Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Charles Tahau - Health and Safety Champion


Last year, we held elections for Health and Safety Champions across the whole business. The goal was to get consultation going at 'the coalface' about ways to improve our health and safety culture.

Charles Tahau, from our Pukekohe store, was elected and agreed to chair our health and safety committee.

What does the Chair of the Health and Safety Committee do?
There are 56 health and safety champions nationwide. The role is all about keeping awareness high, sharing good practice and asking How can we do things better?

On top of my day job as store worker and loader operator, I’ve spent a fair bit of time reading up on documents and policies and visiting other stores.

Why do you think the role is important?
Well the Champion idea is all about capturing the insight from those whose boots are on the ground.

There are definite differences we can make to things like company policies and practices that are better coming from people who do the work rather than only from management.

What skills or experience are needed?
I’ve worked for Ravensdown for four years and before that I was with a steel mill, so health and safety has always been a big part of my working life.

What do you find interesting about the role?
My belief is that instead of carping from the sidelines, it’s better to contribute something useful and get involved.

What is the biggest challenge?
We all have these pockets of experience and examples of how we’ve made a practical difference, but it’s harder to share that across the whole employee network. For example, regularly clambering up a pretty flimsy looking 3m ladder was not my favourite task, so my boss and I sorted a stairs-and-platform solution. That’s the kind of thing that happens all the time, but getting it sorted across every site takes more than just the initial idea – it takes communication and systematic follow through.

Any message for shareholders?
The customers I meet know how to keep themselves safe. The regulars who come in to the store know to wear the high-viz vest and park where they’re supposed to. Sometimes it’s the visitors who don’t come in that often who need to be more aware and follow the instructions.