• Chris Anderson
    49
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/120107398/national-to-promise-commonsense-legal-test-for-workplace-safety-rules

    Just wondering what everyone thinks about this?

    My thoughts, "commonsense" is anything but common.

    "One of the final straws for me was going to small business office environment and their health and safety consultant had told them they needed to include things like the steam from the kettle on their list of hazards. This is Darwin-test stuff," Bridges said. - This sounds like the issue is with the consultant, not the law.
  • Rachael
    74
    Have to agree. It's the consultant, or maybe the interpretation of the consultant rather than the law at fault.

    I don't have a voting preference as far as parties go - but when I heard this on the news this morning (and how the media managed to combine it with National scrapping 'unfit-for-purpose' Regulations during the same story) a couple of red flags did pop up.
  • Andrew
    277
    I actually don't have much difficulty with steam being on the hazard list.

    Provided that all other much more serious risks are being given their due, proportional attention.
  • Catherine B
    8
    When we talk about common sense, we are making an assumption that all people have a fundamental shared set of experiences and beliefs that shapes their actions - which of course is completely untrue!
    Common sense is absolutely subjective and extremely situational. A sixteen year old school leaver let loose in an engineering workshop is going to have a completely different understanding of hazard and risk compared to the old guy who has been working there for forty years. The danger comes when employers think common sense exists as a hive mind state amongst their workforce.

    I'd also like to think that if a steam burn from a kettle has been identified as a risk, then surely the control would be to get rid of the risk by using something other than a steaming kettle (there are alternatives available out there) - which would in turn mean it can be removed from the 'list of hazards'
  • Chris Hyndman
    49
    Sounds like he should start with introducing tests for dodgy consultants, not the law that they are misinterpreting .
  • MattD2
    109
    Is the actual statement being made getting confused, possibly in part by Simon Bridge's explanation including such comments as scaffolding for low-rise residential housing not working to reduce risk?

    This "common sense test" is not about removing H&S regulations and leaving it up to individuals to decide what's good enough based on an individuals common sense - it is to focus those writing our laws to make sure that regulation is the right level for the rule in question to sit in the legislative framework. To me terming this as a common sense test is not the best description of the actual intent, but I understand that this is the best way to describe it to the general public who are not up to speed on the particulars of how our H&S laws work.

    My opinion is this is about ensuring that the government is utilising the full range of legislative instruments to its advantage to effectively influence how businesses in NZ operate - this goes from rigid regulations which are hard to keep current but very effective at holding businesses/people to account during prosecution, through Safe Work Instruments and into Approved Codes of Practices and Guidelines which are (/should be) better at keeping current but are a less concrete standard to hold someone accountable to.

    Well that is what it should be about (and the rest of the 2-for-1 rhetoric) - but it seems like another political message that has been ballsed up by personal agenda being put over political needs.

    Politically... come election time I feel that I will again be wanting to have the option of voting for "no confidence" in any of these parties...
  • SafetylawyerNZ
    63
    I was really disappointed to hear Simon Bridges saying this stuff, as it reinforces the negative perceptions too many people have about health and safety, and ignores the value good health and safety provides. It seems to me that if "common sense" was so common, we wouldn't have the appalling health incident outcomes that we have. There is (in my view) a lot Simon can and should be hammering the Government about, but this is not one of those things.
  • Michelle Dykstra
    49
    @SafetylawyerNZ
    it reinforces the negative perceptions too many people have about health and safety
    I agree totally. It's a perception that managing safety is a waste of time and resource as though there is a default safety-net called "common-sense".

    Using the words "common-sense" to define a government or regulatory approach is quite objectionable - a cop-out and an open door to shift blame onto workers and may be used to imply workers are idiots (i.e. failed the 'Darwin-test') when they get hurt.

    Regarding the examples given in the article, having managed a high-turnover cafe, burns including steam burns are definitely in the top four common injuries in a kitchen environment. These often do not result in LTI's but they are particularly painful!

    I am not convinced either that work on single-story buildings can always be safely done without scaff-holding or similar work platform. I wonder whether in making these statements, Simon has made any consideration for injury stats for falls from just a few metres or the basic need for risk assessment.
  • MattD2
    109
    I am not convinced either that work on single-story buildings can always be safely done without scaff-holding or similar work platform. I wonder whether in making these statements, Simon has made any consideration for injury stats for falls from just a few metres or the basic need for risk assessment.Michelle Dykstra
    Maybe we just need to take him up to a 1st story balcony and push him off when he least expects it... and then see what his comments are after he recovers :wink:
  • Trudy Downes
    25

    Bwahaha!

    Give him a one inch heart attack (when you walk off the end of overlapping planks and the next plank is not where your foot expects it)
  • Steve H
    9
    Hmmmm, wasn't it on National's watch that saw the scrapping of the mines inspectorate as a part of the last "silly rules reduction" exercise to help our mates do things at lower cost, where did that one go?

    But,hey in the interest of giving the Nat's some workable policy, here ya go scrap ACC and give workers back the right to sue where they are damaged, drop the wordy HSAW 2015 and replace it with. "Your business shall not in pursuit of it's activities cause harm to any employee of your business or person that comes into contact with your businesses activities, products or services, whether immediately upon contact, or by gradual process or transmission"
  • Aaron Marshall
    44
    I'm going to take an opposing view, after having direct contact with an un-yielding rule. This is not a hypothetical, its exactly how it played out.
    We carry out trap monitoring on a wildlife sanctuary, but to access it we have to traverse the local port. The only other access is via boat, and the public usually access it as part of an arranged tour. For us, access involves driving across the port property, and parking next to the gate to the sanctuary.
    However, our son is 7, and the Port's policy is no-one under 15 is allowed on port property because of 'health and safety'. Our total exposure is approximately 2 metres from the car to the gate.
    Ironically, he's regularly on the operational area of an airport...
  • Janet Mary Houston
    17
    Simon Bridges does no-one any favors with his statement, we are only just starting to gain traction and buy-in by businesses and individuals - he has not looked at the bigger picture, instead trying to inflame or create a popular topic to gain more voters. I hope we all see through this deception and know that, whilst not perfect, Work Safe is the entity that will help to bring down our dreadful stats. And I 100% agree = common sense is distinctly uncommon at most NZ workplaces. I've seen 12m ladders held together with plastic times, welders without respirators, unsecured window cleaners 5 floors up, a child as young as 9 years old assisting with roof cleaning ... I kid you not and the list could go on and on - H&S professionals should compile a book of them - common sense is still uncommon in NZ.
  • Sheri Greenwell
    168
    I have been watching with interest as the HR people try to grapple with safety requirements and expectations for people working from home as they prepare for COVID-19 response.....what a minefield!!
  • Andrew
    277
    I had to rescue my son who was plunging to the depths after stepping off a wharf.

    I wouldn't think for a moment that the wharf people should be responsible. It was a place enjoyed by many.
  • Aaron Marshall
    44
    Ours is a working port area, not a publicly accessible wharf.

    Thing is, there are cruise ships berthed there, and no age limitation on people getting off the ship and onto busses.
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