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McKay & Olsen Top Crew Safety Award

When McKay and Olsen 32 were announced the winners of the 2017 Top Crew for Safety at the 2018 Safe Start Up breakfast a sharp looking team (dressed in their new 2018 shirt, designed by the crew)  led by Mike and Denise made their way to the stage.

“Comradery is important, we have a great bunch of guys – you are nothing without your men”, says Mike McKay, who together with Denise McKay, Dave Olsen and Blair Tomlinson are the owners and management team for McKay and Olsen.

The team is known for its uncompromising attitude to safety, safety leadership, teamwork, and collaboration.

McKay and Olsen are currently harvesting Douglas fir in the Southern Waikato area and on a good day you can see out over Lake Taupo. After the site induction it’s time to get to know the crew a little better.

Denise takes an active part of the operation and she has a background in business.  Her skills are complemented by Blair who has a degree in Forest Science.  Mike takes care of the operation and stays available to the crew.

“We make our decisions as a team and in collaboration with the crew,” says Denise, “turnover is low, and we celebrate when someone has been with us for 5 years…” and, it doesn’t stop there “…we also celebrate an employee of the month, says Mike”.

McKay and Olsen has recently taken on a 19-year old from a course with no experience. He has a lot of potential, is willing to learn and we are proud of the progress he’s making” says Denise “…he’s doing well, not afraid to ask questions and that’s because of our policy – ‘there is nothing wrong that you can say’ is how we put it.”

When talking about Mike’s leadership and operational experience both Denise and Blair are adamant “He understands the job and the capabilities of his crew and he would never ask someone to do something they are not ready for, or he would not do himself.”

During our visit, we had two questions for the guys at the coal face: “What makes this crew safe?” and “why you think you got the award?”  Their responses were as follows:

“It’s safer out here than walking down Queen Street.”

“People talk about safety but Mike- he walks the talk. Mike will also explain to us why we are doing something in a particular way”

“We are a professionally run team, we go by the rules, we have had incidents and deal with them.”

“We stick to the systems if the boss is here or not.  If Mike is away everything runs as normal, we know what’s expected of us.”

 “Safety culture is instilled in every person.”

We asked Mike, what makes you the good leader described by the crew?

“Patience, not belittling people and leading by example. Planning ahead and walking the block and discussing the plans, the best way of getting things done.”

“You have to be open and honest about incidents and near misses, there is no shame to talking about them- everyone learns it’s good to share the knowledge.”

PF Olsen would like to congratulate everyone at McKay and Olsen Ltd on a well-deserved award.

Mike McKay, McKay & Olsen