Local businesses and individuals who have demonstrated excellence in workplace health and safety were honoured at the 2022 Hunter Safety Awards on May 12.

The Fenech Demolition team walked away with two wins, including the prestigious WHS Business of the Year.

Labelled as the Hunter’s biggest night on the calendar for work, health and safety (WHS), the award ceremony was held at NEX, Newcastle West, and was the first in-person event hosted since 2019.

Hunter Safety Awards Founder, Sarah-Jane Dunford, said it was a pleasure to be back in the room with so many like-minded individuals and businesses.

“This event had been a long time coming, and we’re so glad we were able to hold it in person once again,” Dunford said.

“The safety-conscious individuals and businesses in the Hunter Region deserved to be recognised, and we’re grateful the event went off without a hitch.”

In its sixth year, the awards recognised businesses across 13 different health and safety categories, with further consideration of mental health in the submitted entries following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Major winners included Maitland company, Fenech Demolition, which was awarded the prestigious Gold Safety Helmet in the WHS Business of the Year category and Best WHS Management System for Small to Medium Enterprises.

Dunford said the judges were highly impressed with Fenech Demolition’s six-step management system and their overall approach to safety management in their business.

“Fenech Demolition faced some extremely hazardous risks in their line of work and developed a proactive approach to safety management in their industry,” Dunford said.

“Their values around open communication for reporting on hazards, bi-weekly meetings with their team, and training sessions were excellent examples of how all businesses should approach safety no matter the size.”

Manager of Fenech Demolition, Julian Fenech, was speechless over their two award wins.

“We weren’t expecting any wins, and we just thought we were coming to an awards night to enjoy some great entertainment with our team and our family,” Fenech said.

“I am honestly lost for words and couldn’t make a speech when we won because I was shocked and excited.

“We’ve taken safety to another level, not just on the job site, but in our workplace where it all begins.

“Everybody wants to go home to their families, and as a family-owned business, that’s what we’re all about.”

Asset Training was also a dual winner on the night and awarded Best WHS Training Program for its development of Australia’s first online Drain Cleaning System Refresher course and Young WHS Leader of the Year for team member, Sam Herd.

“My team and company have been the driving force behind my dedication to safety, and I wouldn’t have won this without them,” Herd said.

“It has even more meaning knowing our company won for their hard work too, and I’m excited to celebrate alongside them.”

The full list of winners on the night were:

  • WHS Business of the Year: Fenech Demolition
  • Best Health and Wellbeing Program (Large Organisation): Molycop
  • Best Health and Wellbeing Program (SME): Murray Consulting
  • Best WHS Improvement (Large Organisation): Chandler Macleod
  • Best WHS Improvement (SME): Warner Company
  • Best WHS Management System (Large Organisation): CMA Contracting
  • Best WHS Management System (SME): Fenech Demolition
  • Most Innovative WHS Idea (Large Organisation): Molycop
  • Most Innovative WHS Idea (SME): GCG
  • WHS Student of the Year: Louise Conn (Hunter Ready Made Concrete)
  • WHS Champion of the Year: Monica Toews Brown (Red Insight)
  • Young WHS Leader of the Year: Sam Herd (Aqua Assets)
  • Best WHS Training Program: Asset Training

Hayley McMahon

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