Scafit’s commitment to building strong health and safety culture rewarded with international standard

We spoke to Scafit's co-owner Nicki Crowley to learn more about their recent ISO 45001 certification and their enduring dedication to building a strong health and safety culture.

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Ultimately, Scafit’s Nicki and Dave Crowley want to see all their employees return home safely to their families every day.

That’s why they have invested so much time and resources into building a strong health and safety culture since starting the Manawatū-Whanganui scaffolding business 17 years ago.

“All the time we're trying to improve our systems and make sure everyone gets home at the end of the day safe to their family - that's our main goal,” Nicki said.

Scafit was recently recognised for their commitment to their employees, receiving an ISO 45001 certification for health and safety management from Telarc Limited.

The certification guarantees organisations that their occupational health and safety management systems meet top international standards.

Achieving it is no easy feat. Reportedly only 400 companies in New Zealand have achieved the rigorous standard.

Nicki and Dave employ about 60 staff between their two sites in Palmerston North and Whanganui.

Nicki, who was a nurse before starting Scafit, said her background had taught her the importance of emphasising health and safety.

The couple has been a shining example of this, leading the charge in their company’s health and safety protocols.

But it hasn’t been an easy journey.

After the Crowleys bought the ISO 45001 standards management system, they spent at least a couple of years preparing for the initial four-day audit.

“Even though it added a lot [to] the workload it was really good.  Once completed, we had a clear roadmap of the areas to improve as well as a pat on the back for what we had achieved.”

Nicki said doing the demanding standard had played a vital role in making sure their Health and Safety management plan was “totally robust”, was well-suited to Scafit, and that they have safety goals to work towards.

“We've just redone our [goals] for next year and it was really exciting to see some of our weaknesses move into our strengths and we do it as a management group and that's been instrumental.

“We may not have had such a robust document had we not done the ISO 45001 and we're having to prove we're doing this all year.”

She said the ISO 45001 audit had created more accountability from Scafit’s advisory board and increased their involvement with their health and safety measures.

This meant being more informative to the board about "what is going on health and safety-wise,” Nicki said. 

“It’s making the [team] sit up straighter and go, 'oh we need to really take this onboard’,” she said.   

Nicki and Dave have since presented what they have been implementing in the health and safety space to the board and their employees.

This gives them a better understanding of their job and the risks associated with it, Nicki said.

“We've done it ourselves. We haven't employed anybody to help us. I think that means you live it [and] it becomes very ingrained in what you do and it’s not just about ticking the compliance box.

“[It’s also giving them] a better understanding of the importance of the ISO and why we've done it. It’s to get them home safe at the end of the day but also so we all have a job, our business is sustainable, and [we’re] reducing our risks.”

The Crowleys have also completed their B Corp certification to further prove their commitment to strengthening their workplace health and safety and improving their company culture.

This standard measures all the company’s areas of governance, workers, environment, community and customers. It also focuses on “businesses for good” and improving “soft skills” such as looking after employees’ emotional and mental wellbeing.

As a part of this, Nicki and Dave offer their team benefits such as life-and-trauma insurance, access to physios, osteopaths, psychologists and all-day breakfasts.

Nicki said being able to offer such a variety of support to her staff was “rewarding” and helped build trust and a strong culture within the company.  

Nicki’s father used to always quote, ‘treat others as you want to be treated’. This has been a guiding principle that has helped form Scafit’s values, she said.

“We are so proud of our staff and how they have all embraced both the ISO45501 and B-corp.”

They’ve also been heavily involved with Site Safe throughout the years, getting their workers to complete many of our health and safety training courses and receiving advice from our Palmerston North-based Health and Safety Advisor Tony Greeve.

"Tony's been great. I can ring him up and he's always an ear on the end [of the phone] and I can ask him questions. He’s been really good and does a lot of training for our staff so we find that really useful.”

“Tony was also great at encouraging us to do the ISO 45001 and really helpful in reviewing the whole ISO document with us to get us on track.”

Tony said Nicki and Dave are exemplary in both their approach to health and safety and how they treat their staff.

He felt they were exceptional at organising safety courses for their team and responding to any safety feedback from site reviews throughout the years.

“Nicki and Dave are setting a great example of what excellent health and safety practice looks like. I would like to congratulate them on their ISO 45001 certification which is fitting recognition for the many years they have dedicated to improving health and safety in the workplace.”

“We've done it ourselves. We haven't employed anybody to help us. I think that means you live it [and] it becomes very ingrained in what you do and it’s not just about ticking the compliance box."

Nicki Crowley - Scafit co-owner

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