In September 2010 I received an out of the blue call from SafeWorkSA about a nomination in the 2010 South Australian SafeWork Awards. The call was to set up an interview to discuss the work I had been doing at Harris Scarfe and the impact on safety I had in my short two years in the OHS field. I was open for a chat and a few weeks later the day arrived.
I hadn’t expected to be greeted by three very qualified, experienced and senior business/safety officials, and their camera man. Little did I realize at the time this was not just a chat, but I had actually made it to the short list for a SafeWork award.
We went through my journey into the safety role at Harris Scarfe, my beliefs around workplace safety, and the initiatives I had implemented during the last 12 months. On reflection I had achieved a whole lot more than I realized.
I had intended on attending the SafeWork awards night already (to be my first) but after my panel discussion I realized I really should attend! So along I went with the support of my General Manager, Mr Daniel Nikoleaff and my colleague Isobella Caulfield. For my General Manager to want to attend the awards and support me was very rewarding in itself, the acknowledgement from the business and a leader who I look up to was enough for me. I can’t say I believed I had any chance of winning an award, I really just believed I was simply doing my job, particularly in comparison to the fantastic people and businesses nominated year after year.
But along we went. After a short cocktail reception and the chance to mingle with other like minded safety people in SA we moved onto the gala dinner. After some light entertainment and a few speeches it was time for the awards. By this point everyone around my table had high hopes and was very excited for me, I was still happy with just being considered for an award and whilst winning something is always great I hadn’t really counted on it.
My category was up, the nominations were tough, some great people who had achieved some fantastic things. Each of the nominees received a short video spot with an overview of their achievements put up on the big screen. The winner was announced, no it wasn’t me. However moments after the announcement the usual proceeding was interrupted and a second award in the category was announced, a ‘high commendation’ awarded to myself.
The winner of the category was David Lynch of Hansen and Yunken, who had been the site safety supervisor for the recent Adelaide entertainment centre project, where no lost times were recorded during some very high risk tasks. I was humbled to be considered in the same league as the other nominated safety managers, whilst I had taken a new approach to OHS at Harris Scarfe it would be sometime before I could present any solid data on the effectiveness of my work, like the other nominees had shown, being recognized for the journey was truly rewarding.