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How culture and systems create safety

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National Transport Insurance has brought in Kelly McLuckie and Paul Gaynor – experts in cultural transformation and safety systems, respectively – to help clients ensure their supply chain workers are safe, accountable, and productive. The pair talk to MHD about their complementary roles in NTI’s safety agenda. 

Kelly McLuckie, Customer Culture and Transformation Manager (NZ/AU) at National Transport Insurance (NTI), says that the insurance specialist is continually pushing initiatives that go beyond the traditional role of an insurer. Not only does NTI assess, manage, and protect customer assets against risks in the transport industry – it takes proactive measures to lessen those risks and improve overall supply chain safety. “A major component of NTI’s strategy is to make Australia safer and more sustainable,” Kelly says. 

NTI has long provided safety services to its customers – including trauma counselling, on-scene accident assistance, and vehicle repairs – and in the past year has expanded its client offering to include Chain of Responsibility (CoR) management and safety culture transformation.

To do this, NTI looked externally for the top experts in these fields and brought them under the NTI umbrella. In 2019 NTI acquired consultancy firm, Success Formula, to handle the cultural transformation side of safety. In August 2021 NTI acquired Logistics Safety Solutions (LSS), a leading provider of Chain of Responsibility (CoR) management systems. 

Australia’s Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) is undergirded by CoR laws that identify parties within supply chains who exercise influence or control over transport tasks. If a breach of the HVNL occurs, CoR laws may assign responsibility for the breach beyond the vehicle drivers in question to parties including employers and consignors of goods. The aim of the CoR laws is to enforce holistic accountability throughout the supply chain, rather than placing the onus solely on heavy vehicle operators. 

Paul Gaynor, General Manager of LSS, says that NTI invested in his company and the LSS CoR-Safe system because it provides a range of services – including process manuals, on-line training, and self-audits – enabling customers and their supply chains to understand and manage their CoR duties.

The LSS CoR-Safe system utilises internal and external audits – in combination with other metrics – to assign CoR management scores to clients and supply chain partners. “It brings clarity to our clients and anyone within our clients’ supply chains,” says Paul. “Not only can they verify that safety protocols are being observed, but through individual task scores the system highlights areas that need improvement.”

But Paul notes that the LSS system is only effective if there is cultural buy-in from those using it. “We can provide a logistics safety system, but without the right organisational culture it’s not going to stick,” he says. “And that’s where Kelly comes in.”

Kelly’s job with customers is to foster the cultural preconditions that allow safety management systems to take hold.

“One of the big capability gaps within transport and logistics is that often teams lack the leadership, planning, and strategic skills to effect cultural transformations that prioritise safety,” Kelly says. “Oftentimes the organisational will is there to create a good safety culture, but leadership doesn’t know how to achieve it. With so many competing priorities in front of them, people fall back to what they know, which is the technical work of transportation – despatching trucks or solving loading problems – while safety concerns fall by the wayside.”

To remedy this, Kelly works with organisations from top-to-bottom to implement proper planning, coach personnel in effective communication, and establish channels through which staff and leadership can convey messages around safety. 

Paul adds that Kelly’s work in conducting cultural surveys allows him to get a “cultural temperature check” before, during, and after the implementation of safety management systems – and to more accurately measure the degree to which cultural attitudes are aligning with formal CoR obligations. For Paul, culture and systems are obverse sides of the same safety coin.

“A good culture equals a good business,” Kelly says. “A profitable business is one that doesn’t waste time dealing with avoidable accidents, and where people feel psychologically safe to speak up and raise concerns directly.”

For more information visit www.cor-safe.com & www.nti.com.au

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