OHS students fired with enthusiasm as they 'cement' knowledge

Published:22 July 2019

TOP: Blake Bale (left) and Kristian Askew (right) with Cement Australia Operational Group Safety Manager Robert Stevenson. BELOW: The CQUniversity OHS students pictured at Cement Australia.

CQUniversity Occupational Health and Safety students Blake Bale and Kristian Askew had the chance to experience a hotbed of knowledge recently, as part of a three-week work placement.

The students contributed to a safe shutdown exercise - a prelude to the rebricking and refiring of a rotary kiln at Cement Australia in Gladstone.

"It was an awesome opportunity to experience a touch of everything we need to be aware of as part of our OHS studies, in a very concentrated environment," said Mr Askew, who already works in OHS for a Gold Coast construction company.

"There were high-risk lifts, working at height, confined spaces, dust management and interaction with contractors to consider.

"My focus was on the last line safety defences; in other words, preventing the thought processes that lead to decisions people may otherwise make that impact or cause negative incidents."

Mr Blake, who works as a safety officer for his family's building company in Grafton, said the Cement Australia placement gave him a chance to complete his thesis on contractor management.

He said it was a wonderful opportunity to "ensure the safety of the entire shutdown process".

Cement Australia Operations Manager Mark Wright said the shutdown provided "an opportunity to reach out for support and a platform to develop future industry skills".

"Each year we invite CQUni students to the shutdown to support our safety program and provide the students with an opportunity to experience first-hand a safe shutdown execution," Mr Wright says.

"Both of the CQUni students have provided tremendous support and worked tirelessly day in and day out, having conversations, leading next-step behaviors, supporting us all identifying and eliminating risks and hazards, all with the end goal of us all going home safe every shift.

"The Gladstone team could not be more grateful for the efforts and contribution the CQUni students have made to a safe shutdown."