Cash for cost-saving ideas

PROGRAMS that reward employees for costs saving ideas and better safety performance are not just proving popular – they’re reaping big dividends for mining companies and mine contractors.

Programs that reward employees for great ideas are reaping big benefits. Jamie Wade writes

Call it a bribe. Call it a carrot-and-stick approach to management. Call it what you like, but programs that reward employees for costs saving ideas and better safety performance are not just proving popular — they’re reaping big dividends for mining companies and mine contractors.

Alcoa is leading the charge with an Employee Suggestion Scheme that offers financial incentives to those who develop ideas which result in cost savings.

Ideas direct from refinery and mine site workers have seen significant financial savings and safety, environmental and efficiency improvements.

“We believe we have a more productive and engaged workforce if employees are encouraged to make suggestions for improvement and are then listened to by management,” Alcoa vice president of operations Raphael Costa said.

“It is people who make Alcoa successful, not machines or equipment.”

Employee suggestions and achievements from Alcoa’s Western Australian Operations have included an idea at its Kwinana refinery that led to annual savings of $460,000.

A technology group at the company’s Kwinana operations developed a Carbon Capture technology which locks up carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The technology is equivalent to taking 17,500 cars off the road.

Another Alcoa employee has been rewarded for work that resulted in a 95% reduction in liquor burner emissions at the company’s Wagerup operations.

Major and civil construction company Macmahon Holdings is also taking the lead in rewarding employees for great ideas with a program where employees identify their personal drivers for encouraging occupational health and safety in the workplace.

The ‘Big Five’ program, supported by a rewards scheme, promotional materials and successful integration into everyday work practices, has gained widespread support and recognition for effectively linking lifestyle values with workplace safety.

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