Building People with Kate Elliott, Director at Elliott Safety

Elliott Safety was established in 2016 to provide excellence in all areas of construction safety. Elliott Safety are leading construction safety for a number of Australia’s leading companies in the construction space in the current COVID era.

Conecta Co-Founder Matt Love recently spoke with Kate Elliott, Founder and Director of Elliott Safety, to hear about her journey and how construction professionals can benefit from introducing positive safety culture amongst their team.

Hi Kate, let’s start with a brief history of your career and how you got into construction safety?

In a previous ‘life’ I was working for BP Oil on the design side. The project we were working on at the time was for the rebrand of all BP service stations nationally.

A vacancy popped up on the project for the position of Safety Coordinator and I, somehow, ended up filling the role. That was 20 years ago and the rest, as they say, is history.

Over the years I’ve held HSE management roles across several tier 1 and 2 construction companies including Hickory, SJ Higgins, and Geotech.

I’ve always worked in construction. I prefer the high-risk environment and fast paced challenges ever present in the construction industry over other sectors such as manufacturing or logistics.

In 2016 I started up Elliott Safety as I saw a need to provide quality safety services to construction companies who could not quite justify the expense of a full-time safety manager. Elliott Safety provides a full suite of safety consultancy services to the construction industry.

The company employs four staff and collectively we have over 60 years’ experience in safety in construction. By industry standards, that’s a really strong knowledge base that our clients can draw from which is one of the key benefits Elliott Safety provides.

What type of work are you doing at Elliott Safety in the current climate?

I’d say, ‘What don’t we do?’ We respond directly to what our clients need at any given time. For example, some clients want us to do safety walks with their site teams rather than completing a long, detailed audit on a single project.  This allows us to cover three, sometimes four projects in a day which is really bang for your buck.

Some clients have us undertake full detailed site audits monthly or quarterly on their projects. We assist with design and project risk assessments. We have a ‘framework’ support set up to assist our clients when there is an incident, completing an investigation and managing any WorkSafe requirements.

We offer inhouse bespoke training for our clients based on what their needs are. We also create management systems for construction companies, whether they want a very basic system or perhaps they may be seeking ISO certification or even Federal Safety Certification.

How do you add value to your clients at Elliott Safety?

Everything we do for our clients is underpinned by the simple notion to remain flexible and responsive so we can adapt to our client’s needs. We believe that’s key to running a SERVICE-based business.

Secondly, we stay on top of the latest industry news, legislation and regulation updates so our clients can rest assured everything they need to know is one call away. With that in mind here are some examples of how we ‘add value’:

  1. We don’t lock our clients in to a contract. With projects always starting and finishing we do our best to make ourselves available on an ‘as needs’ basis.
  2. When a company chooses Elliott Safety they get a telephone resource. If site teams have an issue, they can call us for advice anytime.
  3. If there is a serious incident on site all our clients know a member of the Elliott Safety team will attend immediately to offer assistance.
  4. We are not policemen. We work with your teams and mentor them with a view of continual improvement.
  5. We employ outstanding quality advisors. The Elliott Safety team is made up of experienced safety professionals who have over 60 years’ experience in construction safety.
  6. We have also recently launched a website, that provides editable SWMS’s and safety plan templates to the construction industry. It’s a one-stop shop for site managers and subcontractor foremen. The website features quality documents that can be updated with a company logo and other specific business details and emailed, all within minutes.

What are some ways that a builder can build a positive safety culture amongst their team?

Builders should ensure that their site teams get the support and information they need to manage safety.

Management should always put safety first over program which we know is a real challenge, particularly for smaller companies. In some instances, it’s not yet feasible to have a dedicated safety resource – that’s where we can step in and assist as needed.

Ensuring teams are trained and understand their legal obligations is also very important as you’re raising their level of competency. The provision of safe plant and equipment is also paramount.

What are the core benefits of having a positive safety culture?

There are many benefits that flow on from establishing a positive safety culture:

  1. Naturally, it creates a safer workplace and ensures we all get home to our families.
  2. Employee satisfaction will increase, and employees will stay with you for longer. One of the most common reasons people move on to other companies is because they get little or no support when it comes to managing and resourcing safety.
  3. Tendering and winning work becomes a little easier as the company will have better safety statistics to report.
  4. Cheaper workers compensation premiums because there will be less incidents and injuries.
  5. Less notices from the safety regulator.
  6. Less work stoppages due to incidents.

Final thoughts from Kate Elliott

The team at Elliott Safety are here to add value to all construction businesses regardless of the size or what they do. Our team is amazing at what they do, that’s why we employ them.

Contact Kate and the team at Elliot Safety if construction safety is top of mind for you and your business.

Explore our latest Building People Series for more great insights from leaders in the construction industry.

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