Capable and committed team

Capable and committed team

Our experienced and capable team consistently lives our values to safely deliver for our customers every day.

Safety and wellbeing of our people

The introduction of a harm based approach to safety in March 2019 has seen a shift in focus from traditional lag metrics to events that could have been life altering, if not for luck. These actual or potential life-changing situations are called diamond events.

As part of this change, we reviewed and modified our approach to incident investigation enabling us to prioritise serious incidents and better focus our resources to prevent the likelihood of recurrences. Harm Based Diamond Alerts are now distributed to our people to share information and lessons from these events, and start safety conversations.

Random drug and alcohol testing began in September 2018. Through to 30 June 2019, we conducted 448 tests with an equal split of regional and metropolitan sites and no confirmed positive results.

In 2018-19 our wellbeing initiatives have largely focused on mental wellness with 25 workshops conducted for people leaders to improve their understanding of how to effectively support our people.

People leaders in the Customer Field Services team have started the Leadership Fundamentals program, which incorporates safety leadership and the principles of our safety framework – engagement and empowerment. All field-based workgroups continue to develop and implement their own safety frameworks.

Our work health and safety asset improvement program has focused on seven high-risk categories:

  1. Fall prevention – addressing the hazard of working at height.
  2. Hazardous substances – addressing issues identified through site audits relating to working with or near dangerous or corrosive chemicals.
  3. Asbestos removal – progressively removing all asbestos containing materials.
  4. Wastewater pump station relocation – moving stations located in-road or at the roadside.
  5. Electrical safety – identifying and addressing assets, primarily switchboards, that are deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to operators.
  6. Fire detection and emergency evacuation – ensuring all sites where our people are based are well protected by compliant fire detection and evacuation systems
  7. General and minor health and safety – addressing specific sites or hazards that do not fit in the above categories.

Field worker safety

Rollout of the in-vehicle safety system supporting our remote and isolated workers to undertake their roles safely, was completed and is now installed in 550 vehicles. The system has an in-built alert that automatically raises an alarm in the event immediate help is needed. The system is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by our Operations Control Centre in Adelaide.

A wider assessment was undertaken of the risks relating to the personal safety of our field crews in remote or isolated areas, and the safety support we provide them. While there is significant support already in place, this exercise highlighted a number of opportunities for improvement which will be progressed in 2019-20.

Inclusion and diversity

A refreshed Inclusion and Diversity Plan was prepared to ensure alignment with our vision and strategy. It has four focus areas:

  1. Women in SA Water – increasing opportunities for women in leadership and non-traditional roles including field-based, STEM and trades.
  2. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and retention – supporting our Reconciliation Action Plan.
  3. Flexible and inclusive workforce – overcoming unconscious bias, increasing and supporting diversity in all its forms.
  4. Emerging workforce – growing innovation and diversity of thought through opportunities for new and emerging people in our business.

Each focus area is led by a General Manager with the Chief Executive taking leadership of the overall plan.

Our existing recruitment and retention processes, as well as our culture and values underpin our inclusion and diversity program.

Building a high performing and collaborative team

There were two key focus areas for developing our people in 2018-19:

1. Leadership Fundamentals

Leadership Fundamentals was piloted with managers from our Customer Field Services team. The program has an emphasis on building on the basics, developing greater consistency in our leadership capability, and supporting our leaders to:

  • provide clear performance expectations
  • create greater levels of accountability
  • build a constructive workplace culture within their teams
  • improve their leadership communication
  • effectively lead their teams in an environment of constant change
  • recognise great work.

2. Teamgage

Teamgage is an online tool that enables our people to effectively collaborate and have meaningful conversations with their team. It provides an opportunity for teams to regularly provide feedback to their people leaders and track how everyone is going. The ongoing process is designed to measure change and improvements in key areas over time.

Teamgage was piloted with more than 160 of our people, with the rollout across the business will continue in 2019-20.

As well as these focus areas, in 2018-19, 74 per cent of our people responded to the South Australian Government’s I Work for SA survey. The results showed that across all major indicators, our people tracked above the public sector average.

The 72 per cent engagement level corresponds to 74 per cent when compared with our previous engagement methodology, which is an increase of five per cent over 12 months. It shows our people have a strong commitment towards the business and strive to do their best.

The key highlights from the survey include:

  • 94 per cent of the respondents feel our workplace is committed to safety
  • 92 per cent say we go the extra mile and are willing and comfortable to suggest ideas to improve the way we do things.

The survey also identified opportunities for improvement such as further simplification of processes and growing the number of people who feel comfortable to speak up and challenge the way we work when they see a better way. Results will inform our ongoing work to build a constructive and collaborative culture.

Awards celebrate our innovation and excellence

In December 2019, our inaugural Innovation and Excellence Awards acknowledged our people who are excelling as they deliver for our customers. There were seven awards:

  1. Innovation Award – presented to members of our Woodside Depot team in recognition of their work to test and implement trenchless pipe repair techniques that are delivering cost, safety and environmental benefits.
  2. Together Award – for the large, cross-disciplinary team involved in the retrieval of a vehicle that crashed through a railing in Mount Gambier and into the Blue Lake/War War. This was a complex operation and our people played a critical role ensuring the incident was managed safely and proactively. See Car retrieved from Blue Lake/War War.
  3. Safety Leadership Award – presented to the team that worked on improving sludge monitoring of lagoon-based wastewater treatment plants. See Remote boats improve sludge management.
  4. Inspirational Leadership Award – Riverland District Leader Shaun Elphick received this award in recognition of his positive approach and inspirational endeavours.
  5. Environment and Energy Award – awarded to Manager Environmental Opportunities Greg Ingleton for his work on the innovative Adelaide Airport heat trial. Through smart application of irrigation techniques to an open environment at the airport, he was able to show that the surrounding area could be cooled significantly, bringing a range of benefits to the airport operators.
  6. Surprise and Delight Award (External) – presented to the team that delivered the Hallett Cove Wastewater Pump Station upgrade. In delivering two major upgrades at the pump station over 12 months, Environmental Services together with the Stakeholder Engagement and Asset Management teams and alliance partner Allwater managed and improved our relationship with the local community. The result is a beautiful landscape that the community uses and enjoys.
  7. Surprise and Delight Award (Internal) – won by electricians from our Crystal Brook Workshop who took on the challenge to install new switchboards, power supplies and control cabling while the Henley Beach and Fulham sewer pump stations continued to operate. The successful outcome was a collaboration between our electricians, alliance partner Allwater and external contractors.