• Frivolous Friday
    I'm sensing some seriousness creeping into this thread. This will not do!

    So, two Corrections Officers walked into the Café. The first one says "I think I'll have a flavoured slushy H2O." The second one says "I think I'll have a flavoured slushy H2O too" Sadly he died.
  • How do you identify who is who on your site?
    We are a "High Viz Free Zone" and seem to be the only business in NZ who hasn't succumbed to this nonsense.

    We have two types of contractors. Those that have a "permit to work" which gives them total free range and no need to identify them. The others must be accompanied by a staff member at all times.

    How tasteless to stick guests in a high Viz. Urk!!! You wouldn't do it at home. Why do it at work. Our guests are accompanied by a host at all times.

    We do have an underlying principle that we treat contractors (including on-hire agency workers) in exactly the same way as we treat our own staff. Same expectations, same access to facilities (including cafe), same dress expectations. Same Same!
  • Clarification around imposing penalties to sub trades
    Your option "1" is inconsistent with the Wages Protection Act. You cannot make unreasonable deductions from an employees wages (even if they agree to it).

    A wage deduction would not be a reasonable consequence for failing to deal with a safety complaint / violation.

    There is one thing that reasonable employers can't do - and that's meddle with an employee's wage.

    Also if you paid your workers $22.60 an hour and deducted $5.00 an hour for a safety breach your actions would be inconsistent with the Minimum Wage Act.

    Option "2" is also fraught with difficulty
  • Frivolous Friday
    He's the one. But he was re-trained to use them on the other side of the timber and all ended well.
  • Frivolous Friday
    So, I‘ve had a wee accident on site and need to look at my prequal processes.

    Harry was high on the scaffold and walked past a bit of protruding gutter. Poor bugger – cut off his ear.

    He shouted down to Larry…” Oi! Look out for my ear, I just cut it off”

    A bit later Larry calls up to Harry “Hey - is this your ear?”

    Harry looks down and says, “Nah! Mine had a pencil behind it!”
  • Frivolous Friday
    Theres only two places for passion: The fruit bowl and bedroom
  • Frivolous Friday
    So I was giving a tool box talk the other day. You know me – constantly preaching safety at work. Decided to focus on “speed”.

    “Does anyone know,” I asked the team, “what the speed limit is in our parking lot?”

    The long silence that followed was interrupted when Dave piped up. “That depends. Do you mean coming to work or leaving?”
  • Fingerless Gloves
    What does your risk assessment say in the context of fingers?
  • Frivolous Friday
    So I was busy yesterday. Reaching the end of a job interview, I asked the young Safety Advisor fresh out of university, "And what starting salary were you looking for?"

    The Safety Advisor said, "In the neighbourhood of $100,000 a year, depending on the benefit's package."

    I said, "Well, what would you say to a package of $200,000 a year, 5 weeks holiday, 14 paid stats, full medical and dental insurance, company matching Kiwisaver fund to 10% of salary, and a company car leased every 2 years - say, a red Mondeo?"

    The Safety Advisor sat up straight and said, "Wow!!! Are you joking?"

    I said, "Of course, .....but you started it."
  • Should higher penalties be applied to larger companies?
    Turnover is not a measure of business competence and it would be wrong to assume a large turnover provides ample funds for resourcing safety and other things.

    Take Fonterror. For example. $20b or thereabouts in revenues. But this year will make a $675m loss. They don't have the funds to pay a dividend to their shareholders who have invested in the company and who carry subsequent risk/reward.

    A fine would further punish shareholders / owners who have no statutory liability.

    The fine should be targeted at the Directors. Nothing to stop a Director being done for a few $mil in damages. Ask Jenny Shipley after her role in the mismanagement of Mainzeal. She could be up for $6m

    Theres also, broadly speaking, two types of company: large volume but low margin. Or low volume high margin. Arguably those with higher margin are better able to pay.

    Just because you have high turnover does not necessarily mean you are operating a higher risk environment. Selling milk is relatively safe. Producing it isn't.

    As an aside, I thought De Spa required the courts to take a defendants financial position into consideration. Something not mentioned in the Article.

    And to answer the question: If a companies accounts are to be considered Fine should be based on net profit not Turnover. This way only owners are hurt. Taking it out of turnover means potential reduced money for paying expenses - things like wages.
  • Does anyone have a really good guide to what safety reps can do to add value to a business
    For me, there are two approaches. You can take the legislative "Safety Rep" approach in which case the things they can do are defined by statute and in particular Schedule 2 of the Act. This creates lots of processes and Check Boxes which will keep people employed for many a happy day. Thus its self limiting - and needs to be. So therefore limits adding value - hence its not our approach.

    The second approach (which is the one we use) is the bin the Act and instead have Safety Advocates. They do loads of stuff like act as a mouthpiece on behalf of their department, have areas of particular expertise to answer questions (eg welding), get involved in new machinery implementation or product trials, help with re-hab / return to work plans (which are for non-work injuries since we don't have bad work ones), advocate on behalf of the business / employer. All sorts of stuff. None of it on a list. If it needs addressing it gets done.

    We are deliberately a non Rep, non unionised site. Purely because we reckon we can do a much better by working with employees at all sorts of levels without the need for official "reps". We like to keep things simple. Really simple!

