Health and Safety

GWA's focus remains on ensuring that we provide a safe workplace for our employees, contractors, visitors and customers, while driving a positive safety culture and actively reducing and mitigating risk.

"We care for each other" is a Cultural Pillar of the organisation that drives our objective to ensure everyone is safe, every day. The GWA management structure for Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) continues to be centrally led by the Head of Risk, Safety and Compliance. This executive addresses the Board and Executive Leadership Team (ELT) on a regular basis to discuss all matters relating to WHS. This provides an opportunity for updates, scope discussions and to monitor progress of the WHS strategy and performance.

The ELT members regularly review key risk areas aligned with our business risk profile. These include chain of responsibility, health and wellbeing, environment and waste.

During FY21, GWA continued to make substantial progress on implementing our safety strategy.  This strategy focuses on leadership and behavioural aspects of safety together with identifying and mitigating physical risks in our operations.  The increased focus on cultural and behavioural drivers has resulted in an improvement in most of the Group’s lead and lag indicators of safety performance. GWA has steadily improved its safety performance over time, but has seen an increase in lost time injuries during the year due to manual handling incidents.  We have implemented customised training strategies and revised standard operating procedures to address the root causes of the injuries. 

Key achievements during the year included:

  • GWA meets the requirements to ensure the health and safety of its workers under WHS legislation and continued the external auditing process for WHS compliance at its sites.  During FY21, the Group commenced the transition from Australian safety standard AS4801 accreditation to the new international safety standard ISO45001, and all GWA sites were accredited to this new standard;  
  • GWA completed the review and update of all safety policies, procedures and tools to bring these in line with ISO45001 international safety standards.  This has been a significant task to standardise operating procedures to deliver a consistent and measurable approach to safety across the Group;
  • Safety Homecoming training is now into its fourth year and continues to be rolled out to all employees across Australia, New Zealand and for the first time to the United Kingdom.  The roll-out into China was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Safety Homecoming is designed to develop and drive safety behaviour engagement for staff at all levels.  The intent is to acknowledge and celebrate safe demonstrated behaviour whilst engaging and addressing at-risk behaviour;
  • Improved monitoring of driver behaviour and safety was a clear focus. Reporting on telematics devices by Ctrack and insights from fleet management are readily available to drivers and management. This has seen an improvement in driver behaviour and a reduction in road accidents;
  • Mental health ambassadors were identified and appointed across the business and trained in mental health first aid as part of our continuing focus on the wellbeing of staff including metal health issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. R U OK? training was also rolled out throughout the organisation;
  • The New Zealand Methven factory was successfully scaled down and decommissioned without injury or serious incident. The high-risk work of dismantling and moving the machinery was well planned and executed allowing the project to be conducted in a safe and compliant manner;
  • The New Zealand Avondale distribution centre was temporarily relocated to Highbrook while work was conducted to convert the previous factory to a larger distribution centre as part of integrating the Caroma and Methven businesses.  The entire Highbrook distribution centre has now been moved to Avondale. The project was completed with safety as the highest priority and completed with zero injuries or serious incidents; and
  • The Methven Heshan, China factory was sold during FY21 which lowers the Group’s overall WHS risk.
Case Study – Zero Medically Treated Injuries in FY21

For the second successive year, GWA has maintained a MTIFR (medically treated injury frequency rate) at zero.

This result has been achieved from a continued focus on safety culture and behavioural change at all sites across the GWA network, including Australia, New Zealand, China and the United Kingdom. 

At each site we are focusing on preventative measures, including hazard reduction and near miss reporting to drive cultural change in the way we interact at our sites which has led to this result for the second year in a row. 

The roll-out of Safety Homecoming training is continuing to deliver a major improvement in safety culture across the business.

The implementation of site specific activities such as daily tool-box meetings, site audits and root-cause analysis of incidents is assisting in driving the ongoing behavioural change to deliver this improved result.

Safety Performance Indicators

GWA measures a range of balanced safety performance indicators. We continuously identify, implement and monitor our activities to ensure we eliminate unsafe acts and practices.

These activities, identified as proactive ‘LEAD’ indicators, include the number of safety interactions conducted, hazards reported, site inspections and actions closed.  GWA also measures key ‘LAG’ indicators that measure lost time and medically treated injuries, hours lost due to injury and total injuries which represent a combination of lost time and medically treated injuries.

Lead Indicators

During FY21, GWA’s safety performance measured by Lead indicators is detailed below:

Lag Indicators

During FY21, GWA’s safety performance measured by Lag indicators is detailed below:

GWA Total Injury Frequency Rate (TIFR)

Following the improvement trend in the TIFR since FY18 and a significant reduction in FY20, GWA experienced an increase in the rate from 0.9 in FY20 to 4.3 in FY21, primarily as a result of an increase in manual handling injuries.  We are renewing our focus on behaviours and have implemented customised training strategies, revised our standard operating procedures and trained staff to address the root causes to reduce manual handling injuries.

GWA recorded a Medically Treated Injury Frequency Rate (MTIFR) of 0.0 for FY21.

GWA is committed to maintaining the positive safety culture in the Group and our ongoing proactive approach to identifying and mitigating safety risks.  Workplace safety remains an ongoing focus for the Board and the executives of the Group.