STAR Awards 2018 Winners

In 2018, our STAR Awards Gala Dinner took place on the evening of 15 November 2018, at The Playhouse Theatre in Hamilton.

Our panel of independent judges had a pool of 56 nominations from which to choose finalists across six categories.

Congratulations to the 2018 STAR Awards winners!


1.Safety Innovation/Design Award

Best safety innovation or design


Working at height means tower painters face high consequence risks every day. Fitzroy Engineering’s Scott McMahon identified an opportunity to eliminate two tower painting hazards – the risk of a falling object and a hazardous substance spill.

Traditionally, paint tins have been attached to tower painters’ harnesses by their wire handle– a system that can fail as the painter moves around the tower and the handle becomes detached.

‘Scotty’s Cradle’ is a simple but elegant product that securely holds the paint tin in place, with load-rated webbing, wire rope, fasteners and carabiners.

What started as a prototype in Scotty’s garage is now a certified product that is being used across Fitzroy’s operations and the wider tower painting network. A simple design that’s making a big, potentially life-saving difference and putting the maintenance sector of the industry on the innovation map.


2.Wellbeing Initiative Award

Best initiative impacting worker wellbeing

Protecting Workers from Life-Changing Health Risks, CAKE COMMERICAL SERVICES

Cake Commercial Services wanted to address two workplace wellbeing issues with potentially serious long-term effects – the risks of exposure to continuous noise and inhalation of airborne contaminates from regular use of blasting gear.

External testing by environmental scientists provided them with the data needed to assess the risks and make an appropriate plan of action to combat them.

They were driven to adopt new controls and systems and challenge the status quo. After consulting with their people, they worked with manufacturers to customise new hearing protection and added respirators to their essential PPE kit. An education campaign helped change attitudes towards equipment that had traditionally been seen to complicate an already very difficult task.

Cake’s forward-thinking initiative is improving the wellbeing of its people, keeping them safe from work-related health risks, today and into the future.


3.Future of Safety Award

A trainee or apprentice (under two years in the electricity industry at the time of nomination) who demonstrates outstanding commitment to health and safety in their workplace.

Andrew Schurgers, ELECTRIX

Apprentice Andrew Schurgers showed true strength of character and commitment to safety while working on a critical job, under big time pressures.

Andrew was replacing reactors on the HVDC Pole 3 outage, carrying out a complex task 20 metres off the ground in hot conditions, when he resisted efforts to limit the number of drink breaks just to get the job done quickly. He was empowered to say ‘no’ if he ever felt uncomfortable or unsafe, and his actions show a deep understanding of the need to take the safest path, not the fastest path.

In his two years as an apprentice, Andrew has already proved himself to be a ‘safe pair of hands’. He is a fast learner who is well organised, shows initiative and is considered one of Electrix’s rising stars.


4.Safety Leadership Award

Individual showing outstanding initiative and leadership in safety in the workplace.

Dr Kirstine Hulse, NORTHPOWER

Dr Kirstine Hulse sees safety as something that should be a shared value, with people and strong leadership at its core.

As Group People, Performance and Safety Culture Manager, Kirstine has driven the strategic direction in these areas for Northpower. She has developed a modern, engagement-driven health and safety programme with new systems and reporting tools that manage data more effectively, for the business and customers alike.

Kirstine has revolutionised the company’s approach to training through the introduction of microlearning technology and implemented psychology programmes and workshops. She has generated a respectful and supportive culture to improve the physical, mental and emotional resilience of staff.

Kirstine has brought about positive change through innovative thought leadership. The impacts of these changes are far-reaching and enduring, making a real difference to her organisation by enabling a safer community for its people, customers and stakeholders.


5.Team Safety Award

Team best representing our industry safety values.

ABB PGGI Islington team, ABB

A solid commitment to identifying and implementing better safety practices has kept ABB’s Islington-based team accident-free this year.

The team, which refurbishes transformers in the South Island for Transpower and carries out site work in substations, has seen a huge improvement in safety, due in part to creating an environment that encourages its workers to actively look for ways to make the job safer. They have a goal at team gatherings of suggesting two improvements each. Some ideas that have been implemented include retractable hoses to avoid trip hazards, adjustable tables and ladders to reduce the risk of strains, and switching to lighter slings, hoses and oil pumps that are more appropriate for the job.

Using judgement is also crucial. For example, when extreme weather at Kikiwa left ice on top of the transformer, the team suspended their outage works until the ice had melted. A strong judgement call, that was supported by Transpower.


6.Supreme Award for Safety Culture

Best initiative delivering improvement to workplace safety culture in an organisation.

Rising to the Challenge: An Engagement Journey, NORTHPOWER

Northpower knows that staff engagement, wellbeing, culture and safety performance go hand in hand.

Realising its messages had been mostly ‘top down’ and were not always connecting with workers effectively, Northpower decided to change its culture of engagement. It looked for new methods to get its people more involved and strengthen safety culture and leadership.

A series of workshops saw staff agree on four core behaviours for the business – Safety, Team, Trust and Accountability – and a new app was implemented as an avenue for staff to share stories on the behaviours in action and health and safety. More than 300 stories have been shared to date. A Frontline Leaders’ Safety Programme was set up to develop supervisors’ skills and empower them to reinforce good safety practice. Meanwhile, a newly developed microlearning platform is set to add another layer of understanding in staff health and safety training.

Northpower’s initiatives are changing the company’s culture and show a commitment to engaging all its workers, from the frontline up.