A regional council’s health and safety management system needs to be flexible, intuitive and able to encompass all of its different working environments – whether that be office-based, in remote farming country or out in the bush.
Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) chose Assura Health and Safety in early 2016 because its previous system was no longer supported and Assura offered the ability to customise the software to meet GWRC’s unique and important requirements.
Regional councils are responsible for their territory’s natural resources and environment.
This includes flood protection, pest management, public transport services, harbour navigation and safety, marine pollution, the provision of regional parks, and water supply.
The Greater Wellington region covers a land area of more than 800,000 hectares and a maritime area of 786,700 hectares.
It encompasses the Wairarapa, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt, Wellington, Porirua and the Kapiti Coast– with a population of nearly 500,000.
Assura’s focus on risk, rather than hazard-based management was also a key feature, particularly with the introduction of the new Health and Safety at Work Act.
This recent change in legislation was one of the key drivers behind GWRC’s move to upgrade its existing health and safety system.
“Above all, our main priority was to support our teams in keeping safe at work,” says GWRC Health and Safety Manager Matthew Lear.
“Assura has provided us with the tools to implement an automated, real-time solution that ensures our people can easily take responsibility for their own health and safety.”
Assura’s field-based system, which is currently being implemented at GWRC, will provide staff with the ability to contribute in real time from their mobile phones.
This leads to increased reporting and greater on-site awareness.
The software is being configured to meet GWRC’s needs and integrated with existing processes – such as its Global Information System (GIS), which allows visualisation of the worksite and actual locations of key health and safety resources and risks.
An extensive and transparent procurement process was involved in selecting Assura.
This includes reviewing vendors from across the globe, following the rules around sourcing and procuring in the All-of-Government guidelines.
Matthew says so far, Assura is proving its worth.
“The challenge with implementing a health and safety system for a local authority like GWRC is that it has to span all of our diverse work environments,” he explains.
“For example, we have staff working in the parks, out on boats in the harbour, managing pest animals and plants, and on rivers, as well as the large number of contractors and stakeholders who help us deliver our services to the region.
“If you were dealing with only one of those environments and the associated risks, it would be less complex – but in our case we needed a system that could cater to a wide range of unique scenarios.”
GWRC is successfully using Assura Health and Safety to record and investigate events and near misses. In the future, the organisation will also use the software for job health and safety management, which automates task analysis and documents appropriate controls.
“Assura’s workflow model has increased visibility”, says Matthew.
“It allows us to show due diligence to councillors and senior management, providing a centralised overview of the organisation’s health and safety performance.
“The workflow-based system ensures the right people are completing the appropriate actions, at the right time.
“Feedback from staff using the software has also been really positive, with reports coming back to us of how intuitive and accessible it is.”