How Mastermyne introduced a safety mindset across the company

Mastermyne MD Tony Caruso (middle) with two co-workers.

Mastermyne has taken a relentless approach to improving safety.

The company’s recognition as a finalist for The Safety Foremost Award at the Resource Industry Network’s (RIN) 2018 event is a reflection of this strategy.

It demonstrates the company’s passion for keeping people safe; as communicated through the core value of: Safety always – we are trained and competent to look after our environment, our workmates and ourselves, to ensure we all safely return to family and friends every day.

Mastermyne’s management and employees work hand-in-hand to actively improve safety. After a rise in incidents recorded during January 2015, Mastermyne embarked on a journey to improve the safety mindset of its workforce.

The mining services company had already come a long way on this journey, starting with business compliance to the risk-based legislation, development and implementation of safety management system and tools, followed by compliance management of the number and quality of the tools used.

Implementing a system to ensure compliance to safety procedures and processes resulted in an improvement in performance for most of the 2016 financial year.

However, once momentum wore off and the system became business-as-usual, safety performance started to trend the wrong way.

Mastermyne’s managing director Tony Caruso said safety performance was not improving at the start of the 2017 financial year, even though company compliance remained steadfast.

“We needed to do something different; the momentum of the focus on hazard identification and proactive indicator compliance management had plateaued,” Caruso said. “Again this had become business-as-usual. It was no longer keeping safety at the front of mind of the workforce.”

Mastermyne’s senior leadership team tackled this issue by identifying the desired safety culture and mindset of the workforce to make all employees mindful of their own safety and that of others. The company was determined to ensure that safety was at the top of everyone’s mind.

After deciding on a path to change this mindset, Mastermyne faced the challenge of an inconsistent standard towards a positive safety culture across the entire Mastermyne Group, Caruso added.

“Some sites were more advanced on their safety journey than others and the challenge was to leverage the better performing areas of our business and use the ‘what good looks like’ approach across all of Mastermyne,” Caruso said.

Mastermyne moved its fiscal 2017 business goals away from compliance to focus on behavioural change, with its leaders agreeing on “what good looks like for a safety leader.”

The company rolled out safety leadership across the top 10 per cent of its workforce – the leaders within the business.

Mastermyne’s EGM strategy and growth David Sykes said this process delivered a consistent safety message, while exhibiting exaggerated safety behaviours.

“Levelling the playing field with this approach ensured that everyone at the company was at the same point in the safety journey,” Sykes said.

Mastermyne EGM strategy and growth David Sykes (right) talks with a colleague.

 

Mastermyne’s leadership then realised another strategy was required to extend the momentum into the 2018 financial year.

To achieve this, the company’s leaders asked each other: How do we continue to influence people’s attitude toward safety, and build that desired safety culture and mindset?

The senior leadership team set up a brain science project team to work out how to move from the current mindset to the desired mindset.

Sykes said the team engaged a consultant to learn more about how the brain worked and how best to use this knowledge to enhance the mindset of the people in our business.

“We learned about how the brain interprets messages, how much the brain can manage at a time and how best to communicate the desired message,” Sykes said.

“Learning that the brain can only process five items of information at any one time and filters out what the brain determines is useless or noise … this became the basis of delivering safety messages going forward. We needed simple, short bursts of information, rather than lengthy presentations or communications.”

The team also learned how the brain prefers to interpret communication, what the brain wants to know and what influences the brain to drive human performance.

Mastermyne developed a safety leadership training program to train its leaders in communication and how to exaggerate positive safety behaviours to influence a positive safety mindset.

To complement the program, a ‘call out’ campaign was introduced across the company to increase momentum and chatter around positive safety acts, further bringing the focus to the front of mind across the company.

“Leaders would initially ‘call out’ positive acts or performance by singling out individuals who had acted out the company values,” Sykes said.

“By exaggerating the behaviour it causes a ripple effect across the company. Encouraging others to act in a similar manner and support each other in positive safety performance.”

The result of the latest Mastermyne strategy to improve safety culture has the company well placed to finish the current financial year in line with the safety performance targets and sets the business up for continual improvement for future years.