Health and safety

Better culture – safer port

Our sustained focus on our safety culture has led to continual improvements in injury prevention.

In the past year CentrePort has operated for 273 days in a row without any of our people needing to take time off due to workplace injury.

This is our best-ever performance. It’s something CentrePort is very proud of after its considerable effort to make the port a safer place to work.

“This is a fantastic result that’s been made possible through the efforts of everyone here – from our CE Derek to our health and safety reps and our frontline staff. There is a real risk awareness now and a real commitment throughout the organisation.”

– Murray Julian, GM People, Safety and Culture

These results reflect a downward trend in injuries on port this year, which CentrePort will continue to work toward as part of the broader regeneration programme.

Continuing culture change

With up to 1,000 people working on the ground at any one time, including staff, contractors and visitors, it’s critical that the port has a supportive health and safety culture.

All New Zealand workplaces need to be environments where people can be healthy and safe and get home each day. To help achieve this at our port, CentrePort is following best practice by driving a culture shift away from a top-down approach to one that’s based on people focusing on their own and their peers’ safety.

CentrePort also recognises that safety is good for business, and efficiency and productivity are key topics in every discussion on safety initiatives. Safety in design is a key element in our investments in new plant and when developing processes and systems.

We’ve continued to increase our investment in health and safety training, particularly in the past three years. Training now goes well beyond safety procedures to include areas such as risk analysis and how to investigate incidents.

CentrePort has one health and safety rep for every 10 staff members. The reps’ role has expanded from raising safety issues to proactively solving problems themselves, giving them new mana among them peers.

Our senior leaders are kept connected with what’s going on through regular ‘health and safety walks’, where they can see and better understand what’s happening across the business on the ground.

Our health and safety approach is supported by our ‘golden rules’, to which everyone at CentrePort signs up.

COVID-19 vaccinations

Our COVID-19 vaccination programme began in February, with second doses given in March.

CentrePort management encouraged all eligible staff to be vaccinated and provided easy access with scheduled vaccination sessions on port.

A risk-assessment process, required for all ports, was completed for those who hadn’t been vaccinated for any reason. This applied to people in all marine, security and cargo-handling roles, where consideration was given to redeployment.

In addition to vaccinations, CentrePort has implemented mandatory regular testing, provided PPE gear and amended some operational procedures to protect against COVID-19.

person logo

Proactive about safety

Adrian Hughes is an electrician in the Engineering and Maintenance team, and is also a health and safety rep. He says he’s seen positive safety changes at CentrePort in recent years.

I've been here for nearly six years and have seen a lot of change around health and safety in that time. The attitude used to be very reactive, but now it’s more strategic and planned, and I think that’s why we’re having fewer accidents.

We look at the bigger picture now, and at how things are connected. There are more procedures in place so that we’re ready for any event.

I’ve had the opportunity to take part in quite a few interesting health and safety projects – such as introducing safety glasses, using the Take5, better signage, and the slot drain project.

Take5 for safety

The Take5 was a major project because it asked people who had worked here for a long time – many of an older age – to change the way they had been doing things for years.

The Take5 is a pre-work job and environment check. When it was introduced it required a fundamental behaviour change and a different way of thinking about a job.

It requires some paperwork, and in the beginning there was a bit of resistance to using it for every job and shift. I was doing leadership training at the same time as the Take5 was introduced, and it really helped me to frame how I looked for influencers in the team to influence overall behaviour.

We got there in the end and it’s now become an important part of how we keep people safe.


When we introduced compulsory safety glasses to the Engineering and Maintenance team, we got everyone involved in the process. We researched PPE companies and got lots of samples of glasses so the team could try them and help with the selection.

Making it collaborative helped to make the behaviour change easier, as everybody owned it with a keen eye on safety. I also got all the signage around safety glasses done and put up around the workshop.

My personal philosophy is that how we think and act and speak about safety is how safety will be. For health and safety to work and be authentically embedded in our workplace, we all have to really walk the talk. I deeply believe in what I think about health and safety and that makes it real. Everyday.