Safety innovation honoured for providing unique solution to centuries old maritime practice

Safety innovation honoured for providing unique solution to centuries old maritime practice

Port Waratah Coal Services has been awarded the SafeWork NSW Excellence Award for its innovative Marine Survey Trolley, which is delivering operational benefits while eliminating workplace risks.

The prestigious accolade was announced at the annual SafeWork NSW Awards ceremony, the state’s premier safety awards. The Excellence Award is selected from the pool of category winners, in which Port Waratah was named Winner, Safe by Design – Best Solution to High Risk Work Health and Safety Issue.

This follows the Highly Commended award Port Waratah received at the National Safety Awards of Excellence for Best Solution of a WHS Risk (Medium to Large Business).

Chief Executive Office of Port Waratah, Hennie Du Plooy, said that continuously striving for new safety performance techniques is an integral part of operations.

“Continuously improving the way we work is integral to our safety performance, with the aim of working free from injury, illness and harm,” Hennie said.

“Whilst we as a business are responsible for providing a safe site for employees, contractors and visitors, we are also committed to empowering our employees to make safer choices and encourage a shared responsibility for health and safety.”

The Marine Survey Trolley was developed in response to a potentially fatal risk for the marine surveyors when undertaking draught surveys on the vessels berthed at Port Waratah.

Standard industry practice is for the marine survey or to descend a rope ladder from the vessel and read the draught marks as close to the water line as possible.

This is a practice that has been in place for over 200 years but presents potential safety risks ranging from falling at heights to fatality due to the proximity to water, infrastructure and vessels.

A Port Waratah trades person identified the risk and in response developed a prototype. From there, stakeholders were engaged, and feedback was collected for employees to workshop ideas to arrive at the final design.

The device, now in use by marine surveyors across the Port of Newcastle, was developed through an extensive consultation process with key stakeholders.

“The process to develop the Marine Survey Trolley speaks volumes of the ownership our people have over health and safety, and we extend the gratitude and praise to the employees at the centre of this safety improvement,” Hennie said.

The completely unique device has been implemented at Port Waratah’s sites since December 2018, with notable operational and safety benefits being realised during that time. Not only does it eliminate risk, but it is cost-effective, efficient and provides a more accurate draught reading.

The Port Waratah team have expressed that they are very proud to be working collaboratively with other port users locally and across Australia to implement the device to provide a safer environment for marine surveyors across the industry.

IMAGE | Port Waratah Coal Services team

Port Waratah Coal Services

Port Waratah Coal Services has been receiving, stockpiling, blending and loading coal for export at the Port of Newcastle for over 40 years. They own and manage the Kooragang and Carrington Coal Terminals, which operate 24/7, and have a combined capacity of 145 million tonnes per annum.

Port Waratah has always been two things – a pioneer and a partner. They are committed to understanding and fulfilling their responsibilities as an employer and community member, as well as meeting their legal obligations. Port Waratah is an unlisted public company working in partnership with more than 25 producers and other service providers in the Hunter Valley Coal Chain. They aim to continuously improve their environmental performance, contribute to the local economy by buying and employing locally and support sustainability and resilience of the local community though their Community Investment and Partnership Programme.

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