AHRI Forum – Disruptive Safety Wrap-up

AHRI Forum – Disruptive Safety Wrap-up

Late last month our AHRI Health, Safety and Wellbeing forum welcomed Alice Stanish, Acting General Manager Safety and Risk Assurance at The Star Entertainment Group to share lessons on disruptive safety: how to successfully implement WHS change programs in a 24/7 live entertainment environment.

As an ASX 100 listed company, The Star employs over 8,000 staff at four sites: Sydney, Gold Coast (x2) and Brisbane. The Star presented a case study on its journey to improve safety and efficiency across all divisions while it undergoes numerous large-scale capital works and redevelopment projects, including the $3 billion Queen’s Wharf Brisbane Redevelopment.

The Star’s Safety team faced challenges with its legacy contractor management system at the same time as the large development projects were in their planning phases. It was essential for The Star to overhaul and standardise its approach to contractor safety management, not just for daily operations, but to accommodate the influx of building contractors working in and around its premium gaming and entertainment venues.

The Star shared its journey to address the contractor management challenges it faced including the:

  • Diverse use of contractors across the business (construction, contingent hire, labour hire, events & entertainment)
  • Different inductions processes at each property, including VHS videos
  • Lack of a consistent approach of managing who was inducted (Sydney alone had over 15 registers of names)
  • Varying content across the sites which at times didn’t align with Group policies.

After a detailed IT vendor evaluation, a partner was selected to implement an IT-based contractor safety management system.


What were the implementation challenges?

  • Each property had varying levels of departmental influence and interest and this was overlooked in the change management plan
  • The four properties had different processes, which resulted in a lack of awareness that the change management process would need to be different at each property
  • Underestimation of the level of involvement for the safety team to ensure success
  • Trying to make the solution be a silver bullet for managing contractor safety in general – rather than sticking to the KISS principle
  • Lack of awareness of the existing internal IT processes i.e. security, infrastructure and the requirements for the new contractor safety management system to be compliant
  • Organisational (people) changes impacted on the project delivery


A long journey indeed, but what was achieved?

  • Centralised point for maintaining contractor and visitor information
  • Consistent induction content across the business and the ability to complete inductions prior to coming on site
  • Real time visibility of who is on site at any time
  • More efficient processing and on-boarding of contractors saving time and project costs
  • Improved ability to manage contractor performance and enhance the guest experience


Scott Paine, AHRI Network Convenor, summarised the insights from implementing a successful contractor safety program in a live environment:

  1. Before starting an organisation-wide WHS change project it is essential to clearly define the project scope and develop a detailed project plan AND change management plan.Identify and consider stakeholder expectations and address these.
  2. When evaluating IT vendors clearly articulate your contractor safety management system, elements you intend to automate, and also visit a customer to experience a real-life system and implementation challenges you can learn from. Start with the basics, but ensure your selected IT vendor can increase automation when your organisation is ready for another change project.
  3. Secure leadership buy-in up front, and ensure leaders across the business are briefed, engaged correctly and help provide authority for the changes to business operations your project is trying to achieve.
  4. Define roles and responsibilities clearly, and for large change projects dedicate resource(s) to drive the project forward and tackle resistance.
  5. Always consider variations in how different sites perform the same tasks. This is particularly important for devolved organisations and those acquisitions that are now part of a larger group under the same brand.
  6. Move on from thinking about safety as just a compliance role. A contractor safety management system will have a significant impact on business operations and the contractors that help run a complex organisation. Focus on the user experience and how best to provide internal and external service delivery that improves safety and efficiency.
  7. Manage expectations and communicate communicate communicate. Virtually no change project is without friction, mistakes and resistance. Creating open, transparent communication channels with affected parties will help to smooth out the bumps.


Following the presentation, Work Science did some quick polling of participants:

  • 83% of attendees said their organisation tends to do WHS change management projects ‘okay’ or ‘not well’, indicating there is considerable room to improve results in this area
  • When asked which change management elements are deficient in their organisation’s WHS projects, the most common responses were:
    • Tackling resistance (67% of all respondents)
    • Proactive implementation (56% of all respondents)
    • Communication (50% of all respondents)
    • Planning (44% of all respondents)
    • Other (6% of all respondents)
    • Nothing (0% of all respondents)
  • 56% of attendees are in the process of upgrading their contractor management system, while 17% are still operating a mostly manual system. Interestingly no attendees said their contactor management system was doing ‘very well’, indicating there is still work to integrate and embed IT contractor systems in many organisations
  • When asked whether their organisation had incorporated safety into business operations there was a broad spread of answers. Most (61%) said ‘somewhat’ and were working towards a more integrated approach. Responses could be most easily segmented into corporate attendees and those from high risk industries, with the later far more likely to have an integrated approach to operational safety


There are a number of high quality contractor safety management IT systems on the market that are suitable for varying organisation sizes, operations and budgets. Cutting through the sales hype and evaluating the best fit can be a challenge.

If you are interested in more information send me an email at [email protected].