As one of Australia’s largest mining companies, BHP Billiton takes workplace safety extremely seriously.
The Iron Ore division operates in conditions where hazards are unavoidable and ever-present, and are the subject of constant risk analysis and monitoring to ensure their constant and compliant management.
The correct operational procedures are always identified and there is an ongoing requirement for effective communication to both staff and subcontractors to ensure that they adhere to these procedures.
We were approached by the HSE Risk Manager to create a proactive and powerful health and safety intervention, that would raise and maintain awareness of areas within the operation where incidents proved statistically more likely to occur.
Our intervention had 5 themes:
- Workers’ recognition of their own responsibility for their safety
- Raising awareness of the ‘Buddy’ system
- Hazard identification
- A reminder of the all-too-real consequences of the failure to maintain safety procedures
- A focus on personal injuries such as slips, trips and falls
The intervention was delivered across all the Iron Ore sites simultaneously over 5 weeks.
Firstly the target audience was profiled and a series of observations made:
- The gender was predominantly male
- The fly-in-fly-out work environment created a ‘second-culture’ lifestyle where workers’ behavior patterns differed from the more risk-averse home environment
- Most of the ongoing home-life prompts, such as parents, partners and children, were not present in the work environment to drive safety awareness
- The predominant age group and personal interests of the work force pointed to risk-verse tendencies
- The work environment was already full of HSE messages creating a background ‘wallpaper’ de-sensitizing workers to new messages
To achieve ‘cut-through’ in such a busy visual environment a series of incongruous images was chosen to grab the workers’ attention. These were deliberately designed to appeal to their demographic including images associated with leisure pursuits such as video games (Grand Theft Auto – the gangster with the gun), Holidays (the holiday image) and ‘hoons’ (the 20” black chrome alloy wheels).
The messages associated with these reminded the viewer of the hard realities of accidents: alloy wheels look stupid on wheelchairs, forthcoming holidays may be spent in hospital and that not every hazard that can kill is as obvious as a gangster-dude with a gun.
These core messages were reiterated in a variety of media such as counter displays, banners and posters. Each media carried additional information.
During the conclusion of the campaign, all staff across all operational sites were given a voluntary questionnaire as a feedback mechanism on the campaign. At the conclusion of this particular campaign the return rate was the highest recorded, surpassing expected levels.
Incidents fell following the intervention and the campaign was judged a success.