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Case Study – LOGOSS and Gladstone Council

LOGOSSNeed proof that WHS safety compliance can impact the bottom line? Safety Concepts helped one government authority introduce a Safety Management System which then delivered multiple paybacks within the first year. Gladstone Regional Council [GRC] has achieved stunning results by taking a proactive approach to safety with the help of LOGOSS, a safety software specifically designed to suit local government. In the first nine months since go-live, the Council has a reported bottom line improvement of $250,000 from the strategic initiatives implemented in 2013 – 2014. It is estimated a further $200,000 has been saved in on-costs in addition to the reductions in reported statutory claims.

Beautiful one day, safer the next.

The Gladstone region in Queensland is home to 65,000 people, the Southern Great Barrier Reef and two of the world’s largest alumina refineries, Queensland’s largest multi commodity port and a number of other major industrial giants. Balanced with large areas of green open space, including several national parks, historical sites, bush walks and marine activities, including fishing and crabbing, residents have a wide choice to explore and experience the great outdoors.

Council employs 750 people and wanted to improve their safety management performance but was unsure which way to go. Their team had reviewed many safety management software systems over the past couple of years, while becoming increasingly aware their paper based system was well out of date.

Craig Cousar, OH&S Coordinator for Gladstone Regional Council wanted to upgrade councils systems and align them to Australian standards and go from a paper based system to a real-time, electronic reporting environment. “We had no succinct way to measure, trend and analyse our data, and it could take weeks before we understood what had happened, so we needed to start a continuous improvement journey,” he said. “We were using paper based forms, with data then having to be transcribed into excel spreadsheets where you could spend weeks trying to find a hot spot,” he said.

Power to respond

The Manager of People and Performance, Chris Phillips, saw the organisation was still suffering from post-amalgamation in regards to a quality safety management system and that there were potential gaps in comparison to the evolving acts.  “The old ways of dealing with safety were getting tired and weren’t actually working any more, we needed to change our thinking around safety and had a clear charter from our CEO to create a safety culture,” he said.

A total proactive package was rolled out across GRC to get employees thinking differently about safety.

“The key to the success has been the engagement of the organization, and it was not just one things that fixed everything…part of whole suite that said the organization was serious about safety, cared about safety and we were going to invest in safety,”

“Because our previous system wasn’t in real time, there was little accountability, as it was all done retrospectively, presenting little opportunity to do any trend analysis. We can now see trends we don’t like and have been able to intervene faster, with great impact and positive results” he said.

Chris outlined that the appeal of the LOGOSS safety system was that it aligned with GRC’s obligation to make their workplaces as safe as possible, which helped with the executive level discussion.

“We didn’t try and sell it on savings, as no one would have believed us if we told them what we thought we might achieve…but the fact that we have achieved so much, so quickly is a bonus.” He said.

“Our real motivation came from the realisation that we are all managers of safety and therefore all accountable, and it would be unfair of us not to have something in place to make our teams workplaces safer,” he said.

As an OH&S Manager, GRC’s Craig Cousar knew from experience that for every day someone has off work, it costs council up to three times that wage. He wanted to find out quicker what type of injuries were happening, where they were happening and their frequency.

“The LOGOSS system helps us plug those gaps and became the vessel that gave us the data and information to launch and redefine our policy and corporate standards framework, bringing them in line with Australian Standards,” he said. “Once you’ve set reports up it’s a click of a button to get meaningful data showing you the key risk areas, we were able to pull that data efficiently…””

“I didn’t expect it was as bad as it was in some areas, but it was a good thing to be able to plug those gaps and provide data to managers in those departments and get them to start to track against other areas as well,” he said. “Our biggest area of opportunity was the combination of lost days and claims and we are now able to tell which departments were having the most lost days, what types of roles they perform, and drill down to see what is going on,”

“We had a common theme with back injuries and we wanted to improve that so were able to spend time looking at a range of programs including mechanical, ergonomic, onsite physiotherapists, helping making our guys fitter,”

“LOGOSS was able to give us that hotspot quicker, without weeks of trawling through data to decipher how to improve our workplace.”

Tell it like it is.

LOGOSS is built on the proven IMS Safety Management Software that has been used in one major Queensland state government department for twenty years. Safety Concepts developed the LOGOSS system as an application specific solution for local government on the IMS platform and continues to add functionality modules in consultation with users.

Gladstone ordered LOGOSS in April 2013 and once the system was configured, tested and staff trained, a go live on July 1, 2013 was achieved. Gladstone Regional Council were able to fast track the process with LOGOSS, due to the robust pre-configuration process which is based on company structure and safety tree process and a very focused development team .

