10/10/2006 - 22:00

Best practice gives buzz

10/10/2006 - 22:00

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As managing director of a big engineering business, you might think Peter Meurs gets his biggest buzz from winning multi-million dollar contracts.

Best practice gives buzz

As managing director of a big engineering business, you might think Peter Meurs gets his biggest buzz from winning multi-million dollar contracts.

In reality, he said the most exciting part of his job was a couple of industry development initiatives pursued by WorleyParsons and its joint venture partner, Transfield.

These include the company’s annual best practice forums, which made a faltering start in 2000 but have since grown to the point where they attract 350 delegates from 11 countries and 120 organisations.

A specific initiative flowing from the best practice forums was the establishment of safety induction centres, which Mr Meurs hopes will foster common standards across the complex process industry.

“That’s what I feel passionate about,” he told WA Business News when discussing these initiatives.

Mr Meurs said the first best practice forum attracted only 20 people.

WorleyParsons encountered strong resistance from its clients, who were reluctant to share ideas and opinions with their competitors.

Despite the inauspicious start, WorleyParsons persisted with the concept, which is now regarded as a highly effective way of gaining feedback and sharing ideas.

One of the issues that emerged from the forums related to the differing safety standards and safety induction procedures at industrial sites.

Mr Meurs said the problem was made worse by the increasing number of mobile workers.

“With a mobile workforce, they work at several sites during the year, so they get inducted at every site, sometimes for two days.

“The inductions are long and boring; that would be a problem enough, but in addition they are different.”

Inspired by a customer in Sydney, Mr Meurs said Transfield Worley decided to build an interactive induction centre that could be used to train workers heading for different industrial sites.

The first centre, located at Kwinana, has been sponsored by Woodside, BP, CSBP, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Apache Energy and Mobil, and will be operated by Challenger TAFE.

Mr Meurs hopes the induction centre will lead to real change in the industry.

“Our plan is to build 15 of these around the country and use this as a standard induction for the whole of the complex process industry.”

He hopes that, in turn, this will lead to the adoption of common standards and processes across the industry.

“If we can do that in Australia, we can take it to the world and say, why can’t we do it everywhere?”

The induction centres introduce workers to about 20 different hands-on experiences.

For instance, they climb a ladder, go up onto scaffolding, climb into an excavation pit, work in a confined space and work with a process board

“You come out of it with a real awareness of what the safety hazards really are,” Mr Meurs said.

Workers who complete a course at the induction centre would receive accreditation, but would still need to complete shorter safety inductions at specific work sites.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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