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Safety is a priority

A strong commitment to meeting regulatory requirements has seen ISDS Toowoomba win this month’s Agsafe Achiever Award.

In 1994, Colin Wheeldon saw an opportunity for an independent distribution centre in the Toowoomba region and founded ISDS with his wife Lorraine.

The original premises, which operated from an old aircraft shed with wooden poles throughout, created an obstacle course for forklift drivers. Despite this, ISDS won an Agsafe award in 1999 for their high standards and strong commitment to safety.

In 2009, ISDS moved into its current 5 acre premises comprising 4 purpose-built sheds and a total storage capacity of roughly 3600 pallets.

“There is now plenty of room to manoeuvre forklifts, all storage sheds have lower and upper ventilation, there are proper separation distances, and flammables are stored separately. Each shed even has its own outdoor shower and an eyewash,” said Lorraine Wheeldon.

It is this pledge to continual improvement in an ever-changing industry which led Agsafe facilitator Wayne Sear to nominate ISDS for the Agsafe Achiever Award.

“They stand out because they are a true independent small company, but their commitment to health and safety and the effort they put in is equal to the big guys,” he said.

While distribution centres like ISDS only make up a small percentage of Agsafe accredited businesses, they are no less important. In fact, ISDS serves as a fitting reminder to manufacturers that store significant amounts of chemicals – to make sure their external storage premises are accredited.

“I think with pressure on margins and a very tight marketplace, the temptation for some manufacturers to save costs by using low quality storage options is high,” Mr Sear said.

“This can lead to products being stored in areas with no spill containment and where staff have little or no training in chemical safety.

“Agsafe will always welcome and help any new business who wants to become accredited to meet regulatory requirements.”

Over the last two decades, ISDS has continually evolved and updated the procedures they use to ensure that the highest safety standards are maintained.

“When dealing with hazardous and dangerous chemicals, there needs to be a high level of awareness and understanding to guarantee the safety of our staff, transport operators and the general public,” said Phil Wheeldon.

There are currently four members of the Wheeldon family working at ISDS – Colin, Lorraine, Phil and Katie. Peter Brown has been a highly valued staff member for over 17 years and is considered part of the extended family. Jamie Brown-Duthie is the newest member to the team.

“Colin is the driving force behind ISDS” said Phil. “The business wouldn’t be the way it is without his hard work and dedication.”

ISDS has also enjoyed a close working relationship with Agsafe and its facilitators for many years.

“Agsafe provides the industry with the guidelines we strive to maintain and surpass,” said Phil. “It’s encouraging to know that there is recognition out there for the effort and commitment we have put into our safety here at ISDS.”