• Jackie Brown-Haysom
    With Covid-19 now one of NZ's most regular imports the ongoing incidence of virus transmission within MIQ facilities is a bit of a worry. As is the fact that in almost all recent cases, those infected have visited public places while unknowingly being Covid-positive. WorkSafe has firmly said that it regards the pandemic as a low priority for intervention, but when these recurring random cases have the potential to cause a Melbourne-style outbreak, do you think there is more the regulator could/should be doing?
    And do you feel like you know enough about the right processes and protections for your workplace to prevent staff getting sick if an infected person happens to visit?
    In some other jurisdictions (Australia and the UK among them) the regulators have been more actively involved in Covid management- but obviously that hasn't prevented workplace transmission. So has WorkSafe got it right, or would you feel a bit reassured if it opted for a higher level of engagement?
  • Chris Anderson
    The Ministry of Health is better suited for Covid-19 response and information, and they've already pumped out a whole heap of information earlier this year on processes and protections.

    Other industry bodies, such as CHASNZ, have put out information as well. I would say most businesses already have robust Covid-19 plans and procedures in place, and if they don't I'd wonder what they've been doing since March.
  • Peter Bateman
    Two questions for the board and senior management of all frontline workplaces (the managed isolation and quarantine hotels, the hospitals which treat Covid patients, and international airports/seaports):
    • are all available controls against Covid risk in place (and how do you know)?
    • is the remaining residual risk to workers at a level acceptable to you?
    These are the sort of questions a regulator like WorkSafe would be in a position to ask, should it choose to do so.
  • Andrew
    All I seem to be reading is "PPE this" and "PPE that" for this "tricky" work related risk.

    Imagine if a Worksafe Inspector came to my place. "Oh I see you have a tricky piece of dangerous plant" "That's Ok Sir, I've issued PPE"
  • Peter Bateman
    PPE and residual risk are highlighted in this RNZ story this morning.
  • Andrew
    I can only conclude that this SARS / Covid in fact is a very low risk thing.

    If it was anything other than that the various employers in the chain would be taking appropriate and significant risk management steps and MBIE would be in boots and all enforcing our legislation.
  • Jos Bell
    The Ministry of Health is better suited for Covid-19 response and informationChris Anderson

    I agree with this entirely - in a country the size of NZ, the last thing we want with Covid-19 is different government departments, all very well-meaning and all with a slightly different focus, clouding the issues and information for workplaces. I believe WorksafeNZ has indeed been involved with "frontline" organisations including MIQ facilities, and in relation to other workplaces is entirely right to focus on just reinforcing the messages from the Ministry of Health.
  • Adam Parkinson
    At the recent LegalSafe event, the WorkSafe CEO commented on their view that their interest in Covid19 was low in the sense of how they allocated resources. It was a fairly cool-headed comparison of deaths annually - 700-900 health-related, 70-90 workplace accidents, vs 28 (to date) for covid. And that based on those figures they had higher priorities for their spend, and that MoH was the proper place for the response to reside. And that they did not want to complicate the response by providing 'competing' info. I think he also commented that the last thing they felt people/businesses needed was anxiety and confusion-raising interventions or threat of interventions during the higher ALert Levels.
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