This client applied for the role of Transport Inspector within a state (QLD) government department. A total of 96 candidates applied; 15 were shortlisted and chosen for the interview phase including my client. The written application involved the preparation of a three page statement in cover letter format addressing six criteria. Following are excerpts from three of the criteria.

Demonstrated competence in undertaking and supervising complex and sensitive audits, vehicle inspections and investigations.

XXX Pty Ltd operates on several wash pads offering a range of cargo cleaning and quarantine services. In my role as WH&S Advisor, from an auditing standpoint, I conduct weekly H&S (‘housekeeping’ audits) using a standardised checklist I developed. Specifically, I audit the work area ensuring continued compliance with Class One Depot maintenance requirements; I check for hazards and observe the safe work methods undertaken by staff. Observing and speaking with staff can be a sensitive issue as they often feel targeted due to believing they have done something wrong with punitive actions to follow. To gain their cooperation and trust, I take a friendly approach and reassure staff members that my primary objective is ensure they understand how to undertake the task safely and that is it for their benefit. I also take on board their comments. As a result, staff welcome my observations and discussions with them; they are at ease, and my audits have progressed smoothly and effectively. Complex audits are undertaken bi-annually and involve an in-depth review of safe working procedures and H&S policy to ensure compliance. At present, the entire workplace is undergoing a ‘harmonisation’ process in relation to H&S legislation. With national legislation introduced in 2012 (Work Health and Safety Act 2011), the Act is continually being modified and updated with new codes of practice and amendments. I ensure policies and procedures reflect current legislation when conducting audits and standard day-to-day tasks; management have praised my efforts in this regard.

Problem Solving and Innovation.

Working at heights is a huge issue in my current workplace due to a high number of deaths that occur. When I first joined XXX Pty Ltd, I immediately identified an issue with the existing policy/procedure (specifically, a lack of equipment), and that the procedure itself was not being followed. Legislative changes implemented in 2012 led to a change in obligation in the provision for fall protection. With regard to procuring suitable equipment, the majority of off-the-shelf products were not suitable for the company’s applications. I conferred with the company’s Director and explained the need to provide more suitable equipment to prevent falls from occurring at heights. I stressed the need to branch out and source equipment that was more suitable for the site. On his approval to do so, I researched various products on height safety via the Internet, attended expositions, and networked with external H&S stakeholders. Once equipment was sourced, I then organised and led toolbox meetings to consult with team members on what they thought of the new equipment and in utilising it. I took on board their feedback, and procured and implemented necessary new equipment. I also organised and delivered training on the safe use of the new equipment, and rewrote procedures and policies in this regard. Since the implementation of new equipment in 2011, the company has continually recorded nil fall injuries or near misses. Furthermore, when auditing of the equipment took place by an external body, they expressed their satisfaction with the standards, and I received formal commendation for problem solving skills and initiative from both the company’s Director and the auditing company.

Communicates with Influence.

My communication style when dealing with team members is open, expressive, honest and diplomatic. Dependent on the situation and the team member I am dealing with (in one-on-one situations), I modify and use different strategies (in a subtle manner) to persuade. A persuasive tactic I use involves actively listening and acknowledging not just my understanding of, but the importance of each team member’s input during discussions. For example, I recently needed to persuade/influence team members to use a particular piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) – fall protection harness. Several of the team members were hesitant in using this PPE. I approached these team members both individually and in an informal setting with the primary objective of bringing about awareness of the importance of using the harness. During my conversation with each of them, I talked with them (not to/at them), and I used the same terminology/jargon they while speaking. I asked each one of them why they had concerns using the harness, outlined the potential (new) hazards that could result by them not using the harness, and I relayed real-life scenarios of injuries that had occurred to workers at other companies due to not using the harness. From discussion, I identified that their hesitation was due to not having had a solid understanding of how the harness could facilitate safer work practices. I provided this new awareness by communicating effectively; as a result, each team member’s mind set changed and they commenced using the harness as needed.

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Cheers,

Annie Cerone