Kal Tire Australia invests in the people who inspire its safety vision with team members on the front lines
There’s no two ways about it: Handling earthmover-size tyres and wheels involves risk. When it comes to managing critical risk, and team member safety, the roles of the site team leader, site team member and the senior managers are well documented. However, the value of the middle management roles should not be understated. It’s the people in the middle, spreading a relentless and passionate pursuit of true safety.
That’s how Davin Faux, Head of Safety, Kal Tire Australia, describes safety leadership team members who travel from site to site within a region, striving to turn procedures, policies and training into behaviours and belief.
“It’s our leadership team members who really nurture our vision for safety. They have this incredible enthusiasm for what they do and we’re starting to see that when we have the right people in those roles, there’s a big correlation between strong safety results and overall contract performance, productivity and efficiency.”
Since these leaders visit various sites and teams (almost 250 Kal Tire Australia team members serve more than 20 mines in regions such as the Pilbara, Hunter Valley, the Bowen Basin and more), they’re also less susceptible to inadvertently pass by things that have been missed.
Interaction between the leadership team and the team members performing the tasks is also seen to be a critical part of the process. The ‘6 Observable’ program is a set of 6 questions aimed at discussing the 6 key major risks for the area in question and an engaging discussion occurs to help reinforce awareness of the risks associated with the tasks.
“You can do very well today but if you take your eye off the ball tomorrow, everything is undone. Our safety leaders also believe in the end game and the targets we set, and they have the right tools in the toolbox to make it all happen.”
Loch Bennett (pictured) is one of Kal Tire’s Regional Managers who is passionate about safety and has helped entrench this belief into his teams. One of his teams recently celebrated 18 years LTI free.
Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group is an international leader in mining tyre service and supply with a solid architecture for safety. Journey to Zero, one component of the architecture, is a behaviour-based approach towards zero injuries—everywhere, every day, always.
“You can have the best processes, tooling and facilities, but it’s all about the application of all of those parts of the puzzle,” says Faux, adding Journey to Zero has steered Kal Tire as it focuses both on critical and non-critical risk management. Kal Tire Australia has continued to reduce its Total Reportable Injury Frequency Rates (TRIFR) for the last three years.
“It’s all part of moving along the safety maturity curve from compliance-based safety to a belief system.”
Kal Tire also takes care to ensure customers’ safety values align, especially as it seeks out and even develops new tools designed to improve safety and productivity. For example, through its Innovation Centre, they have invested in technology that allows team members to deflate earthmover tyres safely, remotely and at an accelerated rate. At a world-class, large scale iron ore mine in Australia, a customer has engaged with Kal Tire to trial the use of its Gravity Assist System—a completely mechanical arm that safely and weightlessly maneuvers 36-kilogram torque guns.
“Through our good relationships with partnered customers, they’ve been willing to support these trials and it’s groundbreaking because we’re pushing the boundaries of what we would normally do. Once you do that, there’s an eagerness to do more and the level of thinking in the safety realms, and other realms, can be pushed to new limits.”
Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group employs nearly 2,700 team members across five continents, and invest heavily in global standards for technical training and safety.
One of the ways Kal Tire executes this and ensures a customer in Queensland sees the same quality and safety as a customer in Colombia, is through a second component of the safety architecture—an online learning management system (LMS), available at all times and multiple languages.
“The quality of the materials on LMS is really strong, but that’s just one part of it. In Australia, many of our team members are in very remote locations far away from civilization, so LMS is another mechanism to show previously quite isolated team members how they’re part of a bigger picture and a global community.”