Introducing Emma Cullen, Employee Relations Manager with Topdrill who recently facilitated onboarding SafetyIQ – Journey Management Software, into their WA based Resource and Water Drilling business to manage the risks associated with their mobile workforce.
Emma has had a long association with the Resource Sector having operated in a variety of positions spanning nearly 20 years. Her experience, particularly as a key stakeholder with the responsibility of managing the Health and Safety of the work place, Emma has unfortunately been confronted by the consequences of when things go wrong, but on the flipside, has also seen the benefits of improved work practices and attitudes that have significantly increased the safety of all employees.
During our interview session with Emma, it was very evident that in her current capacity as the Employee Relations Manager with Topdrill, the support to drive safety improvements and outcomes across the business was and continues to be high on the agenda from Topdrill Managing Director Tim Topham. The initiatives where possible to reduce paper based process and incorporate technology, has meant higher levels of engagement throughout the entire workforce. One of the biggest risks in the Topdrill business is travel and the type of travel undertaken, often means that employees are operating in very remote and isolated environments.
Please see below our interview transcript with Emma Cullen.
Tell us about Topdrill
We are a Resource and Drilling operation, with 135 employees. The drillers work in extremely rugged, hot and dirty environments, with drilling operations that are often 100km’s away from Townships or major cities.
Our operations expand to the Pilbara, in the North of WA, North East of WA and into the Northern Territory. Given not only the remoteness of most of the drilling camps but the operational activities performed, it has many safety risks and associated exposures.
Prior to SafetyIQ, how were you managing your mobile workforce?
With a white board, combined with a check in/ check out approach. We had to rely on people remembering to call in/out and in addition, those responsible for monitoring also had to remember to check that everyone was accounted for.
Did you research other tools/process software before selecting SafetyIQ?
No, we applied SafetyIQ after seeing it demonstrated at a Rio Tinto Contractor Forum and knew it met the required objectives.
What circumstances led you to using SafetyIQ?
After seeing it demonstrated at a RTIO Contractor Forum and it was well supported by Rio Tinto, and other drilling contractors.
The personnel working for Topdrill are the main assets in our business and making sure they arrive safely to their desired destination is paramount to all of us here at Topdrill
Who uses SafetyIQ within your organisation (include departments, contractors etc)? Describe how they use SafetyIQ.
Everyone across the entire business, from our management team to the guys operating out in the field. All personnel are expected to use SafetyIQ when leaving the yard in Kalgoorlie or leaving camp to get to site.
Not only do personnel use SafetyIQ during operations, our employees now even using it when travelling in personal time.
How did you get buy in from staff?
The staff knew we as a business had their best interests in mind. Many of our team members had already known of SafetyIQ having used the software when out on site with RTIO. It was already familiar and known as an ‘easy to use solution’. Interestingly, some of the guys ‘tried it on’ so to speak. They deliberately failed to check in to see if the system worked and to their surprise it did. The failed check ins are escalated and personnel are contacted accordingly to confirm safe arrival at their planned destination.
Did you have champions within your organisation? Who were they? How did they actively promote SafetyIQ?
Supervisor, Brian Dowdle was one of our key SafetyIQ champions and drivers with onboarding, however ALL our Topdrill Supervisors support and champion SafetyIQ – we had great buy in. We have erected a sign at the entrance/exit of our Kalgoorlie yard that reminds everyone to either create their journey in SafetyIQ when they leave or to checkin when they arrive back. We are also looking at including SafetyIQ stickers into the vehicles, just as another added reminder for all traveling team members to log their journey into SafetyIQ prior to a journey.
In addition, we also have incorporated SafetyIQ into our employee induction pack for all new workers coming into our business.
How does your organisation access SafetyIQ?
Topdrill management view SafetyIQ via individual computers, tablets and smart phones and we have a large television screen in our main meeting/training/common room that is turned on with SafetyIQ and our IVMS in a continuous loop at all times.
What changes/benefits have you seen within your organisation since implementing SafetyIQ?
From a Management level, Topdrill uses SafetyIQ in conjunction with our IVMS software so we know where all of our personnel are at all times. It means that we have the confidence that when one of our team members misses a check in, we will know in a very short space of time and then by accessing the vehicles IMVS system, we can pinpoint exactly where they are located and respond according to whatever the situation may be.
SafetyIQ has been well accepted by all personnel. We now apply a system where at the end of the day, we know all personnel have returned home to their loved ones or back to camp safely.
Return on Investment
Topdrill were spending on average 209 hours a month on manual Journey Management processes. This was costing them over $10,000 a month in labour costs.
After implementing SafetyIQ, they are now saving over 180 hours and almost $9,000 a month with SafetyIQ’s digital solution.