    As a consequence when Worksafe come through we are able to check off all their compliance tick boxes and more.
  • Noise Test inside moving plant cabs

    And this is why each workplace needs to do its own assessment / measurements

    Two of our forklifts, when measured by external experts, exceeded 85 LAeq 8 hrs (dBA).

    This may explain the Noise Induced Hearing Loss of one of our operators - been that way for many years so can't say with any certainty.
  • Loading Unloading containers
    Our pallets are stacked outside the container then moved in the container by fork hoist. Makes sense to us - less distance to move things by hand - let the forkhoist do as much travel / lifting as possible.

    Its a (edit) tight space and there is no way we would allow workers and forklifts to operate in the same area at the same time. The back of a container is a dark and gloomy place, visibility isn't great and there is additional noise.

    That said, we build in pallet size / container size specifically into our product design process as we want to minimise packaging and maximise container utilization. Product is stacked, wrapped and racked prior to movement. We design as much manual handling out of the process as we can.
  • Health and Safety Representatives - Career Pathway
    We don't have "Qualified Health and safety Advisers" as a job. What we have are Health and Safety Advisers who may or may not have a qualification.

    I'm not sure I'd hire a Safety Rep as an Advisor. But I would give them a look in if they showed competencies in:
    - Oral communication (being able to get their message across verbally),
    - written communication (know what to to put in and leave out of a document,),
    - influencing (its not just about the message its also about how its delivered),
    - analysis (this might come from passing a qualification)
    - a customer service ethic (gotta remember the adviser is always serving a customer)
    - along with some commercial acumen.

    I'd be pointing them towards jobs that would develop these competencies.
  • Solvent exposures
    Back in a previous life I worked in a "cultured marble" factory. Both on the floor and as an installer - because I was the only one with a legal driving licence.

    We made spa baths. Relatively simple: mix 3 tubs of resin with catalyst, add color, pour into mould.
    All was good with our mixer guy (no respirator or air extraction) for the first two or three baths. But by bath number three his brain was getting a bit foggy and memory a bit hazy. So he often lost count and would end up pouring four tubs of resin.

    That became my problem as an installer. Each tub of resin weighed around 50 kilos and two of us could manage an 150kg install - which involved manual handling the bath in a sling.

    So now we had to mange a 200kg bath. In minus 36 degrees C, where our boots were Ice-on-ice, walking in residential construction sites up partially formed stairs with no banister or railing.

    Eventually the ski season ended and I moved onto warmer and safer environments.
  • Compliance Schedule
    Sorry can't help on that one. We don't really have "H&S Compliance". (Is there such a thing?) But we do have compliance.

    So for example I hold a diary / bring up system for things like Forklift and first aid training. Our chief Fire Warden is responsible for evacuations etc and Fire extinguishers so holds his own schedule. Today our emergency lights are being tested. Its part of building warrant of fitness and other functions and he has a schedule for all necessary things. Our Maintenance Engineer is responsible for pressure vessels and our Production Managers are responsible for things like chains.

    Compliance comes with good process. So when our auditors come through (and we have loads of them) they know which process / person to check. Our people understand that if it is their process then they are responsible for it - which includes compliance. Our "plan-on-a-page" is buried somewhere in ISO audit documents.
  • Workplace Bullying
    The Human Rights Act is a limiting piece of legislation - that is, If I want to discriminate against vegans (as an example) I am quite legally entitled to. Unless its a disability such as mental illness. I can even discriminate against a Vegan Muslim - provided I dont mention the religion bit. So there is a distinction between legal discrimination (or discrimination thats isn't illegal) and bullying.

    There is also the NZ Bill of Rights which gives people the ability to express pretty much any view - which brings problems when handling bullying at work. Those rights can be limited when in work time.

    Which is why "respect" is a useful, simple and powerful tool.
  • Workplace Bullying
    Respect isn't about definition. Nor is it about equality or about equity.

    Within our business we keep things very simple and say that every single person offers our business something and for that reason alone is why we will treat them with respect. A person has earned the right to work for us, therefore they have earned the right to be respected. (You dont get respect just because you are a person). So we dont tolerate language or behavior that is disrespectful of anyone.

    Our test, or simplest way of explaining it is "would you say / do that to your mother". It works for 95% of people.

    (As an aside good on you for hiring a vegan - but they don't have a right to express their weirdo views at work. But no problem with them doing so out of work. We ought not be busy-boddying in peoples private lives)
  • Slushy machines: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?
    Seems not that long ago Dept of Corrections was saying their 8 hour shifts were so dangerous in summer that slushy machines were needed to reduce core body temperature to prevent dire consequences to heat stressed staff.

    Well, bugger me. This now seems to have been forgotten as Corrections are set on introducing new shifts that will see 3 consecutive 12 hour shifts being worked. Https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/113578935/prison-officers-will-work-12-hour-shifts-in-new-roster.

    I smell something not quite right..............
  • Road safety: fix the driver vs fix the driving environment
    Seat belt use is an interesting one.

    According to a 2017 AA report " non-seat belt fatalities accounted for 19-26% of overall motor vehicle occupant road deaths between 2006 and 2016"

    That seems an instant pointer away from "roads". After all the years of Seat belt campaigns it seems "you can't fix stupid"