Australia’s largest processor of organic beef and lamb recently celebrated an OHS milestone after it surpassed an entire year injury-free at its West Gosford plant.
Mick Dorahy, chief operating officer of Arcadian Organic and Natural Meat Co., said in a September 10 interview that the plant had now gone 365 days – and counting – without any injuries.
In addition to improving working conditions and operations, Mr Dorahy added that the achievement had “definitely improved staff morale”.
This was because such a feat could only have been attained through a close working relationship with each and every employee, as they played a direct role in setting the goals from the outset.
“We set the first goal at 100 days, we set the next goal at 200 days and obviously when we achieved those we set it at 365 days,” said Mr Dorahy.
“The initiative started simply to give our employees some involvement and some recognition for meeting these goals. We wanted to involve the employees on a very hands-on level.”
Staying true to the family-friendly nature of its operations, the plant celebrated the milestone with a hearty staff barbecue, among other rewards for the employees.
And with the 400-day mark now well in sight, Mr Dorahy is confident that the plant can add another 365 days on top of their accomplishment.
“We’ve achieved one year and we’re hoping to achieve the next year injury-free.”
When asked about how they planned to continue clocking up more and more injury-free days, Mr Dorahy’s answer was clear – to stick with their mindset of placing the employee first.
He explained that the plant had a very transparent and open work environment in which goal-setting began with those most crucial to the business, the workers.
“The entire safety feedback is coming from the ground up from staff and not from the management down to the staff,” he said.
This close working relationship that Arcadian’s family-oriented business engenders is not only limited to within the organisation. Mr Dorahy explained that this mentality extended to their external stakeholders as well, such as their suppliers, enabling them to become the largest organic processor in the country.
“We have a very good relationship with all our organic growers, and that’s one of the reasons we’ve been able to grow,” he said.
“We have a long-term relationship building process that starts from the growers right through to the processor.”
And were their efforts being recognised by the meat-loving public?
Mr Dorahy thinks so – he pointed out that people were becoming more switched on about the numerous benefits of organic and natural meat.
“Consumers are becoming more and more aware of what they’re eating and the effects of eating better and healthier. I think they are becoming more curious as to where their food comes from, what ingredients are in their food,” he said.
“As the awareness grows and as that curiosity grows, they’ll be making smarter and healthier choices towards chemical-free, preservative free and organic options.”