‘Keeping it Fresh’ at Sanford, Timaru

More confident and engaged staff, and better health and safety awareness are the results of the ‘Keeping it Fresh’ training programme for 32 Sanford workers in Timaru. As New Zealand’s largest fishing and aquaculture business, Sanford has 1,400 employees from Stewart Island to Auckland, and sites in Australia and China.

But the Timaru site has been making waves with the 10-week workplace training programme. Delivered by Risk Management Group (RMG), the course focused on communicating and problem solving about health and safety. 
“It’s one of the proudest moments I’ve had as a boss,” says site manager Grant Day. “We’re in a place to make Sanford’s Timaru one of the best performing workplaces in Sanford. Outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.”
Some were nervous and unsure prior to the course. “I didn’t want to be here,” says course participant Warren. “I didn’t sleep the night before. Then it took off. With the tutor it got better and better. We enjoyed it.” Another participant, Paul, says “My mind went boom! I got into the rhythm. It was the stuff we didn’t learn at school. Good things.” 
Project groups were required to identify health and safety issues, conduct surveys, collect and analyse data, evaluate solutions, and present their recommendations. 
One finding was that Sanford lacked data on staff with allergies to histamines in fish. The evidence showed allergies were a significant issue, so the group recommended a policy be developed, and a register set up. Management have taken this on board, and will be considering solutions.
“Guys are grabbing me and talking to me about stuff!” says Grant Day. “Everyone wins and can do more when they understand what they are doing and their role in the team. It’s about empowerment – having people working because they want to rather than because they have to.”
“Watching people grow in confidence, begin to tackle big life issues and re-engage in the workplace is truly inspirational,” says RMG’s Lyn Nikoloff. “Everyone has a story, everyone has a voice – sometimes life knocks our confidence but when we regain it our workplaces become safer and smarter, and our lives more powerful.”

Read the full case study here.