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$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Safety made easy

Safety made easy

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Need help getting on top of your workplace safety obligations? These two building businesses turned to HIA’s Safety Solutions team and discovered a simpler, more effective way.

Laura Valic

Editor

‘Everyone from management to site trades must perform their day-to-day activities in a safe manner, for them and the people around them. We’re all responsible for looking after ourselves and our co-workers’ physical and mental health to the best of our ability.’ 

Stephen Hall, Construction Manager for Allworth Homes in Sydney, is like many others in the building industry who believes workplace health and safety (WHS) is one of the most important aspects of running a business. Construction after all is a high-risk industry, with many moving parts. It makes sense to have strong safety controls – from both a people and productivity perspective. 

Stephen says the challenges to builders brought on by the pandemic, such as restrictions in work practices and the sudden change in available personnel, meant Allworth Homes had to find new ways to handle safety on their building sites.

It’s easy to meet your business’s safety obligations thanks to the tailored products and services offered by the HIA Safety Solutions team. (Image courtesy G.J. Gardner Homes Wollongong)

‘Like most companies operating during COVID, we had to adapt quickly to ensure we didn’t drop the ball in relation to safety procedure,’ he says. ‘After talking to HIA Safety Advisors, we found a suitable solution.’ 

The HIA member business took advantage of the products and services available through the Association for residential builders and contractors. These included introducing a safety management system, using HIA SafeScan for site inductions and organising independent inspections.

‘We kept our onsite random inspection program going with HIA and implemented SafeScan,’ Stephen explains. ‘I found this was an easy transition as everyone was familiar with scanning QR codes to enter a worksite. The biggest plus was being able to give all staff more information about procedures. It also made documentation easily accessible through the system.’ 

A member for more than seven years, G.J. Gardner Homes Wollongong in NSW also gets help from HIA for its day-to-day WHS needs. The business made use of HIA’s Making space on site – COVID-19 Site Induction QR code during lockdown restrictions and reached out in 2022 to access other safety products.

‘Safety is a key focus for our business for all staff, subcontractors, suppliers, clients and visitors to our offices, display homes and multiple sites across the region,’ explains Melanie Wells, Safety Compliance Officer. ‘Our procedures implemented with the help from HIA proves to be a strong base for compliance within our business.’

Allworth Homes Construction Manager Stephen Hall (left) views HIA SafeScan in action on a building site.
G.J. Gardner Homes Wollongong and Shoalhaven directors Sean Vickery (centre) and Nathan Fay (right) observing onsite safety practices.

G.J. Gardner Homes Wollongong was initially interested in the benefits of HIA SafeScan, a product Melanie says is user friendly for subcontractors and can be set up specifically for each worksite. ‘We are able to use the emails we receive from the SafeScan QR code to determine who is on which site,’ she says. ‘This helps us to work with subcontractors to allow for greater training of safety knowledge onsite, therefore adhering to WorkSafe regulations.’

The business also receives independent site inspections and implemented a safe management system, which it uses on a daily basis, through HIA. Melanie says she’s been pleased with the support from HIA Safety Solutions while implementing these systems. ‘We receive knowledgeable advice and quick responses whenever we are in contact,’ she says. ‘We feel we’ve helped our supervisors and subcontractors understand the importance of WHS and this then makes us feel more confident we are building a stronger safety culture.’

Stephen explains that integrating new safety systems into Allworth Homes took time, but the business was supported along the way. ‘The HIA Safety Solutions team helped a lot, especially with examples and short media presentations,’ he says. ‘I’m now able to see where and when our safety systems are being used. If needed, I can communicate where we are falling short and adjust to suit.’ 

Stephen adds that putting the right information into the system is key, but HIA site inspectors are able to assist. ‘Having them on board conducting random inspections is an asset as they can inform and help train site personnel while doing site safety inspections.’

With easy-to-use WHS systems and greater oversight of safety on their building sites, both members would recommend HIA Safety Solutions to others. Stephen offers a final word of advice to other builders: ‘You can implement as many procedures and systems as you want but you need to track, monitor and encourage the use of your systems to ensure they stay relevant to your goals. Everyone must be on the same page, so every person goes home safe and healthy every day.’

HIA SafeScan in action on a building site.
Customised safety for your business

It’s never been easier to meet your business’s safety obligations thanks to the tailored products and services offered by the HIA Safety Solutions team. As an independent safety practitioner, HIA can perform a gap analysis of your safety practices and help your business implement the safety systems it needs.

Launched this year, we now have Safety System eDocs available, which are a suite of nearly 40 downloadable templates to add to your safety procedures. You can access Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS), Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Safety Management Plans, risk assessments, safety checklists and more when you need it, straight from HIA Products. These are editable so you can add your business logo and details.

HIA’s products are tried and tested, designed specifically for the residential building industry. Visit HIA Safety Solutions to get started or email us to help you. 

What is HIA SafeScan?

HIA SafeScan is a quick and easy way to digitally transform your onsite WHS requirements, ensuring workers have access to essential safety information onsite at all times. The QR code technology and digital forms can be used for site inductions, site sign in/out, risk assessments, incident notification, pre-start meetings and toolbox talks or contractor document management. Workers can use their smartphones to access cloud documents, complete tasks or upload photos or videos. 

Members can take advantage of reduced pricing on the annual subscription fee. Visit HIA Safety Solutions for more information.

First published on 1 November 2023

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