Australia’s leading glass manufacturer, Viridian , is doing its part to ensure safe handling practices in the workplace and in the industry itself.

Ensuring employee safety is paramount to Viridian’s workplace agenda.

Viridian’s glass processing HR and safety manager John Findlay said, “We have been proactive in addressing safe glass handling and have implemented numerous initiatives over the last few years to ensure safety messages are communicated to all our employees and third parties within our business.”

“As Australia’s leading glass manufacturer and supplier, we have a responsibility to promote safe practices within our own organisation and to provide a leading example for the rest of the industry. As part of this role we provide free safety messaging materials to our customers and to third parties that we work with,” Findlay said.

One of the first safety campaigns launched in the last few years by Viridian was the 2010 Cardinal Rules Campaign. This focused on promoting workplace safety by asking people to be conscious of their own personal safety and that of their colleagues.

“This messaging and other safety initiatives generated significant impact and within two years of implementing the campaign, the injury rate on Viridian sites was reduced by 30-40%,” Findlay added.

Other initiatives include a Manual Handling booklet, which was distributed to all staff members and a safety checklist card for on-site crane operators. The most recent safety campaign, “Take 2 and Step Back 5”, was launched in September, and stresses the importance of employees being aware of the safety steps in the tasks they are undertaking and the environment around them.”

“Viridian has always been at the forefront of workplace safety messaging. The key point for us is that the business works collaboratively in implementing these campaigns throughout all locations. We want all employees to be accountable for their own safety and that of their colleagues.  Additionally, we want to share this safety messaging to everyone we deal with,” Findlay said.

Recent tragedies such as the death of a fellow industry worker at Rosehill in August, who was working inside a shipping container when he was crushed by a timber crate containing glass sheets, highlights the risks that can arise when working with glass.

“Because Viridian manufactures most of its glass in Australia, and through the use of purpose built float liner trucks, we have significantly removed the risks associated with unloading containers of float glass,” Findlay said.

“This advanced glass handling process offers huge safety benefits, as well as being more environmentally friendly due to less usage of plastic wrapping that would otherwise be required for packing containers.”

Viridian has safety managers in each state and they work closely with WorkCover to ensure all work systems meet the required standards and all the relevant controls are in place to eliminate or minimize risk of employee injuries. It also works collaboratively with specialised engineering firms to design factory equipment with improved functionality and safety.

“Our aim is to ensure best practice not only in our own work sites, but to assist in getting safety messaging across the industry,” Findlay said.