lt-Col David Jones
receive the Safety
Health and Safety
2011 award on behalf
of the battalion.
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