New NSS HST coordinator of the north for the north

Northern Stevedoring Services’ new Health, Safety and Training Coordinator, Kelly Norris, has a yarn or two to tell from a varied career. 

Kelly spent five years working for Sea Swift supplying the population of the Torres Straits out of Horn Island.

It was one rainy day among many in the wet season when a forklift driver went off-road and got his two-and-a-half tonne unit bogged. 

His mate came along to aid with his four-tonne forklift and got bogged as did the subsequent 16 tonne rescue forklift that was sent in to solve the problem.

Good intentions combined with a misguided appreciation of the capabilities of the equipment resulting in a conga line of embarrassment that always give Kelly a smile. 

Kelly’s from Cairns and has a good appreciation of the challenges faced by logistics and transport providers in the region.

It’s only been a matter of weeks since Kelly started with NSS in Townsville and she brings with her some unique experience, she said.

“My time at Horn Island taught me a lot,” she said. “I was in operations as well as health and safety up there, working for a vessel company delivering freight to 13 outer islands.

“So obviously up there when there’s an incident, any a health and safety things issue, even in the operations side, breakdowns, all that sort of stuff, you’re on your own. You don’t have much and parts and assistance are at least a day or two away.

“Sea Swift was the sole main provider of freight, if we couldn’t get into an island due to the weather, it meant that they could be without food. 

“So, then it became a logistical nightmare, and pretty much we would hire helicopters to land at the wharf and we’d load helicopters with food essentials to get it out to the islands.”

Kelly’s appointment added to the rigour of the business said NSS General Manager Mark George.

“NSS is one of the larger operators in regional Queensland and among others, we’re tasked to manage the logistics including that of locally mined and refined product to world markets,” he said. 

“We appreciate that businesses are run on fine margins and our place in providing an efficient transfer on-time and on-budget, is critical.

“Our people are our strength and we rely on Kelly and all our staff to bring their experience, wit and intelligence to help the business deliver on our promises and maintain standards.”

The opportunity to use her initiative was one of the most satisfying parts of her work said Kelly.

“I guess a different way of looking at things. Obviously, safety is a massive part of every company. However, sometimes you have to look outside the box and come up with different ways, different solutions, depending on budgets and things like that other restrictions.

“I went down the wharf yesterday and saw one of the car carrier vessels. So yes, obviously a lot bigger scale than the ones I’m used to. I’ve got a great team that I work with and feel very supported in the NSS role.”

And those forklift drivers? They’re yet to live it down.

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