Safety award netted by ANZCO Foods

ANZCO's award-winning Rangitikei team (left to right): site manager Darryl Mackenzie, production manager Cory Hogg, consultant Rob McLaren, health and safety advisor John Thomson and engineering manager Hein Strydom.

An innovative approach to incorporating health and safety into a major project netted ANZCO Foods a work-related safety award in May.

The project, which involved the development of a model of the boning room at ANZCO Rangitikei and the involvement of staff in its design, won the Kensington Swan best initiative to address a work-related safety risk in the 2017 New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards, organised by Safeguard magazine.

The work stemmed from an upgrade for the boning room and the opportunity was taken to improve health and safety at the same time, explains ANZCO site manager Darryl Mackenzie.

He says his team were thrilled to be recognised for their approach.

“We made a commitment to use the skill, knowledge and expertise of the experienced boning room team before we started the design phase of the upgrade. They understood the requirements of the process better than anyone else; they wanted to ensure the safest of working environments and they would be happier with the end-result if they were involved in the process up front.”

A full-scale model (80m x 50m) of the boning room was built out of cardboard and polystyrene, allowing employees to engage in a practical way with every health and safety aspect within the room before design was finalised.

The team contributed their expertise on aspects such as ergonomics, emergency stops, fire emergency exits and traffic flows, which changed the initial design, Mackenzie reports. There was also an effective and comprehensive communication process making sure all parties were fully informed and aware of health and safety aspects throughout.

A range of risks were identified and reduced during the project. These include the introduction of an automated lifting system in the conveyor belts so workers no longer have to manually lift the conveyors during the daily cleaning. An automated smart interface was also added, using an iPad to stage and sequence cleaning to operators can have direct line of sight, whereas previously this was completed from a control room.

ANZCO is two years into a three-year programme to improve the health and safety culture, systems and processes, says ANZCO chief executive Peter Conley.

“Called Worksafe/Homesafe this programme is about everyone going home safely to their family and friends every day. Health and safety is a journey for ANZCO and we’re committed to continuous improvement in this area.”

This article appeared in Food NZ magazine (August/September 2017) and is reproduced here with permission.

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