Health and safety

The health and safety of our employees is integral part of our sustainable business practices, as we are working to develop and deliver solutions to improve the safety, efficiency, reliability and environmental performance of Australia’s passenger and freight railway transportation networks.

In 2013, a safety record was set, considering that out of the 1,159,016 hours worked by Ansaldo STS employees, no days of work were missed due to injury. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the company’s rigorous approach to risk management, the strength of the environment, health and safety management systems of and an internal culture that values safety.

To enable the Board of Directors to fulfill their obligations health safety and environmental legislation, each quarter, the board of directors is provided with a report on Ansaldo STS Australia’s health, safety and environmental (HSE) performance.

This report details all significant HSE incidents/hazards and risks/aspects and impacts which have occurred during the three-month reporting period, along with HSE performance against lead and lag indicators, risource status and legal updates.

Workplace safety

Ansaldo STS Australia’s philosophy is “Safety First”. We believe that health and safety is a shared responsibility and that all employees play a role in creating and maintaining a safe work environment.

In 2013, no work hours were lost due to injuries, out of the 1,159,016 hours worked by Ansaldo STS employees. The average recordable injury frequency rate for 2013 was 15.53, compared to 11.66 in 2012.

Health and safety management
In Australia, occupational health and safety (OHS)26 and environmental management are regulated by the laws of each state and territory, and all states, excluding Victoria and Western Australia, operate under the national Work Health and Safety Act of 2011.

Accordingly, Ansaldo STS Australia is subject to particularly strict obligations to ensure that the company and those involved in its operations are not exposed to risk and that no harm is caused to the environment as a result of its activities.

The company’s environmental, health, safety and environmental management system (HSEMS)27 is crucial for the correct management of environmental obligations and OHS and integrates the requirements of:

  • ISO 9001- quality management systems;
  • ISO 14001- environmental management systems;
  • OHSAS 18001- OHS management systems;
  • AS/NZS 4801- OHS management systems (for Australia only).

To evaluate the HSEMS effectiveness and ensure that it is implemented at all sites, an annual HSE audit schedule is established. In 2013, it was 87.5% completed, with 21 audits completed out of 24 planned.

Furthermore, in the year, a series of external audits was carried out. In January 2013, an audit conducted by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland did not note any non-conformities. Following audits by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance, the company successfully received the renewal and three-year registration with OHSAS 18001 - OHS management systems – and AS/NZS 4801 - OHS management systems.

In November and December 2013, Ansaldo STS Australia’s HSEMS was audited by our customer Rio Tinto. The implementation of the HSEMS was audited at our project site, without any non-conformities being noted.

Building a sound safety culture
While safety and environmental performance is a shared responsibility, the company places high expectations in its managers to model safe behaviour, which is fundamental for creating an effective HSEMS culture.

Ansaldo STS Australia:

  • requires everyone to “walk the talk”;
  • believes that safety is an integral part of day-to-day activities;
  • requires no one to ignore a safety issue which they have identified.

During the year, the HSE bulletin continued to be produced and distributed. It is a key tool in sharing HSE principles and announcing new initiatives.

The HSE Share and First Move Forward initiatives were introduced in the year to make personnel aware of the ongoing importance of always focusing on safety first.

HSE Share is a simple but important initiative whereby managers and employees are asked, at the start of every meeting, to share an observation, suggestion, anecdote or idea about how to improve performance in terms of health, safety or the environment.

The First Movement Forward initiative aims to eliminate incidents which occur as a result of reversing vehicles, encouraging personnel to reverse park their vehicles and, accordingly, ensuring that the first movement of their vehicle when they leave the workplace is going forward. First Movement Forward has been widely adopted and is currently a regular practice at the offices and work sites of Ansaldo STS Australia.

To build on the health and safety awarness and knowledge of our employees, all were required to complete our new Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Induction program during the year28.

The five-module program covers:

  1. Global HSE system and local HSEM system;
  2. Risk management (Hazard/Aspect Identification, Risk/Impact Assessment and the implementation of controls);
  3. Emergency Response;
  4. HSE Forms;
  5. Site Induction (specific Hazards and Controls which apply to the relevant site/project).

By December 2013, the HSE induction programme has been succesfully integrated into the new employee induction program and more than 70% of employees have successfully completed the programme.

