THE GENESIS OF SAFETY FIRST
“Back in 1993 when I was working as an insurance broker, I never envisaged that a dramatically increased worker’s compensation policy renewal for a colleague would lead the way to the ‘Safety First solution, but it did!”
Managing Director, Safety First Risk Management
Kevin York vividly remembers the day he presented a worker’s compensation premium renewal to a company director friend. The premium had been loaded by 75% because of the high level of accident and injury claims the company had made over the previous year.
When Kevin asked what his colleague planned to do about the high level of claims and when he responded ‘What can I do, I’ll have to sack staff to pay this’, Kevin’s response of ‘Let’s go and talk to the staff’ became the foundation for Safety First and the cornerstone of the company’s philosophy, and ever since that day, staff involvement has played a crucial role in the implementation and maintenance of every client WH&S program.
What initially started out as a paper system based on policy and procedure manuals gradually gained in popularity and acceptance and inevitably led to the development of the unique ‘risk-centric’ Safety Manager software package that exists today.
In 2000, Safety First received certification by world leader in testing, inspection and certification services, Bureau Veritas for AS/NZ 4801:2001 under the classification:
The Design and Implementation of Safety Systems Complying With AS/NZS 4801:2001. The Maintenance and Monitoring of Onsite Safety Systems and Associated Training
The key to Safety Manager’s success revolves around its ability to take information and feedback, provided by employees about hazards, near misses and injuries occurring in the workplace, and turn this into knowledge, which was then presented to staff in the form of improved work place health and safety practices. This increased everyone’s awareness of the risks around them and helped to reduce accident and injury significantly.
Driving a culture of change
By 2011 it became evident that training was going to be the main driver of cultural change with regard to health & safety awareness and so Safety First became a Registered Training Organisation and began undertaking courses for clients – the aim being to train a number of Safety Leadership groups within client companies based on the Certificate IV in WH&S course – an initiative that struck a chord with clients and has proved to be very effective in hastening a cultural change towards workplace health and safety.
In companies where ongoing Safety First WH&S Programs are in place it is normal to see the incidence of workplace injuries, and subsequent claims, reduce by between 50 and 70%, which, in turn, often leads to significant reduction in company overheads including worker’s compensation, insurance premiums, rebates on training and the cost of managing injuries.
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