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Meet Michelle | DWS’ Work Health, Safety & Compliance Advisor

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As an integral part of the DWS team for over 6 years, Michelle’s passion for WHS and experience in roles spanning across multiple industries makes her a force to be reckoned with when it comes to safety!

Realising Michelle’s passion didn’t lie in the accounting field, Michelle’s WHS journey was born from a place of passion and enthusiasm as a Quality and Safety Officer.

After completing her studies in accounting at Griffith University, Michelle made the bold decision to move away from the field of finance and accounting and apply her analytical brain to the safety industry. Michelle began her professional career working on major commercial building sites as a young and enthusiastic Quality and Safety Officer. Projects such as the Royal Brisbane Hospital, the Gabba redevelopment, jails, high rise buildings and resorts; equipped her with a comprehensive skillset that would make many other recent graduates envious. Michelle then moved into different sectors such as transport, logistics and waste management with Ansett, then opting to further her already extensive list of qualifications and skills as a WH&S Consultant with the Brisbane City Council.

Experienced in designing and implementing a range of tailored management systems, Michelle now consults across a range of industries in compliance for WH&S, food safety, fire and emergency and in quality and environmental systems. Although a day in the life is never the same for Michelle, her favourite thing about her role is working with a team who are dedicated to finding the best and most cost-effective solutions for her clients. “I like to think that I take away the stress involved with safety and compliance, so my clients can get on with their business-as-usual tasks and running fantastic venues! I never assume to have all the answers and prioritise listening to what my clients’ needs are.”

Between her busy work schedule and enjoying the Redcliffe Peninsula in her spare time, there has been ample funny moments throughout her career to fill a book!

When Michelle isn’t in venue chatting to staff and finding solutions to everything WH&S and compliance, you’ll either find her on the Redcliffe Peninsula or in the comfort of her own home enjoying some champagne and Cheezels (living the dream)! When she’s not living the dream enjoying the aforementioned tasty treats, you’ll find Michelle walking along the beach, appreciating the many great dining options on the Peninsula, enjoying a cheeky beverage and visiting the Sunday markets with her partner and 14-year-old daughter.

Although Michelle’s services are in high demand and is always kept busy by her clients, she may have to find some more time soon to write a book! When asked if Michelle had any funny or stand out moments from her career, she said: “I keep threatening to write a ‘Confessions of a Safety Advisor’ book of all the funny situations I’ve either been in or had to deal with. Stay tuned!”

With the range of challenges operators across various industries are facing, WH&S cannot take a step back on the priority list

As many industries still recover from the effects of the pandemic such as labour and supply shortages, the future of WH&S should not be something that falls by the wayside to prioritise other concerns of businesses. As the introduction of psychosocial hazards have been implemented into legislation and industrial manslaughter laws, it has never been more pertinent that organisations are paying close attention to their WH&S policies to ensure risks are minimise wherever possible. Michelle noted:

“It’s certainly an interesting time in WH&S in Australia with the introduction of psychosocial hazards into legislation and industrial manslaughter laws. Having been involved in 3 fatalities in workplaces throughout my career, I fully support the manslaughter laws. No one should ever go to work and be killed. Each fatality has left a deep mark on me and they will never be forgotten.

I also support the formal introduction of psychosocial hazards into legislation. The impacts of bullying, harassment, workplace hazing, toxic cultures and relationships are significant and must be addressed. The impacts are not just on individuals, the cost to companies is enormous in terms of productivity loss, turnover, workers compensation claims, time spent on managing poor behaviour. In addition, stressed employees tend to make very poor decisions, often leading to increased incidents and injuries.”

As overwhelming as workplace health and safety can be, particularly when business owners and managers already have so many other parts of the operations and administrative functions to manage, Michelle says: “The most important thing when starting on your safety journey is to actually make a start. Get informed of your obligations, get good advice, lead from the top and make sure there is consistency and integrity in your implementation and management.”

If you are interested in chatting to Michelle further about your WH&S and compliance needs, learn more about her here or touch base with Michelle via email at info@dws.net.au

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