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Construction can be dangerous. From working at heights, to operating plant and equipment, and using power tools, one look at your Project Hazard Register should tell you just how dangerous it can be.

Manteena’s commitment to creating the safest construction sites possible, and mitigating risks ranging from projects such as office refurbishments, through to complex works on Christmas Island and across the Pacific has been a task HSEQ Manager Anthony Hughes (Hughesy) has been involved in since 2008.

As a former Carpenter, Hughesy is very familiar with the cuts, broken bones, minor electrocutions and more severe injuries that come from unsafe construction sites. This awareness and appreciation for the requirement of safe working environments is what inevitably led him to a career in Safety.

So, why safety?

I love construction so being able to be on different sites every day and around different projects makes my job really enjoyable.

As for safety specifically, I have always found it interesting and it’s always changing. Over the years I would say I have been able to inject my own personality into the way we adopt safety on our sites and that has been rewarding.

How would you explain safety?

It’s just problem solving. You work through the methodologies, identify the potential problems (risks/hazards) and find a way to ensure a safe outcome.

We aim to eliminate any risks or hazards we can, and reduce the likelihood of those we can’t eliminate completely. It protects those working on site and anyone who may be in the area at any given time.

What is the Manteena approach to safety like?

We have a unique approach to safety. We like to collaborate with our subcontractors to reduce risks rather than just enforcing safety requirements when they arrive on site. If we think something needs to be worked through, our project and safety teams work directly with those subcontractors and clients to ensure the safe outcome rather than just saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in regard to their solution or documentation.

Overall, I think we are very honest with safety. Sometimes it means our trades assume we are being hard on them when it comes to safety but it has led to a very good safety record overall and we are proud to maintain that.

Through our ISO and OFSC accreditation we have every accreditation needed to complete any job and that allows our teams and clients to be confident we can deliver the work from a safety point of view.

What would you tell anyone considering a job in safety?

Safety officers seem to be becoming rarer and that is disappointing. I think it is a great career path with a wealth of opportunity. Doing things safely is harder so being able to work with project teams and trades to come up with solutions to ensure safe outcomes while still delivering a high quality project on time is really rewarding. No two days are ever the same and you will rarely be bored in your career!

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