Craig Cousar from GRC explained, “We already knew the IMS software LOGOSS is based on. So it was a familiar workflow and integration was made easy. Our outside workforce really like the system and find it easy to use. With no paperwork, they can log an incident from an iphone or ipad, or once back in the office through a simple set up around seven or eight questions that anyone can fill it out. We were conscious to make it easy to use for a range of literacy levels are tailor to both white collar, blue collar and casual staff,” he continued.

Chris Phillips learnt some lessons of what not to do during the amalgamation of four councils, and focused on bringing teams on a journey of continuous improvement and the importance of a robust roll out plan.

“We included training session, communication bulletins, articles through our internal newsletters and emails as we knew we had to communicate not only about the new system, but why the old system was no longer adequate.

“We started by asking people what didn’t work for them about their current system and engaging them around the problem and and reassured them that the LOGOSS system was going to retain the good elements and seamlessly create a more positive safety management environment for council.

“It was a great way to also tidy up all of your old issues, or outstanding cases where people may have been away for a long time, numbers on books, and we made an investment in tidying that up to also show the organisation we were serious about drawing a line in the sand to make the new beginning.”

Safety first, savings forever.

The results for the 9 months have been nothing less than outstanding.  A combination of system implementation, and strategic resolve to change behaviours and process to managing risk, incidents, return to work, and safety management has resulted in a significant cost reduction and bottom line improvement for GRC well ahead of expected timelines.

As at May 2014, GRC has achieved:

A gross reduction in Statutory Claims of approximately $405,000 on the previous year’s results of $470,000.

A net improvement verse the previous year of $255,000 after costs of all initiatives, including the purchase of LOGOSS.

Lost time days in 2012- 2013 were approximately 1000, and in the current year are only 160, year to date.

Reduction of insurance premium in next financial year of $80,000 with further reductions expected in next two to three years.7.5% reduction

In addition to the reportable reductions in costs, it is estimated that a further 50% of on costs has also been saved, estimated at over $200,000.

Triple bottom line

With the balance Gladstone Regional Council must achieve amongst its diverse local stakeholders , Safety Concepts suggested an Environment Management System [EMS], would be a necessary partner to their safety approach. GRC assisted with the development of the EMS, so it is relevant and tested in a highly industrial region making it world class.

Craig Cousar explains that it was a natural progression for Gladstone Regional Council’s to evolve EMS as part of the LOGOSS solution for their regulatory services department.

“They were in the same boat when it came to outdated systems – paper based, time to transfer data which was inefficient, and potentially out of step for the environmental health standards.

“International companies appreciate the world class handle we have on safety and environment in Gladstone,” he said. We strive to be the region of choice in central Queensland, and we take that statement quite literally , that we don’t need to be good, we need to be exceptional, well and truly on our way to achieving that with the introduction of this system. While our CEO and Mayor are impressed with the results so far, the ultimate goal is the long term reduction in the insurance premium.

“While we get an initial reduction which we have been able to save, it’s the size of the reduction of the three year period where we will see the real improvement,” he said.

 The future is in the palm of your hand

As well as the current solution suite within LOGOSS, stand alone applications for smart devices have been developed for remote hazard inspections and incident reporting, and the investigation modules are in development in 2014. The apps will be live and available from September 2014.

Considering all councils requirements to manage risk and the importance of quality inductions to achieve that aim, an induction platform to assist with staff and contractor inductions and processes associated with Induction Management, also interfaces with LOGOSS.

The LOGOSS software has a very strong Reporting Module that is effectively a full BI system overlaying the Safety System. In the USA, it is used in Local Government across whole of council. It can schedule reporting, deploy dashboards relevant to a department, and can provide complex modelling and forecasting scenarios. It really does put the power in the executive teams hands.

Fit for purpose

Sales Director of LOGOSS, Craig Nicholls is convinced the complexity of council businesses today means most generic risk software systems do not suit the problem. Most are small registers at the back end of a large operating system, or paper based process into an excel spread sheet –quite archaic in today’s environment, and with the expectation of governance and accountability from senior management. And most are not to 4801 standard.

They cannot process and deliver in real time across the safety team and executive, nor provide fast time response to management. There are serious consequences for getting it wrong, and ignorance is no defence nowadays.

“Councils have an opportunity to leverage new technology to deliver more efficient services, manage diverse operations and utilise knowledge and skills of people across all locations,” he said.

“Instead of seeing OHS as a cost, councils can finally claim back some of the time and investment spent, and provide seamless reporting to satisfy even the most stringent compliance requirements”.

The Logoss system was quickly and easily tailored to the Councils organizational structure and specific needs and delivered accelerated outcomes for GRC.

They were more quickly able to identify the problems and handle hazards and incidents, resulting in reduced lost time and reduced hazards. The team could spend more time on the business of safety and less on administrative process via automatic workflows.

For more information visit www.logoss.com.au.

 

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

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