In June 2010, Australian based engineering group Monadelphous earned the general services and maintenance contract responsible for all of the critical utilities on a Project that serviced a workforce in excess of 5,500 living and working in a harsh and remote location. The contract included operating and maintaining the water and waste water treatment plants and the power generation and distribution systems as well as management and maintenance of the accommodation facilities and various buildings, vehicles, plant and equipment.
There were approximately 380 Monadelphous staff rotating on a fly-in/fly-out roster, and approximately 220 staff living onsite at any one time. Mondelphous ensured the smooth running of essential services to ensure the project achieved its goal.
Initially, the Monadelphous contract was set up for 30-50 people. However, the population of the project grew to in excess of 5,500 people, and with it grew the demand on Monadelphous. While the numbers on the project increased, the amount of work required to provide the essential services to the population on the island did, too. Meanwhile, there were a number of unique logistical challenges due to the remote location and nature reserve classification.
As a result of this increased demand, Monadelphous rapidly increased their number of tradespeople on the island in 2011. This impacted their leadership team, which did not initially have the structure in place to support the additional staff. Monadelphous management lacked experience with the Incident and Injury-Free™ (IIF™) safety approach—an approach already well integrated across the project. Because of this, there was not a strong existing IIF safety culture among their crews, and a number of preventable incidents occurred. Still, it was difficult to take people away from the workplace for Incident and Injury-Free safety training with such a high demand for services.
While ideas were generated to address safety issues, the Monadelphous leadership team was strained and lacked the structure to implement these ideas or execute solutions that worked. Meanwhile, morale across the staff was low, and people were living and working in a reactive, rather than proactive, environment. Trade groups were not effectively communicating with each other, and often, people were stuck in old ways of doing things that perpetuated their safety performance.
Monadelphous IIF safety goals
- Establish a leadership structure which enables a high performing work force.
- Have leadership and management take on a collective commitment to IIF safety, with a shared understanding of what Incident and Injury-Free safety means for their business.
- Engage crews to look out for one another; shift from an “all about me” mentality to one where people look after their fellow workers.
- Create a truly Incident and Injury-Free safety culture, one where workers embrace the commitment to safety both on and off the job.
- Boost morale and confidence among the workforce.
- Ensure that leadership takes the time to listen to the concerns of the workforce.
- Effectively communicate the leadership team’s commitment to the well-being of their workforce.
- Break down levels of hierarchy so that effective communication happens among and across all leve
Monadelphous and the JMJ approach
Members of the Monadelphous safety leadership team and a cross-section of their management underwent a three-day Leadership Training workshop led by JMJ. Members of this team also participated in a workshop with other contractors to ensure that the message of their commitment to safety was shared among others on the project.
In addition, Monadelphous employed two permanent IIF coordinators on alternating rosters. These coordinators worked to ensure that a commitment to IIF safety was not simply another Health and Safety initiative, but a new way of working inside of a commitment to safety. This eventually led to better communication among the workforce. It became clear that, across the board, the basic human values of respect, safety and being heard were imperative to most everyone on the staff.
With the efforts to coordinate this IIF culture in place, a new emphasis arose to help new workers better understand IIF safety. Expectations were defined from the outset, and IIF orientations were conducted even before workers began their work on the island. This IIF effort was enhanced with the IIF in Action trainings, on the ground conversations led by Monadelphous staff ensuring that IIF behaviours were adopted by the crew at every level.
As a result of having the two IIF coordinators in place, Monadelphous staff now had a point of contact to field staff concerns and bring forward actions to address them. While safety had previously been managed by ‘police officer’ style authority, the IIF Coordinators helped create an environment in which people could come forward with their communication and be assured their issues would be addressed.
The Monadelphous staff saw a very high level of worker engagement in the IIF safety approach. In fact, Monadelphous reached triple figures for Days Without Injury.
This cultural shift could be credited to the shift in the Leadership Team. Management was consistent in communicating care and concern to their workers. There was an improved relationship between the Leadership Team and the Action Team charged with implementing ideas. Attitudes shifted, and morale improved.
Teams and contractors saw better communication, and tradesmen and grounds crew were seen having dinner with project managers, managers, etc. Overall, there was a much more confident workforce, moving from a reactive environment to one with active participation, leadership and care and concern. The IIF Coordinators helped create an environment in which people could come forward with their communication and be assured their issues would be addressed.
For over three decades, JMJ has been delivering impactful cultural change to help executives, leaders and front-line workers transform safety, sustainability, and business performance. We combine the deep experience of our people with our proprietary Transformation Cloud platform to deliver breakthrough results, making the impossible possible. www.jmj.com
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