Develop, implement and maintain WHS management systems
Simulated workplace scenario – Pitstop Pty LtdPitstop is a privately owned company that until recently operated one independent service station in Melbourne’s north. The owner, chairman and CEO, Jim Murphy, has run the company for the past five years. He has operated service stations for most of the last 25 years and relies on his hands-on approach to monitor and instruct staff on what to do. In the past eight months, Pitstop has raised sufficient finance to buy out the Independent Service Station (ISS) chain of nine stores across Victoria, NSW and Queensland and rebrand them all as Pitstop. Jim plans to continue the expansion until the optimum target of 30 service stations is secured for the Victoria, NSW and Queensland market.Pitstop service stations trade 24 hours. They typically include a vehicle access forecourt with at least six pump stations, a retail shop, a food bar, Store Manager’s office and stockroom. They sell fuel, oil, gas, supermarket goods, hot pies (heated from frozen on the premises) and cold drinks. Including the retained staff from the ISS buyout stores, Pitstop has a workforce of approximately 60 employees. The employees come from a wide range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. A significant proportion has poor English literacy, including poor reading comprehension. Most employees, but not all, have a high-school level of education.All stores have computerised point-of-sale terminals that are linked to the company’s enterprise resource planning and accounting systems. The flagship store has an attached office space that accommodates the directors and senior management staff. ● Victoria: Craigieburn Bendigo Shepparton Wodonga ● NSW: Ballina Wagga Wagga Wollongong ● Qld: Coolangatta Ipswich ToowoombaBackground to WHSMSYou have been employed by Pitstop as the General Manager – Retail. You have been asked to design and develop a WHS Management System (WHSMS) to manage WHS for Pitstop as one of your initial tasks.
In the employment interview, Jim explained that:Pitstop has just gone through a tremendous transformation, from a single hands-on operation to a multi-store enterprise with plans to triple in size in the next five years. The board of directors has made me acutely aware that we can’t manage the present and future operations the way I have in the past. We want you to design and develop a WHSMS, as far as is practicable, to ensure a workplace that is safe and without risks to the health of our employees, customers, suppliers and visitors to the sites. You may need to create or rewrite organisational policies as well as devise training schemes, implement changes and develop reports. I don’t want to pressure you, but it is imperative that this WHSMS be in place in four months time when we meet with all key stakeholders of Pitstop. When I managed the single store we never had the injuries and time off work that we are having at the moment. I was always very careful to tell my staff how to work safely and made sure any potential hazards were dealt with before they caused injury. But I can’t be in ten places at once. We need a system that can be effectively implemented and monitored without me having to be there. Absenteeism has gone up and I believe that it is caused by low staff morale connected to work health and safety. I believe that work should be a happy place because a happy workplace is a productive one. Also, it tends to cultivate long-term employees.After the interview, Jim introduced you to key investor and board member, Alan Harvey who explained that he leaves Jim to worry about the company operations while he concentrates on strategic planning. Alan said:With our expansion plans we have to be very concerned about our brand image. We can’t afford to have it tarnished by bad press concerning the way we care for our sites. We handle a lot of hazardous substances in our service stations, and the board takes the legal responsibilities we have as company directors in regard to WHS very seriously. In developing the WHSMS, make sure you consult with and include the board.Alan asked you about the way you intend to go about setting up the WHSMS for Pitstop and whether you will be needing any help in achieving the task by the due date. Your response was that you had been involved the rollout of a similar program with Australian Petroleum. You had used WHS consultants in areas where the company management required additional expertise. You also used the National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA) to train the managers about WHS responsibilities and obligations. You think NSCA may also be useful for training the Pitstop Store Managers on WHS compliance as would St John’s Ambulance in certifying all managers with first aid competency. Alan noted that, in the interest of efficiency, it would be a good idea to integrate existing management systems with the new WHSMS. This may involve adapting policies from other management systems at Pitstop or those legacy policies retained from the ISS buyout stores. Alan went on to say:This is a critical area for our short-term and long-term future. We don’t want to set a budget, but would rather you come back to us with recommendations on the resources required to do the WHSMS right.