Toni Kirkup’s innovative safety strategies have been recognised with a national award.

We spoke at length about AKD Softwood’s national health safety and wellbeing manager Toni Kirkup’s strategies for making sure everyone goes home from work safely every day in our August cover story. Now those strategies have been recognised at the 2021 National Forest Industry Awards where Kirkup won the NSW Forestry Corporation – Innovation in Health and Safety Award of Excellence.

The award recognises the success of Kirkup’s programs, both at AKD where the cultural safety shift they fostered resulted in a 20% reduction in lost time injury frequency rates (LTIFR) in 2019-20 and further 40% reduction in 2020-21, but also in the wider community. In 2020 where Covid case numbers grew to 130 in Colac (where AKD has one of its main mills) in a town of just 12,000, Kirkup was a major part of the Keep Colac Safe campaign that used local leaders to encourage Covid safety for businesses and individuals and helped to slash cases.

The National Forest Industry Awards are organised by the Australian Forest Products Association. AFPA CEO Ross Hampton congratulated Toni on her persistent efforts on an issue so important to forest industries. “Forest industries in Australia and across the world have come a very long way on safety. That’s only because of people in our industries who are dedicated to the cause like Toni Kirkup,” Hampton said.

AKD CEO Shane Vicary said, “AKD is incredibly proud of both Toni and what she has achieved for AKD through her perseverance and persistence. Quite simply Toni made safety personal and engrained in our behaviours and culture. Toni achieved this through driving a consistent message of it’s not compliance, it’s our collective responsibility to ourselves and our families.

“The real strength of what Toni has achieved is a system or a set of behaviours, that are sustainable and owned by all employees, not requiring Toni’s constant reinforcement. Toni has made AKD a safer place to work, and for that we are incredibly grateful,” Vicary added.

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