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Charity wins workplace safety award


Charity wins workplace safety award

Presbyterian Support Upper South Island has won the ACC Workplace Safety Award at the 2010 Champion Canterbury awards. The award recognises businesses that have developed exemplary workplace safety systems and procedures.

“Our success at the awards reflects the way our approach supports us to deliver safe, innovative and effective social services. It is also shows how we look after each other in the workplace,” says Chief Executive Vaughan Milner.

He acknowledges the work of Health, Safety and Quality Manager, Anne-Marie Moore, and workplace representatives in achieving the award.

“Being successful at the Champion Canterbury awards raises our profile with the business community, creates opportunities to attract financial support, and also increases awareness of social issues. This provides another pathway to increase community connectedness and draw a broader group into our work.”

A registered charity, for over 100 years Presbyterian Support has worked in the upper South Island for a just and inclusive society, helping children and families to flourish, and frail older people to live meaningful lives.

Presbyterian Support’s Family Works services for children, young people and families range from community social work, counselling and parenting support to youth and family mentoring, group learning programmes, mental health support, and Holly House for at-risk young mothers and their babies.

Enliven positive ageing programmes assist frail older people to live at home and maintain links with the community through counselling and social work, day activity programmes (including some for people with memory loss), home support and falls prevention.

“Our business is about wellbeing – not just in society but also within our organisation,” says Vaughan Milner. “The clients drive our common goal to provide a valued and effective service, which in turn has led to staff and management working together to develop health, safety and quality systems which can be utilised by everyone, whether they are in an office, on the road or working from home. This gives everyone a voice and provides valuable ideas from clients, staff and volunteers, which lead to greater efficiency, happier workers, and a higher level of client satisfaction.”

Presbyterian Support continues to excel in all health and safety audits. Regular hazard checks take place on all sites and in clients’ homes, keeping not only the worker, but also the clients and their families safer in the community.

Other initiatives include offering staff free influenza vaccinations, supplying free bicycle safety kits to encourage safe exercise, hiring external manual-handling trainers, and training a high ratio of workers (staff and volunteers) in first aid. The development and implementation of a Pandemic Plan has significantly minimised the risk to both workers and clients, and in addition reduced employee sick leave by 7 per cent.

“We also believe it is important to look at the bigger picture,” Vaughan Milner says. “We are constantly looking at wellbeing initiatives to reduce staff stress. The development of our Family Leave policy gives employees 20 hours pro rata additional paid leave each year to spend time with their families. We also provide free employee counselling, internal, external and cultural supervision, a time-off-in-lieu policy, and a flexible working from home policy. These improvements help staff to balance their home and family life, as well as increasing staff retention and pride in our organisation.”


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