Safety League Reduces Injuries, Increases
While professional athletes are battling it out in the Australian
Football League from February through September each year, employees at Alcoa’s
smelter in Portland, Australia, are competing in the Portland Aluminium Safety
League (PASL)—a unique program to reduce injuries and increase community
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 A$5,000 (US$3,230) for a local charity,
with the remaining teams earning at least A$1,000 (US$645) for their charities.
A total of A$23,000 (US$14,870) 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
Each team selects its own name based on the name of a team in
the Australia Football League. 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
determine 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.
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 (2.2 pounds) 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. Points can also be scored for reviewing
standard work instructions or reporting injury-free events.
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