In Practice: Transforming Safety Culture and Increasing Productivity – The Aroona Alliance Journey
Water is fast becoming the most precious substance on our planet. This longitudinal case study reveals Aroona Alliance’s plight to safely operate and maintain Perth’s water system while under significant pressure to cut costs and increase production. Forming in 2012, Aroona Alliance is an Alliance of the Water Coporation, Broadspectrum and Suez.
While they had achieved 100 percent compliance within 2 years, across drinking water and wastewater quality indexes, they found a plateau in the safety performance lag indicators and workplace injuries on the rise. Despite 90-degree PDR processes indicating very high technical competence amongst leaders, it became clear that something was missing that would ensure the safety of the workforce. The academic literature concludes that achieving a ‘zero harm,’ safety culture involves more than just technical competence, it requires consideration of other, more personal factors, such as organisational culture, leadership, beliefs, attitudes and values.
Aroona Alliance embarked on a Safety Transformation Program focused on assessing the current safety culture, identifying where they desired to be in 12-months’ time, recognizing levers for change and increasing safety leadership capability and engagement across multiple levels. The STP enabled an environment for staff to gain insights into objectives, capabilities, targets and consequences, while simultaneously realigning personal and organisational values. By emphasising a culture of sharing, advocacy, and involvement, Aroona Alliance achieved a significant culture shift resulting in a 95% decline in TRIFR; a 100% decline in SIFR; 60% decline in Insurance premiums and 60% decline in absenteeism.
The Safety Transformation program (STP) was successful due to its ability to holistically transform safety culture, through optimising current processes AND recognising the strong, influential power of intrinsic motivators. The Aroona Alliance STP provides a meaningful case study for any organisation challenged by improving safety AND performance in a sustainable way.