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Safety for our staff

The department strives to create a work environment that is free from injury, illness and incident. The department is committed to improving its safety and wellbeing performance by driving improvements in safety leadership, communication and consultation, systems, risk management, and health and wellbeing.

Commitment to safety and wellbeing

The department’s workplace health and safety and rehabilitation policy statements outline the department’s commitment to maintain the highest standards in health and safety and return to work processes and are our guiding principles for the department’s health and safety management system. The statements provide a framework for how health and safety is managed across the department by:

  • improving hazard recognition so unsafe acts and conditions are reported
  • preventing hazards and injuries in the workplace
  • reducing ill health, injuries and absenteeism
  • boosting employee morale and productivity
  • returning injured employees back to work at the earliest practicable time
  • creating financial savings.

In December 2018, a full independent review of the policy statements was undertaken to ensure they contained achievable objectives that allow the department to meet its legislative obligations. The statements will be reviewed every two years. The policy statements are supported and delivered through the Safety and Wellbeing Improvement Plan 2017–19 (the Plan).

Delivering the Plan underpins the department’s commitment to the TMR Work Health and Safety (WHS) Policy and the Queensland Public Service values by:

  • developing and supporting meaningful ideas into action to improve the safety and wellbeing of all workers in the department
  • empowering all workers to make positive changes to their workplace, work habits and the overall safety culture of the department
  • providing specific and measurable opportunities so all workers can be courageous and play a role in improving local safety performance
  • unleashing the potential of the department by creating a positive, safe and healthy environment
  • ensuring that a safe and healthy environment contributes towards putting customers first.

Figure 14: Snapshot of our performance over the last five years

  2009–2010  2010–2011  2011–2012  2012–2013  2013–2014  2014–2015  2015–2016  2016–2017  2017–2018  2018–2019 
LTIs 140 117 87 82 73 75 92 88 87 90
LTIFR 8.9 8.1 5.9 6.7 6.5 6.6 8.0 7.6 7.2 7.9
Severity Rate 150 99 63 62 129 108.7 91 90.5 90.3 119.6
Days Lost 2200 1431 919 757 1442 1234 1044 1049 1088 1362

Data sources: Workplace Health and Safety injury data sourced from Transport and Main Roads’ SHE enterprise safety management system. HR data for hours worked sourced from Transport and Main Roads’ SAP enterprise resource management system
Notes: Data is subject to change in accordance with decisions made by WorkCover Queensland regarding the determination of compensable claims. This may result in variations to historical data which have previously been published.
Lost Time Injury (LTI) is an injury that results in at least one full shift being lost at some time after the shift during which the injury occurred.
Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) is the number of lost time injuries per million hours worked.
Days Lost is the number of full work shifts lost for a lost time injury.
Severity Rate is the number of days lost per million hours worked

Safety performance

Reporting on Workplace Health and Safety allows the department to see how safety is managed and where improvement is needed. Safety reports for the department and branches are developed monthly. Every six months, the Safety and Wellbeing Improvement Plan 2017–19 report for the department and branches is released.

The statistical overview in ‎Figure 14 indicates that a rise in the severity of injuries incurred by employees is likely, with lost working days expected to increase from 1,088 in 2017–18 to 1362 in 2018–19 (an increase of 25 per cent).

Graphical data is as follows, noting that data is subject to change in accordance with decisions made by WorkCover Queensland regarding the determination of compensable claims. This may result in variations to historical data which have previously been published.

Road worker and workplace safety

The department is committed to improve safety and wellbeing performance by driving system and process improvements on the road, at the depot or in the office. Staff are empowered to drive innovative solutions to every day safety risks with the possibility for statewide implementation

8Step safety investigation training

The department’s commercial business arm, RoadTek has continued to invest in advanced safety incident investigation training and procedures as part of a broader focus on preventing incidents that are associated with life changing outcomes (fatality or permanent impairment).

