A highly focussed response to the COVID threat has earned Australian Country Choice major recognition in the foremost national workplace health and safety awards.
CEO Anthony Lee accepted the top award for leadership at the prestigious National Safety Awards of Excellence, held in Melbourne late last week.
The company also received a Highly Commended award in the communications category, again for its response to the COVID threat.
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For 29 years the independent awards, organised by the National Safety Council of Australia Foundation and sponsored by GIO, have recognised excellence in work health and safety across all Australian industries.
Other finalists in the categories included Sydney Water, a major Victorian hospital network, an Australia-wide courier firm and a national safety goods supplier.
Mr Lee said ACC was honoured to be recognised by the industry at a national level.
"These awards are for everyone who helped develop, roll-out, lead and communicate our unrelenting battle to ensure we all stayed safe during the COVID period," he said.
The judges recognised ACC's initiatives in protecting staff across the entire supply chain, incorporating 4.5m acres over 42 sites across rural and metropolitan Queensland, as well as maintaining messaging to 1500 staff of more than 60 nationalities.
Advised by medical experts and supported by the ACC executive team, Mr Lee oversaw 18 months of COVID mitigation that included all-staff vaccinations and RAT-testing, customised PPE masks and personalised point-of-contact tracing technology.
Company-wide support of these measures saw ACC lose no production days due to COVID, Mr Lee said.
"Our staff were confident they could attend work because they felt safe. They recognised they were working in a virus-free environment," he said.
The leadership award, sponsored by Actrua Performance Cultures, recognised how ACC's directors, CEO and executive team made safety a business priority, as well as the impact that had on the organisation.
Mr Lee said: "While this is a leadership award, it extends across the entire company. I'd like to make special mention of Chief Corporate Services Officer James Beirne, Group Program Manager WHS Brett Porter, the front-line staff like the workplace health and safety team and the ever-vigilant COVID marshalls."
The company also celebrated recognition of its COVID communications campaign with the commendation sponsored by Ansell.
The glittering event, attended by more than 350 people at the Crown Towers Palladium Ballroom, is Australia's longest-running and most-prestigious workplace safety awards.