PREPARED: EHSG operation manager Kiarna Newton and owner Brad Smith are always looking at how to grow the business.
PREPARED: EHSG operation manager Kiarna Newton and owner Brad Smith are always looking at how to grow the business. Luka Kauzlaric

Local businesses 'apathetic and stuck in their ways'

SUSTAINING a first aid and emergency supply business has been difficult for owner Brad Smith over the past 15 years.

But he has not only grown the Essential Health and Safety Group, he has introduced better systems to adapt to Gladstone's changing landscape.

"We've felt the impact of other businesses coming into town but we're prepared for the future," he said.

"We've had to be innovative in what we do, from reducing our environmental footprint, to looking at capital and expenditure."

Four years ago the company identified issues and began rebuilding the team with people who shared its culture and values.

"We service from mums and dads, to industry, to show them how to save lives and make work places safer," said Mr Smith.

"To continue to grow we need to be able to continue to do the things that set us apart from others."

Mr Smith said there was a lot of apathy in Gladstone, with businesses too stuck in their ways to try anything new.

"People need to be putting the moan and groan into positive strategies and look at how to do business better," he said.

"As a director I learnt that the least effective person was me. There are areas I need to step back from and bring more of the team up to a management level.

"We all look at each other and pick up errors that can be fixed."

He said many of the industry players had revealed what they needed and as such the business had been adaptable.

"The end of construction will have some effect on us, but in the broad sense Australian workers need to be more competitive and look at any value adding we can give," he said.