• MattD2
    @Mike Cosman has started a couple of great thought provoking posts of late that I would be keen to see more discussion of within our NZ H&S profession - particularly his thoughts from today's NZISM new (https://mailchi.mp/nzism/news_2020_jan22?e=f4b8d4a9a4) on the issue of heroism.

    I have a couple of thoughts on the ideas raised in the article, firstly within the H&S legislation there is some protection for a PCBU from a employee voluntarily putting themselves in harm's way through the duties of an employee to follow any reasonable instruction - this however isn't as broad of cover as the tort of volenti non fit injuria as it first requires there to be a "reasonable instruction". In the case of a Helicopter tour company if they had a known and understood emergency response plan to a volcanic eruption that all helicopters in the air would immediately return to base and be grounded until further emergency response is developed yet an employee pilot decided to ignore this and risk their life to be a hero, then the company should not be liable for any injury cause to/by that pilot that would not have happened except due to the pilots personal decision. The key here though is the need of a clear emergency response plan. It would also not cover any repeatedly disregard to procedures/plans without action to correct as these would be seen as acceptance of the deviations from the inaction.

    Secondly one of the critical sentences in the article is "Those first responders have to make these impossible choices at short notice and with limited information." We need to do more to understand this (and accept this) reality when it comes to emergency planning - every emergency situation will be different and so rigid step 1-7 plans will always fall short of managing those situations. We need to consider how we can provide those managing a emergency situation (especially those first on the scene which are likely our employees) with enough valid useful information (and resources) quickly to be able to make the best decision possible (and not be faced with a seemingly impossible choice).

    Keen to here your thoughts on the article, or on my thoughts.
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