One of the ways in which we demonstrate that health and safety matters to us is through what we call ‘Safety Day’. On this day, once a year, we get everyone in Z together in the one location to reflect on, and engage with, health and safety. Our first Safety Day was way back in 2011.
In fact Safety Day has now got to be so big that it actually takes two days. That is partially because our employee numbers have grown from nearly 200 to just over 300, but also because we have others join us. Last year we had around 400 people including our employees, Board, customers, suppliers, strategic partners and stakeholders.
So what do we do for the day? Well, before we get to that I should share how it gets organised and delivered. In typical Z style, the bosses don’t get involved. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t committed to health and safety, we are actually so committed that we empower others in our organisation to take the lead. So there is a group of people across all of our activity set and at all levels who get together, agree the outcomes, develop a design, and then get it all organised and delivered.
The day is made up of a series of conversations – plenary sessions with everyone together and ‘booth’ sessions. These are where we get into small groups and circulate amongst a group of booth leaders to talk about relevant health and safety stuff.
In these booths there is a lot of storytelling, i.e. real personal experiences rather than some corporate ‘blah blah’. For example, last year we had the brother of one of our employees come along and tell us about the accident he had that led to him being a paraplegic, and what effect that has had on his life and his loved ones. That booth alone changed many people’s commitment to safety.
Together, we have keynotes from some compelling speakers, again through a storytelling style rather than heavy presentations. Last year we enjoyed hearing from Rebecca Macfie, the award winning author of the Pike River Tragedy, the head pilot from Air NZ told his story, and the new (at that time) CEO of WorkSafe NZ told us his story about incidents in the UK which were specific to our downstream oil sector.
We also make it a fun day. Last year the MC was Ursula Carlson, the well-known comedienne. She balanced the seriousness of the focus of Safety Day with her unique style of humour and perspective.
I have a lot of special days throughout my year and this is definitely one of my top ten. We’d be happy to share more about this if it helps in your own health and safety journey.
Mike Bennetts, CEO