The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce is keen to encourage entrants in the workplace safety category of this year's Westpac Tauranga Business awards.

Citing research conducted by the Carnegie Foundation in America into what makes people successful, the chamber said attitude accounted for 85 per cent, while knowledge and skills made up only 15 per cent.

"Tapping into this well of attitude is the challenge for employers, managers and supervisors who have responsibility for workplace safety practices and culture," said chamber operations, events and training manager Anne Pankhurst.

"Empowered leadership sets the culture and safety for the entire organisation. It's leadership that makes a difference between being average and excellent. Innovation and success count for little with the loss of an employee to injury."


Ms Pankhurst said winners of the ACC Workplace Safety Award all had one thing in common, a commitment by those who led the business to changing employees' attitudes to safety and embedding robust health and safety procedures and practices into daily routines.

Last year's winners Arbour Care, an arboriculture contracting company headed up by managing director John Meehan that operates in the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel region, impressed the judges with its focus on the general well-being of their 23 employees. They met employees every morning to ensure they were fit to work for the day. Staff were also required to not only report incidents, but also near misses. All staff were engaged in health and safety and their input was valued. The judges found the company demonstrated commitment to being an industry leader in health and safety and set an example to other businesses.

The 2013 winner, Support Individualised Lifestyle Choices (SILC), is a charitable trust providing support for people living with disabilities or illness.

The judges were impressed by the leadership and commitment from the top, and fortnightly one-on-one supervision and team safety meetings.

The trust also employed a full-time wellness co-ordinator to support all staff with issues such as diet, stress, fatigue and smoking, and staff were encouraged to report any discomfort as a measure to prevent injury.

Entry to the awards closes this Friday.