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Wickham safety improved through teamwork

Wickham aerial shot

Image courtesy of Rio Tinto

19 May 2014 - Aurecon and Rio Tinto teams on the Wickham Accommodation Expansion Project recently celebrated the significant milestone of one million hours free of lost time injury (LTI).

Roy Fullard, Project Manager for Aurecon said: “The mining sector demands uncompromisingly high levels of safety on site. The safety performance on this project is a direct reflection of the commitment of Rio Tinto and Aurecon to the goal of zero harm and Aurecon’s focus on safe, certain delivery.  A key component to this achievement was the promotion of co-operation between individuals and organisations so that health and safety became a collaborative effort.”

The project started in July 2011 and involved the demolition of existing accommodation, the subdivision of residential lots and the construction of new accommodation, central facilities buildings, residential dwellings, as well as associated infrastructure upgrades.

The Wickham town renewal, planned for completion in early 2015, will provide additional accommodation for the growing workforce and will facilitate Rio Tinto’s expansion of iron ore production capacity.

Aurecon is engaged by Rio Tinto to provide engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services for the project and is currently on site, supervising the works and providing health and safety, environmental, contract administration and superintendent services.


Challenges

In addition to working in the remote Pilbara region with its harsh climatic conditions, the project team managed the inherent hazards of working at heights and heavy and light vehicle interactions found on a major civil and building construction site.

Aurecon faced challenges in procuring suitably qualified contractors which led to the engagement of contractors who are recent entrants to the mining sector. The project team proactively provided more assistance than would typically be required to ensure the contractors complied with the high expectations on onsite safety levels.

A collaborative approach opens communication lines
Aurecon’s emphasis on working closely with the contractors demonstrated safety leadership and helped establish open lines of communication which successfully created a culture of working to do it right the first time.

In order to efficiently supervise the contractors and identify and manage the risks on site, Aurecon introduced quality processes such as daily tool box talks, weekly meetings with the contractors, the roll out of safety interactions during site visits by project and contract managers and quarterly fatal risk prevention workshops. Reward and recognition of good safety behaviours was also high on the agenda. 

“Safety really is all about people, with the creation of a safe work environment being both a personal and team objective. All team members played an integral role in the realisation of this significant milestone and ensuring that everyone went home each day without harm,” Mr Fullard added.

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