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Engaging employees

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Occupational health and safety

OHS management

Since the establishment of an OHS executive steering committee, we have identified a range of recommendations to address concerns raised in previous reports. In the year under review progress was made on developing an OHS strategy to maximise the safety, health and wellbeing of our employees.

This will take a phased approach, focusing on managing pressing safety risks at first. Our broader approach is to go beyond compliance and build a safety culture in our business. One opportunity to increase levels of employee engagement in OHS is to seek their direct feedback on our safety programs, which will provide more depth to the OHS findings that come through our employee engagement survey.

In 09/10 we took steps to increase resources and improve systems dedicated to OHS as well as addressing specific risks. We also resumed direct management of injuries and incidents. Although we had some success with our outsourced model, we required better management of smaller incidents and reporting overall.

With regard to systems, we took two important steps towards managing and reporting all incidents, injuries and near misses from our employee base. We also implemented a national system to record all incidents, injuries and near misses and we developed systems and processes for managing workers compensation records and cost management. In 10/11 we will develop an online injury/incident form and introduce national injuries reporting to key site meetings for all our locations.

With regard to resources, we appointed a rehabilitation officer to provide national claims and rehabilitation management. We also retained the services of an external company doctor to provide expert advice in injury management. Although it is too early to report fully, initial indications suggest we are already seeing benefits in more effective management of
our employees' injuries and return to work.

In the area of risk assessment and mitigation, we ensure
that any identified risk, including any significant incident,
is investigated through our OHS committees and representatives. The role of the OHS committee is to act as the principal forum in which management and employees consult on health and safety issues.

They assist in reinforcement and promotion of good safety performance by conducting workplace inspections and advising on ways of eliminating hazards and risks in the workplace.

These committees report and monitor safety performance and make recommendations on matters such as training and education in workplace health and safety. It is important that their recommendations are fully considered at key site meetings and we have identified an opportunity for improvement in that area.

We deferred taking piecemeal steps in that area, so that our new health and safety manager could implement a more comprehensive approach. Having identified specific risk in 08/09 we conducted several different training programs.
A total of 412 warehouse, engineer and services staff undertook 'BackSafe' training and 90 warehouse staff undertook forklift refresher training.

OHS performance

The progressive implementation of a new incident and
injury database now enables us to accurately record and report LTIFR. During 09/10 our LTIFR was 8.7 derived from 27 lost time injuries. Almost half of the total days lost were accounted for by three reported injuries. Improved rehabilitation processes have been implemented during the year to address return to work in combination with actions to fundamentally reduce workplace injuries and incidents. Following an extensive training program, the absolute number of musculoskeletal injuries has declined, although they still account for 65 percent of total injuries.

Regrettably, we faced two serious incidents in 09/10.
The first related to the receipt of shipping containers from Hong Kong that had not followed correct operating procedures for fumigation aeration. This resulted in an odorous residue residing in some of our products. Immediate actions were put in place to minimise any possible adverse impacts to health.

Independent chemical analysis confirmed that while this incident was likely to have caused varying degrees of rust contamination, there were no harmful effects to staff or customers who may have come into contact with affected machines. New work safe methods for testing containers before and immediately after they are opened have been implemented along with a flow chart outlining the process
to be followed and safety procedures to be applied.

The second incident resulted in an employee requiring hospitalisation after suffering a serious injury whilst driving
a forklift truck. An internal investigation commenced hours after the incident occurred. Workcover NSW recommendations have been implemented in the areas of shift manning, security, cleaning safety procedures and forklift refresher training to avoid any recurrence. The employee in question has returned to work performing light duties and driver refresher training will be provided once medical clearance to resume full duties has been given.

The company has given these two incidents substantial attention and carefully considered whether our current OHS approach is adequate. As a result of an external benchmarking exercise by the OHS steering committee, additional qualified staff resources have been approved to accelerate our progress towards a more robust OHS approach. While technical assessment of areas needing improved safety orientation and systems will be a focus, the overarching need for an improved safety culture is an absolute priority.

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