The power of collective collaboration for safety and wellbeing

Having a unified vision to inform safety and wellbeing outcomes helps provide consistency for SUEZ teams across the globe. However, there should always be room to address the individual needs of the employees who run water treatment plants.

Having a unified vision to inform safety and wellbeing outcomes helps provide consistency for SUEZ teams across the globe. However, there should always be room to address the individual needs of the employees who run water treatment plants.

SUEZ is responsible for assets across Australia and the world. It navigates different regulations, technologies, communities and workplaces to create operational consistency. Yet, ensuring safety and wellbeing under multiple partnerships entails recognising individual needs and setting up communication avenues. The goal is to unify all staff within the wider SUEZ culture of collaboration, commitment and capability.

In Adelaide, South Australia, SUEZ operates and maintains water and wastewater treatment plants under the P&T Alliance with SA Water. As part of the partnership, SUEZ is required to minimise risks during day-to-day operations, maintenance and capital works. That helps to keep its people safe and essential services running.

Given the joint efforts of SUEZ and SA Water employees, it is crucial for seamless alignment on safety and wellbeing practices to uphold a unified and secure working environment.

Integrated approach to safety and wellbeing

Chris Cashman is the Safety & Wellbeing  Manager for the P&T Alliance. He highlighted that SUEZ uses an integrated approach that revolves around five core elements:

  • Commitment: Ensuring all leaders demonstrate their commitment to their team members’ safety and wellbeing by carrying out a range of activities that meet expectations.
  • Capability: Ensuring our leaders and their team members are equipped with the safety and wellbeing capabilities necessary to perform their work safely. This is a core principle of our Home Safe Every Day site-based initiative.
  • Credibility: Ensuring that all leaders are ‘walking the talk’ and providing transparency across incident management, corrective and preventative actions, audit results, critical safety training, site inspections, equipment compliance checks and more.
  • Engagement: Setting the conditions that allow formal and informal engagement mechanisms to function effectively across all aspects of safety and wellbeing, offering opportunities to influence cultural outcomes that help ensure that employees make the right choices even when no one is watching.
  • Trust: Helping embed high levels of trust within our safety and wellbeing culture, we ensure that our team members feel empowered to make real-time decisions that promote safety and wellbeing.

Understanding the vision

At the beginning of any partnership, it is important to set objectives, targets and responsibilities to ensure all parties understand their responsibilities. Within the framework of the P&T Alliance, collaborative efforts between SA Water and SUEZ employees are directed towards delivering essential water and wastewater services to the Adelaide community.

Effective communication is vital when employees from different organisations are working across multiple and/or different sites, ensuring adherence to safety and wellbeing standards.

“High levels of engagement, consultation, and dialogue with teams and individual team members and P&T Alliance leaders ensure that everyone understands the vision, the strategy, the methods and how their contribution helps to achieve the outcomes,” Mr Cashman said.

“Rejigging the way information flows throughout the business, and providing some structure where it matters most, gives everyone the confidence they need to participate meaningfully.”

From plant to plant

Nevertheless, diverse sites bring different requirements. That’s why minimising variation is crucial to create uniformity, but it is equally important to acknowledge the unique needs of individual plants.

“Variation in work methods is where risk can grow, often without the awareness of those responsible for ensuring risks are effectively controlled,” Mr Cashman said.

“However, the operational demands of individual plants need to be considered so that outcomes are optimised without detracting from what we are collectively striving to achieve.

“For example, our Home Safe Every Day site-based initiative is an example where minor variations in how the program is delivered across multiple sites can be achieved without generating risk or compromising the outcomes.

“This initiative is designed to elevate trust, commitment, capability, credibility and engagement levels while ensuring that operations and maintenance tasking is not adversely impacted. One site may implement the program on a slightly different scheduling arrangement than another site, but the program is still delivered in full, and the outcomes achieved.”

Building strategies

Engaging staff can contribute to shaping strategies and ensuring their successful implementation and achievement.

“It’s important to start with a vision, develop a tag-line (Home Safe Every Day) that allows people to understand what you’re trying to achieve, then put a strategy in place that covers all aspects of safety and wellbeing culture, and finally monitor and measure so that you know you’re still on track,” Mr Cashman said.

“I use a Hoshin Matrix to build the strategy based on the outcomes of input from the workforce and anything that I can readily see as being needed based on my own knowledge, skills and experience as a safety and wellbeing leader.”

With a collective vision of safety and wellbeing, every site can be set up with the right frameworks and programs to succeed. For SUEZ, optimisation starts with a solid foundation. From there, fostering collaboration with teams and staff further enhances the vision.

To learn more about how SUEZ promotes safety and wellbeing in the water sector, visit www.suez.com.au

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