When it comes to promoting safety in the workplace, it’s important that leadership commits to not only talking the talk, but also walking the walk. This is the belief of our 2019 WHS Champion of the Year, Tony Melia.

Tony Melia is responsible for all operational aspects of the Alspec Newcastle Branch. This includes direct management of 15 warehouse staff and a broader workplace health and safety influence on an additional 13 office and sales staff.

His day-to-day activities range from inspections and toolbox talks to risk assessments. While compliance tasks are undertaken in a timely manner, the risk management activities ensure that associated risks in the branch’s operations are eliminated as far as reasonably practicable.

Tony has led the branch, supported by his Branch Manager for Newcastle Scott Sherry, in implementing an active safety committee with representatives from the various areas of the business. They regularly introduce new strategies and initiatives to promote safety in their workplace.

One of the ways Tony drives safety is through giving his team ownership.

“Allowing the team to be involved in all aspects of safety and promoting new technology with our software program ‘Donesafe’ gets them to assist in managing our safety on and off site,” Tony said. 

“We also invest in our team with both internal and external training – this could be in the form of load restraint training, overhead crane training, to manual handling,” Tony continued.

We asked Tony to share some advice for other organisations in the industry.

“Just because it’s the way you have always done a task, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the safest or industry best practice,” Tony said.

“So, we always make sure we review, monitor and implement.”

“Have your team involved in the process, think outside the square and set new standards for others to follow.”

Humbled and honoured to be the winner of the 2019 WHS Champion of the Year, Tony attributed his success to hard work from his whole team.

“Winning was an amazing feeling and it was  a privilege to be recognised in such great company,” Tony said.

“But in saying that, it has taken a lot of hard work from our whole team to get to where we are today, including strong leadership and encouragement from the team, as well as our National HSE manager.”

“It takes more than a half back to win a game of rugby league, so I’d like to say a big thank you to all of my team.”