April 28th 2021

A New Approach to Improve the Safety and Health of Pacific Invasive Species Battlers

A new, innovative approach to managing health and safety when dealing with invasive species is being commemorated this World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

Through the Global Environment Facility 6 Regional Invasive Species Project (GEF6 RIP) - ‘Strengthening national and regional capacities to reduce the impact of Invasive Alien Species on globally significant biodiversity in the Pacific,’ the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme is promoting safety first, in this field.

The GEF6 RIP aims to develop and implement comprehensive national and regional invasive species management frameworks that help reduce the threats from Invasive Species to terrestrial, freshwater, and marine biodiversity in the Pacific.

Under its “zero-harm” principles, the GEF6 RIP has introduced the ThinkSafe app to invasives species management staff to help empower safer work practices when in the field.

The GEF6 RIP participating countries are now using ThinkSafe to carry out daily briefings before field works and are inducting staff into the system, so everyone understands what they are doing. The discussion of potential hazards and emergency procedures at the start of the day focuses everyone on the job at hand and ensures that everyone prioritises safety.

Images of battlers

“ThinkSafe is now an integral part of our daily morning briefings with the field team in particular. The design of the app is very user friendly, which encourages each team member to engage with it. The team is taking ownership of not only their own safety but also the safety of others while working out in the field. We would certainly recommend and endorse the use of ThinkSafe for anyone who is serious about Health and Safety at their own workplaces,” said Mr Huggard Tongatule, the National Invasive Species Coordinator of Niue.

ThinkSafe provides tools and resources to help manage potential risks, with a system that is operationally focused and easy to use. It helps minimise the administration and maximise the levels of safe engagement. The system secures and aggregates the data. This enables managers to identify trends - set objectives, and regularly review for continuous improvement.

“The work is generally done by teams of people working with tools and products which may be hazardous or may involve working in areas with natural hazards,” said Mr Bradley Myer, GEF6 RIP Project Manager at SPREP.

“The project has a zero-harm objective, meaning that we are looking to eliminate risk to people and the environment wherever possible.”

GEF 6 RIP participating countries are Niue, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tonga, and Tuvalu, all of whom are signed up to the ThinkSafe System.

The system involves entering information into a mobile app, so the users have been supplied with ruggedised tablets to assist the system’s day-to-day operation.

The GEF 6 RIP is funded by the Global Environment Facility, implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme and executed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

The Project works primarily in the Marshall Islands, Niue, Tonga, and Tuvalu and has a regional component. Implementation of the GEF6RIP is supported by the Pacific Regional Invasive Species Management Support Service (PRISMSS).

For more information on the ThinkSafe Health and Safety System, please contact Project Manager GEF 6 RIP Bradley Myer at bradleym@sprep.org.