Managing subcontractors can be challenging for short-term project works and finding suitable contractors to execute projects in remote locations with first-class safety statistics, management systems, and training capabilities is seldom achievable.
Liberty Industrial is currently experiencing considerable growth. Some projects require larger numbers of subcontractors to complete a range of – and sometimes highly specialised or complex – work on site. In 2021, Liberty Industrial had approximately one thousand subcontractors working on project sites across Australia. This number will continue to increase through to the end of 2022.
As a business, we place immense value on supporting our subcontractor partners, particularly when it comes to the continual improvement of processes that reinforce our zero-harm policy. In response, Liberty Industrial recently conducted a comprehensive review of our subcontractor management procedures to allow us to work with a variety of subcontractors and achieve success on all project sites.
Borne from this process was the ‘Subby Buddy’, an initiative designed to prevent serious and minor subcontractor incidents and allow our project teams to work more cooperatively and collaboratively with our subcontractor partners who have been identified as high-risk.
What is a ‘Subby Buddy’?
- A trained Liberty Industrial site worker who is responsible for facilitating improved supervision of work (via increased Behavioural Observations) that is being completed by subcontractors. The ‘Subby Buddy’ is required to advise them on Liberty Industrial procedures and has the authority to stop work (if required) and contact the Site Supervisor to attend to the work area.
- The ‘Subby Buddy’ ensures the Site Supervisor and HSEQ Supervisor are relieved from subcontractor supervision.
After its successful implementation at the Port Kembla Gas Terminal Early Works project in 2021, the ‘Subby Buddy’ initiative was rolled out across other Liberty Industrial project sites around Australia over several months.
Implementation of our improved subcontractor management systems has resulted in an 80% decrease in subcontractor safety incidents this year compared to the last six months of 2021. We have had zero subcontractor incidents on all our projects where the ‘Subby Buddy’ system was implemented, and zero incidents for truck drivers since these initiatives were rolled out around the country.
The implementation of the ‘Subby Buddy’ system has not only resulted in improved safety of our subcontractor partners but has also offered an opportunity for our more experienced Liberty Industrial workers to take the first step towards career advancement and a Leading Hand role.
One of the long-term company objectives for Liberty Industrial is to ensure demolition is a viable career opportunity. Ensuring there is a clear path for our workers to advance into supervisory roles, in combination with the appropriate training and support, is a responsibility we take very seriously. The ‘Subby Buddy’ role has also successfully worked together with mentoring new employees onsite.
More broadly, the reduced safety incidents on our project sites have a real benefit to our local community by decreasing the effect of serious injuries to members of these communities.
Workplace injuries not only impact the worker but also their family and the community they belong to. Keeping people safe on our project sites extends benefits to the local community.
The ‘Subby Buddy’ system is also designed to improve the safety procedures of local subcontractors, who may require improvement, or better alignment, of their systems and processes. Returning a subcontractor to their local community with better health and safety knowledge will inevitably benefit not only the community but the industry as a collective.
Liberty Industrial’s Subcontractor Improvement Plan and ‘Subby Buddy’ initiative were shortlisted in the Safety & Training category at the 2022 World Demolition Awards.
The World Demolition Awards are part of the World Demolition Summit (WDS). The WDS is organised by Demolition & Recycling International alongside the European Demolition Association and the National Demolition Association of the USA.