Waikato and Bay of Plenty Suspended Ceiling Services

When a business grows rapidly, keeping up health and safety standards can be difficult. We speak to Waikato and Bay of Plenty Suspended Ceiling Services’ Health and Safety Manager Billy Cummins about how maintaining a family ethos helped them take out the ACC Workplace Safety prize at this year’s Tauranga Business Awards.

Originally a small family business, the business now has offices in both Hamilton and Tauranga, and has expanded to a team of over 100 who now take on some of the area’s biggest interior fit-out projects.

According to Billy, the secret to the company’s recent success was living their core values: fairness, honesty, timeliness, taking pride in your work and being polite.

With the company doubling in size in recent years, it has been a challenge to always maintain those values, but there has been a “massive effort to keep that family ethos in place," Billy says.

“I can say, hand on heart, that I’ve never worked for a better company, or a company with such a strong health and safety ethos and culture, even in the UK. It’s a great company to work for - the atmosphere is always good and the owners always make themselves available. They are always there with sound and experienced advice.

“Health and safety is backed by management 200 per cent. Their enthusiasm to send our lads home every night really goes above and beyond.”

Billy also attributes the company’s recent success to a range of initiatives they have implemented, including:

  • An extensive on boarding and training programme which includes manual handling, PPE, working at height, MEWP and scaffold training
  • Investment in better PPE
  • A strong focus on health-related risks
  • About 15 site audits every month
  • 6 monthly health checks/monitoring with a nurse
  • Anonymous feedback box for suggestions from the team
  • Health and safety as the first item on board meetings
  • Rewriting of all health and safety policies
  • In-person recruitment of Filipino staff to ensure best fit for role and understanding of health and safety
  • Purchasing equipment for inhouse base-line health monitoring

Billy says they couldn’t have done it all without the support of their local Site Safe Advisor, Chris Graney.

“Chris has been an absolute inspiration – an oracle of information. I’ll call him in tricky situations and he’ll always get back to me. His advice has been invaluable during our journey, and he’s been instrumental in that. He’s always available and makes the time. He’s been a source of encouragement, wisdom and support.”

As well as leading them to success at the awards, Billy says there have definitely been other benefits to their focus on health and safety.

“Our team are very loyal and never leave to work for our competitors – turnover is really low and our accident rate has decreased. We’re also being recognised by some of the main contractors as a leader in health and safety, with some of the big players even looking to us for health and safety ideas!”

“Health and safety is backed by management 200 per cent. Their enthusiasm to send our lads home every night really goes above and beyond.”

Health and Safety Manager Billy Cummins

picture of award on site

picture of team with award