This year an additional 31 people received specialist training, bringing the organisational total to more than 120 people. People involved in leading or requesting a safety investigation continue to have access to dedicated coaching and support in investigation techniques and processes.

The leadership team initiated a process of qualitative review of incident investigations. Each month the team meets to review a sample of investigation reports to discuss the findings, identify opportunities to share learnings, and to provide feedback to the investigations team.

Crews standing facing machinery watching the recreation of a situation

More than just an investigation methodology, crews ‘recreate’ the activities of a real incident to understand the workings and what might have been the fail points.

Asbestos training

Asbestos containing materials can be found in a range of transport infrastructure assets, including bridges, services pipes, conduits, and electrical pits. The department has focused on building the capability of its workforce to increase awareness of asbestos-related risks and the knowledge required to work safely. To date the department has:

  • Trained more than 450 workers in CPCCDE3014A Remove non-friable asbestos and 650 in a full-day workshop on managing asbestos-related risks in transport infrastructure assets.
  • Implemented the RoadTek Asbestos Management Plan, including targeted information and procedures for work on structures, electrical and ITS, and civil and related works.
  • Initiated statewide programs of inspection, sampling and testing to identify the presence of asbestos in bridges, electrical pits at intersections, and electrical pits for street lighting.
  • Taken advantage of locally developed digital technologies to collect spatial data and photos of suspect materials, for inspection and communication to workers.
Image of person with full head protection wear removing gloves

Asbestos training in action - crews undertake a simulation of managing potentially hazardous materials.

At TMR, the safety, health and wellbeing of our employees is paramount. As Safety, Health and Wellbeing Champion, my goal is to provide a culture and environment where everyone feels safe at work and where everyone returns home from work safely. This year I was particularly proud to release TMR’s Mental Health Strategy 2019–21. In implementing the Strategy, we aim to reduce the stigma associated with mental ill-health and ensure our employees are able to recognise, respond and refer colleagues who are suffering.
Amanda Yeates, Employee Safety, health and Wellbeing Champion

Truck step initiative

The need for a safe work platform solution was identified due to an incident in our workshop with a fitter who was changing filters on a 15 tonne truck with the cab situated over up in the air. The usual practice was to climb over the tyre to gain access to the engine bay.

The Workshop Supervisor and Resource Manager in RoadTek’s Central Queensland Operations investigated the incident to come up with a possible solution to prevent the potential for future incidents when fitters are working in and around tires. The Workshop Supervisor approached the company that built the platform for one tyre size and asked if they could modify the platform to adjust to any tyre size in our fleet.

During the development phase, the company itself could see the benefits of going to a solution that fits more than one tyre size and could see a need for this in the private industry.

The Engine Bay Access Platform is now in operation at RoadTek’s Central Queensland Workshop in Rockhampton, with positive feedback from the fitters and no further incidents being reported.

Image of truck step attached to truck wheel

The truck step in place, improving access and providing a stable working platform for our Fitters when working on the underbelly of the truck fleet.

Herbicide spraying safety enhancement

The department’s RoadTek Wide Bay Workshop team showed innovation and concern for the safety of colleagues when replacing the weed spraying truck. The old unit required the staff to climb into the tray of the truck to pour the chemicals into the tank. This would often involve lifting large quantities of the chemicals onto the tray then up to the top of the tank.

The workshop installed a number of operating and access improvements including:

  • A remote chemical mixing and transfer hopper. The hopper had a pivot frame to lower the hopper over the side of the truck, so the chemicals could be poured in without the need to climb onto the back the truck.
  • The main sprayers were relocated to the bulbar of the truck, so the operator could see the sprays without having to turn around or watch a mirror.
  • A remote filling point was installed to allow staff to fill the water tank from the ground.

A cordless remote system was also installed to eliminate the amount of clutter in cabin of the truck. This allows the truck to be utilised as a weed control unit as well as a general- purpose truck.

Truck with barrels on the back filled with herbicide

The purpose-built herbicide truck, reducing the risk of moving and mixing chemicals and making it easier for crews to work safely.