Veolia Takes Control of Safety

By Margaret Tra

Source: Safe To Work

Environmental services specialist Veolia has taken its safety training a step further, with a program that takes a behavioural approach to safety and empowers its staff.

The company implemented a program from People & Quality Solutions (PaQS), a training and coaching organisation that specialises in the unique areas of personal performance and development. Its programs aim to make constructive attitude and behavioural change towards safety.

Veolia employs about 450 people in WA. During its training sessions, PaQS' safety psychologists trained company representatives as safety coaches, who then return to their organisations to implement specialised safety training.

According to Veolia's WA training & development manager, Nathan Simms, the company focuses on each individual staff member being responsible for safety.

"Our company focuses heavily on safety and we have the correct systems in place, but we also want to build safety awareness from the top down and the bottom up. That's why we like the coaching process that PaQS uses. Participants play an active role and see how they contribute to the bigger picture. It shows them that everyone is responsible for safety," said Simms.

There are currently four Veolia people going through this coaching process whose main roles within the company are as compliance officers or safety advisors, so the coaching complements this.

Simms said after analysing our incident rates, there is definitely evidence that they have decreased. We've also seen a much higher awareness of safety.

"Our workforce is spread throughout the state and is a diverse bunch. In our Geraldton waste division where the participants are from a variety of backgrounds, the program was very well received." he added.

As a result of its success in Western Australia, other states are now engaging in the PAQS program.

According to PaQS managing director, Carl Reams, attitudes can change and that's exactly what his programs do.

"Most attitudes change over time. Even strongly held or deeply ingrained attitudes can change. You don't have all the same attitudes now as you did when you were a children or a teenager. Experience and exposure to people and ideas shape and reinforce beliefs and attitudes. New ideas and experiences, if presented in the right way, will serve to enhance, develop or modify existing attitudes," Reams said.

"People will willingly adopt new information, beliefs and attitudes very quickly when it's presented in the right way for the right reason. If they can see how it will benefit them individually, they're far more likely to cooperate," he added.