Anyone who works in an operational environment or with heavy vehicles knows there’s a risk of injury.
That’s why we’re so proud of the achievements at State Transit’s Mona Vale Depot, where recently the team reached a monumental safety milestone – 1,000 days without a lost-time injury. That’s almost three years!
“It’s a fantastic achievement,” says Kara Hillier, Regional Health Services Officer at State Transit. Kara is responsible for health promotion and injury management at four sites, including Mona Vale.
“It’s not easy to provide such a long record of safety in an industry that involves the operation and maintenance of heavy vehicles. But Mona Vale has shown it can be done.”
So how did they do it?
“Mona Vale’s success is based on collective effort from operational staff, Work Health and Safety reps and management,” says Kara. “Everyone at the depot contributed to building a strong safety culture, particularly our drivers and maintenance staff.
“We used to struggle to find drivers to operate late night bus services because of the high risk of assault, so we collaborated with NSW Police following the introduction of the Operation Bus Safe program.
“The management team meets fortnightly with Police to discuss local ‘hot spots’ for criminal and anti-social behaviour on public transport.”
The team at Mona Vale celebrate their achievement with Police.
Bus drivers can radio a control centre to notify Police if they feel unsafe onboard at night and Police then board the bus to deal with any troublemakers. Plain-clothes Police have also been riding buses throughout the area. There has also been an increased focus on fare evasion.
As a result, they’ve seen a significant reduction in driver assaults and improved the standard of behaviour on our buses – a win for both our staff and passengers!
Health education programs have also helped the safety culture, including educational workshops about relieving stress and stretch and exercise sessions.
Kara says that being a valued member of her close-knit management team propels her to achieve great things.
“Working within such a friendly and supportive team is extremely rewarding. It really brings home the importance of my role, helping to keep them and the broader State Transit family safe every day.”
She hopes Mona Vale’s achievement will spur other workplaces across the Transport cluster to continue improving safety.
“My advice is to be actively involved in your workplace injury management processes. Be supportive and open minded when there are suggestions for process improvements, as sometimes the simplest modifications can lead to success. Use the experience and knowledge of expert advisers. And support and educate staff involved in the process.”
As for Mona Vale, the 1,000 day milestone is just the start. With their proactive safety focus, they’ve now set their sights on 2,000 days!
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