Health and wellbeing
Ansaldo STS Australia is committed to the health, wellbeing and safety of its personnel, as it is aware that the ability to create a healthy and safe workplace that motivates healthy, happy people is fundamental for employee productivity.

Legislative health standards apply to the following HSEMS areas:

  • Railway workers health requirements
  • Health surveillance/monitoring
  • Hygiene
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Fatigue
  • Workplace stress factors

In October, a mental health week promotional campaign was launched. Using posters, pamphlets, toolbox talks and briefings, the aim was to raise employee awareness of the importance of caring for one’s mental health and letting them know where to seek help should the need arise.

To support employees in this and many other issues, consultancy and support are available through our employee assistance program (EAP).

Risk management
Ansaldo STS Australia aims to eliminate and minimise risk, as far as reasonably practicable to prevent injuries and illnesses for employees and those who may be impacted by our activities and operations.

Our Customers and contractors are committed to promoting the health and safety of personnel and workplaces, and closely cooperate to ensure that risks are identified and mitigate before work begins.

During the year, the company focused on training employees to identify, assess and control the risks related to permanent sites and projects and to ensure that everyone understands that they play an active role in maintaining a safe workplace.

To ensure the health and safety of our people, every site and project is evaluated prior to the commencement of work, so that foreseeable hazards can be identified and appropriate operational controls that will lower their residual risk to an acceptable level can be implemented.

The company reviews the contractual documentation and its contractors’ management plan to ensure that it complys with Ansaldo STS Australia’s HSE procedures and policies and that these, in turn, meet the requirements of the client, principal or contractors who manage the site.

Ansaldo STS Australia’s Project Management Team organises a risk management workshop to analyse and evaluate any risks that may impact to the project site and its activities, in order to ensure that adequate control measures are established and implemented before the work begins. Adverse weather conditions, such as high temperatures, cyclones and flooding, along with the dangers of long distance road travel, affect many sites throughout Australia. Ansaldo STS has strict controls in place to manage these hazards and risks.

After work begins, risks are monitored and assessed for the entire duration of the project to ensure that the control measures remain effective. The results of inspections and audits undertaken by internal or external bodies are reviewed and used to further improve HSE performance.

If, at any stage of the work, the safety of Ansaldo STS personnel is believed to be at risk, work is suspended and the issue is taken to the appropriate team of managers to ensure that the appropriate controls are implemented before work resumes.

The HSE Check-Safe Activity Planner is one of the HSE tools that make up Ansaldo STS’ HSEMS. Check-Safe is a plan of activities based on scheduled checklists or specific HSE activities for a given workplace or defined work group. It is a mandatory requirement for all sites and a very effective way of evaluating the safe conditions and recording evidence of HSE actions and activities that have been carried out. It deeply strengthens the conviction that each Ansaldo STS workplace must be checked regularly and that inspections must be recorded in order to maintain the safety of all the places in which we work.

Investigations performed following a series of musculoskeletal injuries affecting employees in permanent workplaces demonstrate that one of the contributing factors was the presence of office chairs that were not up to safety standards. Accordingly, steps were taken to replace them with new office chairs that meet safety standards. This replacement process began at the Brisbane site and will be completed in 2014 when all necessary office chairs at the Perth offices are replaced.

Risk safeguarding
During the year, the Safe Guard Pocket Risk Manager was introduced. It is a useful, pocket size handbook for immediate risk assessments, in accordance with Ansaldo STS risk management procedures.

Employees can use the handbook:

  • as a reference tool in the event of doubts as to the presence of risks related to a work activity;
  • to rapidly and simply assess risks in connection with external hazards (that may vary) at the various sites, when similar work is performed that is already covered by a generic risk management process;
  • to plan tasks in places where job safety and environmental analyses (JSEAs)29 are used, as every situation is different and Safe Guard focuses on task planning;
  • to ensure the identification of new and different hazards, and appropriate control measures are taken before work begins;
  • to obtain information on HSE to update, when necessary, JSEA and other risk management processes.

26. Occupational Health and Safety.
27. Health, Safety and Environmental Management System.
28. Health, Safety and Environment
29. Job Safety and Environmental Analyses.