It's amazing to see the Ports of Auckland Safety and Wellbeing team recently be rewarded for their dedication to creating a safe and healthy working environment for their staff.
Oceania Medical have been involved in their first aid requirements for the past six years, and during that time, we have evaluated and improved our first aid kit supply program.
In 2017, our program was simple. Like other businesses, it involved an allocated Oceania Medical representative to undertake onsite checks on first aid kits and defibrillators at the Port. This can be a costly exercise for a business who may be paying to check kits which have been unused.
In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted normal operations, particularly among businesses exposed to the border, on-site visits became impossible.
A new solution was needed. We took this as an opportunity to revise our service to ensure it was more cost effective, maintainable, and efficient.
We also took this time explore how our service could be improved. Together with the Safety and Wellbeing team at the Port, Oceania Medical developed a system of tamper-tagged first aid kits. These wall-mounted kits can be easily clicked in and out of the wall and are sealed with tear-open tags. Once a kit is used, it is replaced with a refurbished one, ensuring continual cover at the site. The used kits are returned to Oceania Medical for refurbishment and re-sealing, and the Port are provided with eight spare kits that can be switched on-site.
The same tamper-tagged system has been implemented for the first aid kits and fire extinguishers in the Port's vehicles. Whenever a kit is opened, it is switched with a new one, and the opened kits are returned for refurbishment.
Considering the fast-paced nature of the Port as a workplace, additional measures have been taken to enhance safety. Defibrillators, workplace trauma kits (for major bleeds, burns, or fractures), and privacy pods for patient screening have been strategically placed at key points around the port.
The locations were chosen based on proximity to workers, with the goal of having a station within 3-4 minutes' reach from any point on the port. The ports Safety and Wellbeing team also customised small trauma packs in waterproof bags to be placed at the base of every crane, which is considered a higher-risk area due to moving parts and volume of traffic.
All these trauma kits are tamper-tagged to ensure easy detection of use.
The experience gained from working with the Ports of Auckland has emphasized the importance of customising medical solutions for different worksites, meaning that simply having a first aid kit on-site is insufficient. The first aid requirements for a central city office with sitting staff cannot be compared in any way to a worksite with thousands of continual moving parts, machinery, visitors, and contractors. The Port's proactive approach to customised solutions is commendable, as they continue to adapt to ever evolving changes to circumstances.
The COVID-19 pandemic also highlighted the need for adaptable solutions. The remotely managed first aid kit system was a direct result of this need. It eliminated the need for staff to physically check kits on-site, reducing unnecessary port access, fuel use and ever-increasing travel time on busy Auckland roads.
While the system has been successful overall, there have been challenges. Some kits with tamper tags located in busy and high-risk areas are being used daily, making it difficult to keep up with replacements. To address this, surplus stock has been supplied to the department heads.
In addition to the kit servicing, an online portal has been created to provide transparency for the Safety and Wellbeing team and management. The portal allows them to track the location of kits around the port and monitor when they were last rotated and serviced. The defibrillator service plans are also updated to ensure the equipment is well-maintained.
Overall, the Ports of Auckland have set an example by prioritizing customised medical solutions and adapting to changing circumstances. The collaborative efforts between the Port's Safety and Wellbeing team and Oceania Medical have led to a more effective and sustainable first aid program.