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Emphasis on safety delivers results for Australia Post

Australia Post chairman says incident frequency rate has dropped by 24 per cent,


Australia Post’s decision to focus heavily on improving safety has led to a sharp fall in incident and injury rates within the company. 

Chairman John Stanhope has credited the move to adopt a new mindset on safety for a 24 per cent reduction in the incident frequency rate and a 28 per cent decline in the loss time injury rate. 

Stanhope was a key speaker at yesterday’s Fit for Work forum held in Melbourne by Metropolitan Express Transport Services.

“About three years ago we faced up to the fact that we had a real problem when it came to culture. From 2008 to 2011 all of our workplace injury and incidents KPIs were heading in the wrong direction,” he says.

“The more we analysed this issue it became evident we had a compliance mindset around safety. We had to transform the attitude of our people at the frontline and we had to make sure they were looking out for their own safety and the safety of their colleagues.”

Australia Post employees have been grappling with a series of changes in recent times, including the impact the digital economy has had on its traditional mail and retail business models. 

Stanhope says mail volumes have dropped by 22 per cent since 2008 and postmen are expected to deliver 1 million fewer letters this year compared to five years ago. 

Australia Post lost $218 million in the letters business last year alone and that figure is set to rise to $300 million this financial year.

“In most businesses you can manage falling volumes and revenue by cutting hard into the cost but at Post it’s difficult to cut the cost of delivering letters because we have a legislated community service obligation,” Stanhope says.

“Under our obligations we are advised to deliver letters five days a week to 98 per cent of Australian addresses.”

However, Australia Post has reported a 10 per cent rise in parcel deliveries in the last three years, with 70 per cent of all parcels stemming from online transactions. 

Despite the changes currently reshaping Australia Post, Stanhope says there is still a high level of staff engagement. 

“Our internal surveys show people understand why we need to change and they are broadly supportive of the change,” he says. 

“We have been able to create a stable, harmonious workplace in a fairly unstable environment externally which has enabled us to get on with the hard work of transforming Post.”

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