Driving safety through innovation and culture
September 15, 2022
Roads & Infrastructure’s Tom O’Keane looks at how Alex Fraser is keeping people safe on the road
Alex Fraser has built a formidable safety culture, thanks to the commitment and innovation of its people. Safety Group Manager Lorenzo Marcon and Transport and Logistics Manager, Mario Tenaglia, explain.
At Alex Fraser there’s nothing more important than keeping people safe. The sustainable construction materials leader has long led the way when it comes to the introduction of effective and innovative safety initiatives to protect the wellbeing of its employees, customers and community.
Safety Group Manager Lorenzo “Laurie” Marcon says that ‘Keeping People Safe’ has always been paramount; and it’s that safety culture he’s most valued and nurtured throughout his time with the company.
“Alex Fraser has a relentless safety focus,” he says. “Our goal is to ensure that everyone we work with, and around, returns home safely every day. We invest in our employees, so that they are empowered to take action, to innovate and to speak up to keep themselves and others safe.”
Marcon says Alex Fraser is on a ‘continuous journey of improvement’, working in consultation with employees to effectively plan and communicate strong safety practice.
“We have a concrete commitment to building a strong and proactive safety culture. Our motto, ‘You See It You Own It’, was coined by our people. It is about empowering every single Alex Fraser employee to be a safety leader. When they see a hazard, our people take the action required to prevent incidents or injuries, report the hazard and contribute to mitigating safety improvements.” he says.
“This has been achieved through training our employees on hazard identification and working closely with our site and department leaders.”
The three-year plan
Marcon says Alex Fraser people work together to actively plan safe work and foster a proactive safety culture.
“Our strong safety culture is a result of good people, good planning and good systems. Together, we have developed a three-year safety plan to guide our work. This safety plan is the outcome of our annual ‘Safety Summit’, a leadership workshop where we come together to develop a company-wide safety strategy and identify priority areas for improvement.”
Marcon explains the plan is comprised of three key pillars, under which fall a number of key safety objectives for the broader business.
“Our safety pillars are Visible Leadership, Fundamental Risk Management and Simplified Systems. The strategic objectives beneath those pillars guide our daily work and our commitment to health and safety. It’s about constantly working to reduce exposure to harm and improving our work environment, through safety design.”
Marcon says the organisation-wide plan provides the foundations for a range of function and site-specific plans.
“Each business unit looks to our three-year plan to tailor their own annual plans, which are developed in direct consultation with their teams.”
Marcon says Alex Fraser supports this consultation that starts with the rollout of an annual all staff safety survey.
“All employees complete an online survey evaluating the Health and Safety performance of their department. These anonymous surveys are then used to shape our safety planning for the following year. It provides managers with a detailed picture of our peoples’ identified safety concerns and opportunities for improvement across the whole business.”
“The planning process culminates at the annual Safety Summit where safety leaders come together to review our performance, challenge the norms, brainstorm improvements and craft our safety plans for the year ahead. Progress against the plans is then communicated to our teams through toolbox meetings over the next twelve months.”
“This communication and collaboration is critical to making our workplace safer.”
Implementing safety technologies
Transport and Logistics Manager, Mario Tenaglia says a constant focus on safety is essential to ensuring safety onsite and on the road for his team and the communities in which they operate.
“Transport is one of the largest teams at Alex Fraser, and we are responsible for managing some of the greatest risks in the business, especially those related to heavy vehicle movements.
“For any business operating heavy machinery, thorough and effective safety controls are critical,” he says.
To maximise its roads safety controls, Alex Fraser’s transport and logistics team has installed a range of safety technologies throughout its entire fleet.
“Some of these technologies include autonomous cruise control for our trucks, which includes speed limiting to 95km and a collision mitigation system – enabling the truck to automatically apply its brakes if it detects a potential collision – and lane departure warnings to the driver. Detectors to confirm that the ground is at a safe level for tipping have also been implemented. If the ground angle detected is greater than the defined tolerance, the system stops the body from being raised,” he says.
Alex Fraser and its parent company Hanson Australia have conducted early trials with a Driver Distraction and Fatigue Detection System, an innovative technology which alerts the driver and their managers in the event of a driver experiencing a fatigue event (microsleep or drowsiness) or a distraction while driving.
“Using sensors, this system monitors drivers’ eye movements. If a driver is fatigued or distracted from the road in any way, it will immediately alerts the driver and advises us so we can follow up,” Tenaglia says.
“Micro sleeps are momentary sleep events that can occur in milliseconds and are beyond a driver’s awareness. The system could play an important role in supporting our fatigue management controls and ensuring that drivers are fit for work.”
Queensland teams are preparing to install the technology later this year, with other Hanson Australia and Alex Fraser tippers and tankers to follow.
Alex Fraser’s Safety Group Manager, Lorenzo Marcon is proud of the safety initiatives underway around the business, and the businesses’ constant commitment to improvement.
“What’s important is that we keep innovating. That means adopting new safety technologies and systems here at Alex Fraser, sharing our successes and learning from Hanson Australia too,” Marcon says.
“As part of the Hanson Group of Companies, we are driven to innovate and improve safety. We share a collaborative and continuous improvement approach to safety planning, leadership, advancement, training and support of our people. That’s the best way forward.”
This article was originally published in the September edition of Roads & Infrustructure magazine. To read the magazine, click here.