Case study:
Portland Aluminium Safety League: Safety League Reduces Injuries, Increases Community Engagement
 
While professional athletes are battling it out in the Australian Football League from February through September each year, employees at the Portland Aluminium smelter in Victoria, are competing in the Portland Aluminium Safety League (PASL)—a unique program to reduce injuries and increase community engagement.
 
Based on an employee suggestion, the PASL has teams of employees and contractors throughout the smelter earning points for health- and safety-oriented activities.
 
The team with the most points at the end of the “season” is crowned champion and earns $5,000 for a local charity, with the remaining teams earning at least $1,000 for their charities. A total of $23,000 will be donated at the end of the 2009 season.
 
“I think the PASL has made people more conscious about safety,” said Maryanne Galloway, a health and safety representative who served as captain of the Potroom Lions during the 2008 season.
 
“There’s a greater awareness to be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary. For me, being involved in the program increased my interest in safety. I was a potroom operator when I served as team captain, and I decided to apply for my current position because of that interest,” she said.
 
Each team selects its own name based on the name of a team in the AFL and team captains are in charge of tallying the points earned each month and serving as the communication link with the smelter’s safety team. Coaches, who are the managers in the area, provide support. A tribunal ensures the rules are followed.
 
The teams also choose the charity that will receive their donation. Charity representatives meet with their respective team at the start of the season, helping build relationships between the employees and the community.
 
During the season, team members can score individual points and goals—worth six points—for more than 40 predetermined activities. For example, an employee can score a goal for each kilogram of weight lost and a point for attending a crew safety meeting. A goal is earned for every risk controlled, and a healthy lunch brought from home equals a point.
 
The increase in safety awareness and activity has not only engaged employees, but also helped Portland Aluminium reduce its lost workday rate from 0.5 in 2007 to 0.0 for 2008—the first year for the safety league. The smelter’s total recordable rate also declined from 3.69 to 3.19 during the same period.





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PASL 2009 program launch




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The Portland Aluminium Safety League successfully improved employee safety recognition and performance while contributing vital funds to the community – Here Stuart Richardson captain of the Switchyard Demon’s winning team presents his team’s winnings to the Portland branch of the Cancer Council of Victoria.