By BTLawyers

Australia’s most popular weekend destination might be best known by the general public as the best place to get a sausage sizzle and where “lowest prices are just the beginning”, but behind the closed roller doors of Bunnings warehouses, it’s their safety strategy that’s truly at the heart of their business.

I have witnessed this directly in my eight years working with Bunnings as their preferred workers’ compensation lawyer in Queensland, and recently interviewed Peter Addison, Bunnings Regional HR Manager for Queensland, on exactly what it is that they do when it comes to promoting safety in the workplace.

“Firstly, you have to genuinely care about the health, safety and wellbeing of your staff,” he says. “And then you have to have a clear strategy and program in place to promote safety in the workplace and make sure it is always at the forefront of everyone’s mind.”

What is Bunnings National Safety Strategy?

Peter says that their National Safety Strategy is based on Bunnings’ commitment to promoting safety and preventing injury in the workplace.

“There are two key, overriding objectives of our safety strategy – that nobody gets hurt, and that everyone gets home safe. In order to ensure a continual focus on this, we run a national safety campaign that focuses on different safety issues each month.”

This month, for example, Bunnings has a focus on driver safety awareness, which is focused on staff members who are required to drive during the course of their working day. Some of the topics that are covered in this campaign include:

  • Driver fatigue: the signs and what to do about it.
  • Mobile phone usage and the need to find alternative solutions when driving e.g. stopping, or recording a message letting people know you’re driving and when you’ll be available.
  • The dangers of speed and the need to take your time.

How are the monthly safety campaigns implemented?

Each month the campaign is rolled out to each store nationwide, who all have the opportunity to personalise the safety message by coming up with their own ideas on how to promote the campaign.

“We had a campaign previously which focused on conducting safety checks on cutting equipment such as Stanley knives. One store required team members to hand in their Stanley knives for an “RBT” or Random Blade Test to check that their blades were sharp enough,” says Peter.

The monthly campaigns are also put up on walls in the recreational rooms in each store to serve as a constant reminder to all team members and help keep safety top-of-mind.

What other initiatives have come out of the National Safety Strategy?

In addition to the monthly safety campaign, Peter says that due to the nature of the jobs for many of their staff, there is an ongoing focus at Bunnings on safety issues such as manual handling in the workplace.

“Manual handling is something that a significant portion of our staff do on a daily basis. To help educate our staff on the risks associated with incorrect lifting techniques, we commissioned a video based on a “sliding doors” scenario about using safe or unsafe lifting methods, and the different outcomes to the team member of the different practices.”

It’s initiatives like these that help to drive the safety culture that Bunnings has now built an industry reputation for.

This interview was first published on LinkedIn. You can join the conversation on this topic on LinkedIn here.