Deloitte merges workplace health safety sustainability practices

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Deloitte merges its workplace health & safety and sustainability practices

>$60.6bn p.a. - the cost of not getting workplace health & safety right

29 June 2015: This week Deloitte merged its sustainability and workplace health & safety businesses, and invested in a new safety leadership and culture change business, creating one of the largest professional services sustainability practices in Australia.   

“A combined Deloitte Sustainability Services will make sure our clients can identify and de-risk their supply chains, their legal, financial, social, and labour and environmental risks long term,” said Deloitte Sydney Managing Partner Dennis Krallis.

“It’s about being able to help organisations meet their obligations to society, to the environment and their finances in a sustainable way. That’s the game changer,” Krallis said. “Our strategy is to bring businesses together to seamlessly meet the new and emerging shifts in the marketplace.”

Deloitte Sustainability Services partner Paul Dobson explained: “These social, economic, and environmental risks are inextricably linked and to manage them effectively we have to address them with a multidisciplinary perspective.”

He said: “Deloitte is determined to help ensure that Australian businesses and workplaces remain both safe and become more sustainable places to work, to do business and to grow.”

To ensure that happens, Deloitte welcomed alumni Jane Magree, former Director and Principal Consultant of Alinea Consulting, to manage the organisational culture change arm of the Sustainability Services practice.

Using leadership methodologies, Magree guides large organisations and teams through transformational change to achieve people solutions that improve business and safety performance and leadership capability.

“The Work Health and Safety Act is not just focused on physical safety,” Magree said. “It’s also about stress and mental health issues.

“In fact white collar businesses are increasingly under the pump when it comes to wellbeing. Executives need help to regenerate and recharge. You can only do this through top down visible leadership commitment and empowering front line staff members to manage rather than escalate.

“Banks for instance are starting to run resilience programs and insurance companies are promoting ‘healthy you’ programs,” Magree said. “Left unchecked safety in a wellbeing sense could be a huge cost burden in the future.”

Magree paraphrased Deloitte Access Economics’ research and commentary by Jennifer Westacott, Chief Executive, Business Council of Australia and Chair, Mental Health Australia that : ...having a healthy workforce is fundamental to the success of any business.

“Given that one in six working age Australians live with mental illness including depression, that is costing Australian businesses at least $11 billion dollars each year, this is a growing areai,” Magree said.

Adding that, “Meanwhile, many workers are also caring for and supporting people with mental health difficulties while juggling work and home responsibilities.”

Magree said that change is also needed in the way we manage and measure safety. “Boards are judged on fatalities and lost time due to injury (LTI). If this measurement isn’t changed, the focus will stay on numbers and ‘what shouldn’t happen’ rather than ‘people and what must go right’.”

She said: “We need new ways of thinking about the future and visualising what we do want with everyone living safely at work, home, and play, not on zero harm.

“It’s about the choices we make,” Magree said.

Tony Morris, the workplace, health and safety leader at Deloitte, said the current 50-person strong business is experiencing significant growth in stress-related concerns in financial services, as well as its traditional focus on safety compliance and management systems design, processes, and training, in the construction, transport & storage, agriculture, government, energy & mining and manufacturing industries.

Morris said: “Our ‘mock court’ health and safety workshops continue to be recognised for their interactive and innovative training for business leaders and their teams. They galvanise action and demonstrate safety management responsibility in a fun and high-impact way. They also provide a clear understanding of organisational and individual duties around workplace health and safety legislation.”

Sustainability Services partner, Shailesh Tyagi adds: “As organisations grapple with ever increasing challenges, be it across safety, environment or their supply-chains, the complexity will mean that new solutions, particularly those led by technology, will come to the fore.”

Krallis said: “I am really excited about the leadership combination of our new Sustainability Services business. The four-strong partner team brings together a qualified psychologist (Jane Magree), a lawyer (Tony Morris), an accountant (Paul Dobson) and an engineer, (Shailesh Tyagi).”

He said: “The timing could not be better for this new team. Open any news source today and you can see a multitude of reports on organisations that are feeling the consequences of failing to meet their obligations to society, the environment or their employees. Companies are facing class actions from customers, court cases due to workplace injuries, supply chain failures, environmental disasters, inadequate triple bottom line reporting and poor stakeholder management.”

With a conservative estimate of $60.6 billion1 as the cost to Australia’s GDP of not getting work, health and safety right: “The Deloitte national team has again found the scale to transform its successful safety and sustainability practices into an end-to-end integrated Sustainability Services business.

“The team is determined to mobilise in a way that combines sustainable behavioural change, environmental and workplace need and innovative leadership.”


1 The cost estimate includes direct costs (payment of wages and medical costs) and indirect costs (lost productivity, loss of future earnings and social welfare payments). Under the methodology adopted, workers’ compensation premiums are not considered as a cost to the employer but treated as a burden to the community as compensation payments are redistributed to injured and ill workers.

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More facts

  • The 2015 World Economic Forumii Global Risk Survey identified interstate conflicts, water crises and failure to adapt to climate change as dominating the high impact, likelihood risk stakes. (Respondents were asked to assess the impact and likelihood of each global risk on a scale of 1 to 7 and in the context of a 10-year time frame).
  • Other global risks included under or un-employment, cyber attacks, fiscal crises, infectious disease, energy price shock, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, information infrastructure breakdown and natural catastrophes.
  • Business should focus on people and purpose, not just products and profits according to Deloitte’s fourth annual Millennial Survey
  • This and other findings from the survey suggest businesses, particularly in developed markets, will need to make significant changes to attract and retain the future workforce. 
  • Deloitte surveyed 8000 of tomorrow’s leaders, from 29 countries, on leadership, and how business operates and impacts society. 
  • Millennials overwhelmingly believe (75%) businesses are focused on their own agenda rather than helping to improve society. 
  • Mental stress claims are the most expensive form of workers’ compensation claims because of the often lengthy periods of absence from work typical of these claims.
  • More professionals made claims for mental stress than any other occupation with more than a third of their claims made for work pressure - Safe work Australia 2013.

“By helping our clients build proactive sustainability risk intelligence, Boards and senior management can confidently invest in new ventures aligned to potential growth sectors knowing that the social, economic and environment issues are being well managed,” Krallis said.


November 2014 Report for the National Mental Health Commission and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance

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Global Risks 2015 report
The Global Risks Landscape 2015, Source: Global Risks 2015 report, World Economic Forum

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