Safety innovators shine bright at 2024 Hunter Safety Awards

Safety innovators shine bright at 2024 Hunter Safety Awards

Swietelsky Rail Australia were the true champions of the 2024 Hunter Safety Awards, taking out Best WHS Health and Wellbeing (SME) as well as being awarded the prestigious Gold Safety Helmet in the WHS Business of the Year category.

The 2024 Awards revealed the winners across 12 categories, once again putting safety at the forefront in the Hunter region.

Businesses and individuals from across the Hunter were crowned champions for demonstrating positive approaches to Work, Health, and Safety (WHS) in their workplace.

This year’s Hunter Safety Awards took centre stage on Friday 15 March 2024, where over 300 passionate individuals came together to create an atmosphere that was dedicated to championing safety, innovation, and WHS. 

Founder of the Awards, Sarah-Jane Dunford expressed how amazing it was to bring together diverse minds and organisations who were all dedicated to shaping the future of work, health and safety in the Hunter region.

“At this year’s awards we recognised not only achievements, but a shared commitment to pushing the boundaries of safety and fostering innovation. The Hunter region is a hub of excellence in safety, and this event serves as a dynamic platform to honour those who lead the charge in redefining standards,” Sarah-Jane said.

“It wasn’t just an award ceremony, it was a testament to the unwavering dedication that is moving us toward a safer, more innovative future.”

Now in its eighth year, the Awards recognised businesses and individuals across 12 different categories of health and safety.

Managing Director of Swietelsky Rail Australia, Anne Modderno, couldn’t believe they managed to take home not only one, but two awards for their first time as finalists at the Hunter Safety Awards.

“We pride ourselves on creating a workplace that is diverse, as well as an environment where all staff feel safe and supported. So, for that to be recognised on a level like this is incredible,” Anne said.

“Being safety-focused is one thing but celebrating it with so many likeminded individuals and other amazing Hunter businesses has just been outstanding and we looking forward to doing it all over again next year.” 

WHS Champion of the Year for 2024 was Paul Olive, the Safety Manager at PLUS ES. His mantra is ‘safety is managing risk through relationships.’

This mantra resonated with judges, as well as the fact his own team nominated him for this honour saying that he is more than a manager, he’s a true leader.

“I am honoured to have not only even been nominated for this award, but to win as well is very overwhelming. Safety truly is a team effort, so this award is for the whole team at PLUS ES who are safety oriented each day they go to work,” Paul said. 

“If we look back to five years ago and I asked the people at the Awards if they thought their workplaces were safe, most would have said yes. However, if I asked them today to reflect on the past, most would probably say they were not as safe as we thought. We are on a continuous journey of safety and I’m excited for what’s to come.”

Another winner, Newcastle Airport are continuing their commitment to WHS with 2024 being the second year running they’ve been recognised. This year for Best WHS Health and Wellbeing Program (Large Organisation). They provide their staff with tailored support services from personalised counselling to stress management programs.
“Our dedication to a holistic health and wellbeing approach is an ongoing journey which is why we’re constantly introducing updated initiatives to support out staff. We’re so grateful to be 2024 Hunter Safety Award winners,” Georgina Chalker, Executive General Manager of People Safety and Environment at Newcastle Airport said.

Events like this wouldn’t be possible without the support of committed sponsors in the local area, including AGL who have now been the major sponsor for over 5 years.

“Each year we are proud to support this incredible event and the 2024 Awards were no different. The winners of each category really are champions of safety in the workplace. It’s fantastic they have been recognised by their peers, which highlights the importance of bringing likeminded individuals together to celebrate and continue the journey of improving safety, health and wellbeing in our region,” AGL General Manager Bayswater, Len McLachlan said.

The full list of 2024 Hunter Safety Awards winners are as follows:

  • WHS Business of the Year: Swietelsky Rail Australia
  • Best Health and Wellbeing Program (Large Organisation): Newcastle Airport
  • Best Health and Wellbeing Program (SME): Swietelsky Rail Australia
  • Best WHS Improvement (Large Organisation): Metso
  • Best WHS Improvement (SME): Fenech Demolition
  • Best WHS Management System (Large Organisation): Westpac Property Group
  • Best WHS Management System (SME): Machinemonitor
  • Most Innovative WHS Idea (Large Organisation): Singleton Council
  • Most Innovative WHS Idea (SME): SafeGauge
  • WHS Champion of the Year: Paul Olive (PLUS ES)
  • Young WHS Leader of the Year: Kurt Speers (Red Insight)
  • Best WHS Training Program: Coal Services Mines Rescue

IMAGE |  Swietelsky Rail Australia – The team after winning WHS Business of the Year Award with Managing Director, Anne Modderno holding the 24 carat gold trophy.

Hunter Safety Awards

The Hunter region is well-known for leading the way in industry, this in turn has led to the region becoming champions of WHS.

The Hunter Safety Award were born out of desire to recognise companies and individuals within the Hunter region who are demonstrating best-practice and innovative approaches when it comes to workplace health and safety (WHS).

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