IMPRESSIVE health and safety achievements by EastPack impressed the award judges. Photos supplied

HEALTH and safety, innovation and automation are only some of the factors that saw EastPack win the supreme award at the Westpac Tauranga Business Awards 2019.

EastPack took home the ACC Workplace Health and Safety Award, the Business Innovation award, the Manufacturing and Distribution award as well as the supreme award of Tauranga Business of the Year 2019 at the awards evening held in Mt Maunganui last Friday.

EastPack chief executive Hamish Simson said each of the awards would have been “a great achievement in its own right, but we were delighted and humbled to be recognised across so many categories and to get the big prize at the end of the night”.

Mr Simson said the recognition came as the company was building capacity towards the goal of more than 50 million trays in the next five years.

“EastPack has also celebrated a number of industry firsts, including the opening of the industry’s first fully-automated coolstore in May,” he said.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said the awards had attracted entrants of a high standard.

“Again, this year there has been a strong focus on technology and particularly in the kiwifruit sector,” he said.

Head judge Andrew Hitchfield said EastPack’s journey to change its health and safety culture over the past few years was something he could not look past.

“They did not demonstrate mere compliance, but that they are a leader within their industry,” he said.

Included in the advancements were technology solutions to eliminate people and forklift interaction risk by use of a stacking robot and an automated storage and retrieval warehouse system.

“They have improved forklift training and assessment process and investigating new areas of risk that has not previously been considered. such as conducting research into the combustibility of gold kiwifruit dust,” Mr Hitchfield said.

sven.carlsson@thebeacon.co.nz