Taking safety seriously

Safety at home or work is something you can’t put a price on. This is why health and safety in the workplace has long been a priority for Hirepool.

August_175.jpgIt was back in September 2002 that Hirepool first gained the ACC workplace safety management practices programme accreditation to tertiary level, becoming the only hire company in New Zealand to achieve that level. That accreditation has since been reissued and is effective through to September 30, 2010.

“When you have an organisation that completes more than 400,000 transactions each year on as many as 12,000 items of equipment there is just no room for compromise on that issue,” says Hirepool and NZ Rental Group CEO Mark Powell.

“Customers expect the equipment they hire will not only do the job well, but they will have no issues about equipment safety. And this is as critical for our DIY customers as it is for the major contractors.”

Hirepool also believes in the ‘work safe, play safe, stay safe’ concept so much, so that it has singled out safety as the key driver of its corporate social responsibility programme in a partnership with the Auckland Regional Helicopter Trust (ARHT). This began back in 2006 when Hirepool provided the design and engineering of a customised, purpose-built trailer to enable a flight simulator, developed for pilot and crew training at the ARHT base at Mechanic’s Bay in Auckland, to be transported off site to provide the public with the opportunity to experience flying a rescue helicopter.

The simulator, developed by the ARHT chief pilot Dave Walley and Massey University, is still widely used today. The value of Hirepool’s contribution to the trailer was around $50,000.

Hirepool_2.jpgLater that year the value of Westpac rescue helicopter was demonstrated to everyone at Hirepool when staff member Ross Hansen was rescued after lying critically injured for 30 hours with severe head, back and shoulder injuries. A driver for Port-a-loo, a Hirepool subsidiary, Hansen’s truck crashed over a cliff in Port Waikato and plummeted 150 metres down a bank. There was no way rescuers could bring him to safety without the helicopter.

After more than two months in an induced coma, and sustaining a broken collar bone, severe bruising to his neck and back and head trauma, Ross Hansen has recovered and is now back at work.

“We are all so grateful for the efforts of the rescue crew who responded so promptly once Ross was located and did a great job in very difficult circumstances,” says Mark Powell. “For us, that was a demonstration of social responsibility at its very best.

“At Hirepool there can be few things more demanding that flying rescue helicopters on dangerous missions where pilots and crew have to combat both the weather and the terrain. So they clearly have a very focused safety culture where they put a premium on customer safety and care. There are very real parallels with the safety and security policies of our two organisations.”

Hirepool_1.jpgAs for the AHRT, they too see real value in the relationship, to the extent that they have added the Hirepool logo to the door of the Westpac rescue helicopter, something AHRT crew chief and quality assurance manager Herby Barnes says they were delighted to be able to do.

“Over the last few years Hirepool and its sister companies like Henderson Rentals, Port-a-loo, Castles Marquee and Event Hire and others, would have contributed well over a hundred thousand dollars worth of in-kind support,” he says.

“Whether it was just borrowing a barbecue, a generator or a ute for towing the simulator, or asking for a massive resource commitment for a fund-raising event, they have never let us down.

“At no stage has NZ Rental Group, Hirepool or anyone associated with their other business units ever asked for any recognition in return from the AHRT. So it gave us great pleasure to be able to acknowledge their generosity in such a tangible way as a sponsor partner by putting Hirepool on the side doors of the rescue helicopter. They are a very welcome addition to our family of sponsors,” says Barnes.

Mark Powell says Hirepool always wanted to be able to give back to the community. “And what we are doing with the AHRT in Auckland we will look to do with our other branches and business units in other parts of the country. To us it makes good business sense.”

• Article supplied by Hirepool. 

Contractor Vol.33  No.7  August 2009
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