Body Leadership - Harsco Infrastructure

Operating in 32 countries, Harsco Infrastructure is the world's leading access, formwork and industrial maintenance service provider. Throughout Harsco Infrastructure the safety of their staff, customers and the public is their highest priority taking precedence over all other aspects of the business.

Completing Body Leadership's SSTM® Training earlier this year with their scaffolding division and then taking this through their administration staff, the organisation has seen a substantial decrease in the number and length of injuries which has contributed to a significant improvement in their workcover premiums.

Body Leadership Director, Paul Trevethan, recently caught up with Harsco Health & Safety Advisor/Injury Management Advisor, Marian Vierveyzer, to discuss how the training has helped workers in their day to day duties to prevent injuries and achieve zero harm.

Q1. What led your organisation to target manual handling specifically?

Within our Queensland scaffolding division we were experiencing a number of workplace incidents and injuries. In particular musculoskeletal or sprain and strain injuries were becoming a serious issue caused by repetitive manual handling tasks including bending, squatting, lifting, lifting above shoulder height and the restacking of pallets. These injuries impacted our front line employees who were injured as well as our supervisors who were understaffed at short notice resulting in high staff turnover as well as hidden costs such as replacement workers and time lost away from work.

Q2. How did your organisation choose to address this issue?

As a company we identified that it was important to drive the culture of injury prevention strategy at a personal level. Our goal was to keep 'safe work methods' at front of mind for our staff at all times. To do that we needed a way to engage our people.

We utilised Body Leadership Australia to complete a manual handling program with a personal injury prevention focus. We chose the program as it taught correct lifting strategy but also focused on empowering our people with an SSTM® EveryDay injury prevention strategy. Developed by physiotherapists, 'SSTM® Everyday' is basically like Slip, Slop, Slap for the body, it is a set of skills our people can use to ease tension and nip pain in the bud BEFORE it escalates to an injury. 

Q3. What strategies did you find worked best for your organisation?

In particular the training focused on teaching our employees the rules of muscles and how to use this knowledge to assist them through their work and home life. The groups were given a SSTM® strategy for all key pain and injury areas including necks, shoulders, arms, backs and knees.

By utilising this program we have engaged our staff by focusing on them as individuals. They appreciated learning body management skills that they can use for work and importantly for their life. Because the techniques are quick and easy to use, our employees now have a personal skill that will not only help them but also directs their attention to safety multiple times during the day. In this way SSTM® EveryDay becomes an injury prevention management tool that our leaders can use to drive safety culture throughout the organisation.

Q4. How has the solution been received by your organisation?

Our employees have embraced their new skills and have begun to incorporate SSTM® strategies into their daily routines. Our Rocklea plant has initiated their own warm up routine using SSTM® and we have begun to notice this spreading to other sites. Recently, our regional managing director visited the Stanwell site, at this time two staff from Rocklea were there and had personally initiated warm up routines with the Stanwell crew. Management were impressed with the degree of personal safety ownership and have now expanded the SSTM® program to office staff as well.

Q5. Have you noticed any improvements or positive impacts since the training?

As a result of our injury prevention training in conjunction with other control measures we have implemented we have seen a significant decrease in the severity and length of injuries. This has also meant that we have been able to significantly improve our workcover premiums. It just goes to show you educating and looking after your people doesn't cost you money, it saves you money.

Q6. What is your organisations goal for the future of its workplace health and safety?

Since completing training our employees have responded by taking the initiative to start their own warm up routines, incorporate the learnings from training into their work days and have also begun to implement and explore design and administrative control measures to decrease the risk of injuries onsite and in the yard. Our hope for the future is that our employees continue with this proactive approach to injury prevention to achieve an injury free workplace.

Q7. How would you define a Body Leader?

A person who appreciates and is aware of their own body and the causes and impacts of activities and who leads and encourages others to be of the same mind.

We'd like to thank Marian for her time and insights. If you would like to know more about how Body Leadership's SSTM® Training can benefit your organisation please do not hesitate to contact us on 07 3847 8040 or submit and online inquiry.