Load & Haul

How ‘resetting’ worker mindsets clinched safety prize

The Institute of Quarrying Australia (IQA) Gold Hard Hat Award for Excellence in Site Safety Culture recognises an Australian quarrying operation that has an outstanding safety culture. The site’s improvement to occupational health and safety (OHS) in the industry can be a single suggestion, invention or implementation relating to equipment, processes, training, safety management, industry representation or continued excellent performance over a period of time.

In 2017 Boral’s Orange Grove site, about 19km east of the Perth CBD, in Western Australia clinched the prestigious Gold Hard Hat Award for 2017 for its RESET program involving “brain stretches” for staff, with mindfulness at its core.

“The RESET program was a worthy winner as it encompassed the whole quarry team, and was well on the way to becoming embedded into the daily life of all employees at the site,” the IQA citation stated.

“It brought a focus on personal well-being within the workplace and aligned well with the judging criteria, with proven outcomes, impact on the site, with a lot of input from the site team.”

Andrew Hales, one of four RESET master facilitators at Boral Orange Grove, said staff and management were rapt with winning the award, considering the “high standard of entries”.

Hales said the underpinning concept for the program is “mindfulness”, where each person’s awareness about self, their colleagues and environment is heightened, making them less prone to making mistakes.

{{quote-A:R-W:300-Q:"The inexpensive process involves focused breathing techniques, where employees are encouraged to consciously breathe in two cycles, to increase oxygen to the brain and improve focus."}}“The RESET program aims to train and assist employees to be more aware of their surroundings and improve focus,” Hales said. “We perform ‘brain stretches’ to train our brains so that our capacity to focus, hold our attention and notice changes improves, which means we can see and manage hazards better.”

Hales, an experienced quarry supervisor and manager, said mindfulness helps improve emotional regulation and reduce stress and other markers of mental ill health, enabling employees to experience additional benefits within the workplace and outside.

The inexpensive process involves focused breathing techniques, where employees are encouraged to consciously breathe in two cycles, to increase oxygen to the brain and improve focus.

“When completing Take 5s or producing a SWMS [Safe Work Method Statement], employees are actively encouraged to take four-second breaths to help them focus and be more aware of their environment and potential hazards,” said Hales, whose qualifications include Level 4 in the UK’s Safety Health and Environmental National Vocational Qualifications (SHE NVQ) and the NEBOSH National General Certificate.

Hales said “mindfulness” and the “process mindset” help to address safety issues and make workers more productive, as limiting Lost Time Injury (LTI) with fewer interruptions benefits production.

“We’ve now achieved three years LTI free, and although RESET hasn’t been implemented for all of that time, it has contributed to achieving the milestone,” he said.

He added the program is underway in three divisions at Boral in WA and the operating sites within each division.

Being a WA initiative, Hales said that RESET has attracted interest from Boral divisions in other states.

Hales has noticed an improvement in the behaviour of some employees, who talk to others about unsafe acts or conditions as they strive for safety.

“Feedback from employees has been positive, with engagement and participation in RESET activities,” he said. He added the program could be tailored to suit any sized operation or activity.

What is reset?

RESET is a behavioural-based process that explores and introduces the concept of mindfulness for the workforce to apply throughout their day, both at work and home.

It also looks into positive language that includes leadership and motivation, and routinely uses the “Good, Better and How” technique to improve safety and raise productivity.

At Boral’s Orange Grove, implementation of the RESET program over the past two years has resulted in a noticeable improvement in the following areas:

  • An increase in the number of hazards reported by the workforce.

  • A decrease in the total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR).

  • Consolidated lists of “Good” things being done in the workplace, along with what can be improved and how the actions will be completed.

The process has been well received throughout the organisation, with groups sharing experiences, thoughts and ideas to assist in the promotion of cohesiveness in the workplace and at home.

{{image2-a:r-w:300}}Boral strives to achieve zero harm every day, and the RESET process explores different techniques and methods for the workplace community to apply in their daily lives.

Boral’s staff were introduced to the concept at Boral’s Stop for Safety Day in January 2016, when Professor Cliff Mallet from the University of Queensland provided insight into the concept of mindfulness and process mindset.

The Boral leadership team was brought together for a full day’s workshop and provided with further information on leadership, motivation and moment focus to assist in the delivery of RESET to their workplace communities. The general managers of each business unit then commenced delivery of Stage 1 (personnel mindset), followed by Stage 2 (process mindset).

Personnel mindset consists of methods for individuals to be focused in the moment and provide the techniques to keep their mind on the task.

The workforce was also provided with information that can be used along with simple techniques to assist in personnel mindset. Small groups were scheduled throughout the business and led by the general manager, with the sessions covering:

  • The definition of mindfulness and a discussion of what it meant within the group.

  • Focused breathing techniques and other methods that could be applied.

  • Group discussion and the sharing of experiences with mindfulness.

  • What it meant to “be in the moment”.

An activity was introduced to the group that consisted of playing “one-eyed Jenga” in a distracting environment where individuals could apply what was learnt around mindfulness and being focused on the task.

Once the workplace had an opportunity to embed what they had learnt from Stage 1, employees were introduced to Stage 2 (process mindset), which involved the use of positive language to find a solution and apply the “Good, Better, How” concept that consists of:

  • Focusing on what was good when having discussions in any situation.

  • Exploring what could be improved.

  • How the group could achieve improvements.

  • Reinforcing key messages through stickers, banners, lunch boxes, drink bottles and wristbands.

Another Stop for Safety Day was held on 27 February, 2017, when the entire workforce stopped for a presentation by Ali Dale, a psychologist and former lecturer in psychology, on mindfulness and decluttering of the mind.

A decluttering of the workplace was then undertaken, with employees breaking into teams to clean all areas of the quarry.

RESET is intended to be discussed daily at the pre-start meeting by the quarry manager, and a cultural pulse survey conducted in 2017 identified positive reception of the program among staff on the day and afternoon shifts, behavioural changes within work groups where people had been observed interacting with a positive attitude, and an approach for solutions with less focus on negative outcomes.

According to Hales, it has proved to be “most beneficial for one and all at Boral”.

The 2018 Gold Hard Hat Award for Excellence in Site Safety Culture will be presented at CMIC 18 at the Sydney International Convention Centre from 19 to 21 September.


LTI milestone

Boral Quarries WA achieved three years Lost Time Injury free, as of 28 May, 2018.

Boral's WA general manager for quarries and logistics Phil Harris credited this significant achievement to the implementation of RESET and the strong safety awareness and culture of Boral WA's operations and project teams.

Harris congratulated the team on its achievement and commitment to safety. "It's a fantastic achievement to go from being a region that would record at least one LTI per year to where we are now and it's the hard work and shift in mindset of the front line team we have to thank for this.

"This is a remarkable achievement, especially in consideration of the amount of personnel involved and the high risk activities undertaken during the construction of the primary, tertiary and quaternary plants at Orange Grove Quarry.

"It is a credit to Boral WA's operations and project teams to achieve these milestones and we look forward to celebrating more of these in the future as we complete construction and transition into commissioning and operations."

The day was celebrated with a barbeque for both day and afternoon shift personnel, and all employees were presented with a backpack in appreciation.


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