Adequate Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) is crucial to the health and well-being to our entire team, as well as our contractors, suppliers and clients. Which is why we are thrilled with our recent win at the 2018 Hunter Safety Awards taking out Best WHS Management System (SME).

We believe our win is due to a culmination of experience, team work, innovative thinking, and stringent health and safety practices – and we couldn’t have done it without our WHS manager, Nathan Ford. Here’s what Nathan had to say when we chatted to him about what the win means to Valley Homes and how it was achieved:

What does it mean to Valley Homes to have won this Hunter Safety Award?

Over the years we have worked hard to improve our WHS standards and now being recognised for that work is a huge achievement. It truly is a great pat on the back for the team, particularly as it is such a competitive category and it was our first time entering the award.

Valley Homes WHS Workplace Health and Safety Award win 2018

As a Hunter Valley business and valued local employer what are the benefits for participating in awards such as the Hunter Safety Awards?

The benefits are huge! We get to do interviews like this…we get to dress up, go out with the team, have fun, and celebrate quite a serious part of our industry. We are also recognised by our peers from across the industry and so the team benefits from a shot of moral; we hope our clients recognise the effort too.

How did this particular winning WHS Management System design come about?

Valley Homes WHS Workplace Health and Safety Award win 2018

Through a need to provide one of our major clients with stringent WHS site management and reporting, we developed a system that ended up exceeding the client’s expectations, as well as being easily adapted to suit our overall WHS strategy. Specific needs on site were addressed and became part of our standard WHS model.

The particular site that this winning WHS management system was developed for required special attention to the risks and treatment of extreme weather (high wind). The safety officer and site team developed the risk assessment and methods of measurement to allow accurate reporting to the client with regards to safety whilst working at heights.

Why do you think Valley Homes’ WHS Management System stood out to award judges?

About two years ago Valley Homes’ safety manager found a hole in the current rules and regulations that previously had not been addressed and so we developed a policy about Extreme weather in the construction sector. Also, after progressing to the finalist category we were interviewed on site so that judges could see, firsthand, how Valley Homes conduct their everyday processes and how the WHS Management System was implemented.

What steps go into the implementation of WHS Management Systems?

At the beginning of each project the WHS officer completes site specific inductions, risk assessments and prepares relevant Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) and documentation. The supervisors are a part of this process and are instrumental in instilling a real WHS focus on site, particularly in relation to engaging with the wider trade base. Fortnightly reviews with the supervisor team is a large part of keeping a solid WHS culture.

Valley Homes WHS Workplace Health and Safety Award win 2018

Why is WHS so important to the Valley Homes team?

Safety is part of everyone’s day-to-day life. Valley Homes recognises this and actively embraces a ‘Work Safe, Home Safe’ mentality. Valley Homes is not just a building company, we are a family that looks after each other trade by trade. The relationships we have built over the years with subcontractors and trades have meant that all businesses now associated with Valley Homes know that safety is a huge part of our business ethos and they embrace it as much as we do.

Does Valley Homes have a good workplace safety record?

Valley Homes has had a very good safety record where in the last four years we have had one accident by a subcontractor, which was minor, and one near miss. The subcontractors that work alongside Valley Homes are very well informed with all safety rules and laws in NSW in the construction industry.

You can work with our award-winning team

If you are a Hunter Valley local looking to work with Valley Homes in any capacity, be it as a client or contractor, you can be assured the WHS and occupational safety strategies are in place to keep all parties safe, whenever you’re on site. Our incredible team will make sure of it.

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