SmartTech Australia, an Australian company, has brought on rugby league royalty to help bring its safety awareness campaign over the try line.
Former Australian rugby league star Shane Webcke has become the driving force behind SmartTech Australia’s safety awareness campaign.
The campaign, featuring a YouTube series called Best on Ground: Site Safety with Shane Webcke, highlights how quarries adapt to changing safety conditions with procedures, rules, and technology.
Webcke’s on-field exploits as a talented prop for the Brisbane Broncos’ dynasty years and the Queensland Maroons in the late ’90s and early 2000s are well-known, but his off-field experiences have fuelled his passion for workplace safety.
Webcke’s father died in 1994 from a workplace safety incident. After the incident, Webcke made his professional rugby debut and grew his passion to ensure workers get home to their families safely daily.
The four-time premiership player and Ron McAuliffe medallist told Quarry that safety had always been a critical focus for him on and off the field and now, in the quarry.
“When they asked me, it was an easy thing for a number of reasons. Obviously, I am into the workplace health and safety, which is completely aligned with SmartTech’s business, but I am also a farm boy, and I love machinery,” he said.
“We’re a good fit together because I am always banging on about how workplace safety is aided and abetted by procedures, rules and technology.”
SmartTech Australia General Manager Dan Barry said Webcke has already significantly impacted the company through his work with the Best on Ground series, which highlighted the Chevallum Quarry.
“We’ve been lucky enough to engage one of the greats of the rugby league fraternity but also one of the greats in workplace health and safety in Shane,” Barry said.
“At the end of the day, we’re trying to highlight that there is never going to be a substitute for a better safety culture and an operator who understands safety and the need to prioritise better decisions based on safety.
“What we focused on with the Chevallum guys is the loading of trucks because we’ve seen how the industry has changed around that in our view with our customers and how they operate.
“Since that, Chain of Responsibility has come into power and, what we’re talking about with customers now is how they can adapt and use the Loadrite as a safety tool as well as productivity tool.”
Load right and be safe
The Chevallum Quarry is one of the Sunshine Coast’s essential sand-producing sites. The site is owned and operated by Cordwell Resources, which has developed a reputation for high-quality products as a family-run business. The company has supplied the Sunshine Coast’s construction industry, civil contractors, local councils and landscape supplies with aggregates, sand, and quarry products for more than 50 years.
In recent years, the company invested in on-site safety through its partnership with SmartTech Australia and the Loadrite system.
Like many quarry operations across Australia, Cordwell Concrete has had to adapt to the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) legislation.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) introduced the legislation more than five years ago to ensure that anyone with control over the transport task, not just the driver or operator of the heavy vehicle, can be held responsible for breaches of road laws.
The changes to the CoR ensured the legislation aligned more closely with workplace health and safety provisions. All parties in the chain must reduce risks in transport tasks and ensure they have optimised safety.
This legislation has paved the way for technological aids like the Loadrite system to ease the load on quarry workers.
Loadrite scales can be applied to most quarry machinery, including excavators, loaders, conveyor belts and haul tracks.
The system uses a rotary position sensor to monitor multiple measurement points This method enables accurate reporting by averaging weight variations or discarding them if they are outside tolerance levels.
This means quarries can use the data knowing the Loadrite systems have accounted for potential errors, including inexperienced operators or rough terrain on site.
SmartTech’s staff are highly trained and can provide tailored solutions and calibration. They can help quarries optimise load capacities, minimise downtime, and ensure compliance with CoR regulations.
As an authorised Loadrite dealer, the company can help quarries achieve solutions which are solidified with exceptional end-to-end service.
Barry said SmartTech’s trained staff could collaborate with clients to deliver improved safety solutions.
“That operator might be very diligent on site for a certain element of that safety awareness, but there might be an element where they could be better,” he said.
“It gives us a chance to collaborate a bit more, and you can actually see the impact of that and say, ‘maybe this person doesn’t see they’re going close to a hazard every day,”
Webcke said the Loadrite system would complement a strong safety culture.
“Nothing replaces the diligence of the operator; you can engineer all you like, but you can’t engineer the danger out of a dangerous job,” he said.
“If you’re in the office, you can’t be out holding everybody’s hand, so anything that helps point out these dangers and helps nip them in the bud is a valuable tool.”•
For more information, visit smarttechaustralia.com.au