• Peter Bateman
    36
    From time to time health and safety is cited as a reason for doing something (or, more often, for not doing something), when on closer inspection it becomes apparent that H&S has little or nothing to do with it, and is being used as a spurious excuse, a convenient all-purposes cover to conceal the real reason.

    In the UK this happened so often in the media that the Health and Safety Executive felt obliged to create its Mythbusters challenge panel.

    In New Zealand the latest case appears to be the mayor of Tauranga citing H&S as a reason why the council could not intervene to assist beggers and rough sleepers. It is difficult to imagine which law he is referring to.

    If you come across further examples of the mis-use of H&S then feel free to note them in this thread.
  • Michelle Dykstra
    9
    Great idea Peter!

    Worksafe have their own Mythbusting page however this is to address general misconceptions about the Health & Safety at Work Act rather than specific cases.

    Check out https://worksafe.govt.nz/managing-health-and-safety/getting-started/mythbusting-and-faqs/mythbusting/
  • Paula Luijken
    1
    The op-shop on my street "cannot take donations on Sundays due to health and safety regulations"
  • Glenn Taylor
    21
    Despite "edukashun" being afforded to almost everyone its odd that in todays age there is still a huge misunderstanding of the term "Elf un Safety" and how it is hijacked for things nothing to do with it as in Paula's example. A tad sad but also quite entertaining when reading them :-)
  • Janet Mary Houston
    7
    Certainly Bunnings Onion Gate saga should be added. I was asked recently to raise the quality of toilet paper because "it was a H&S issue" - I declined and suggested asking the H&S Rep to raise it at next H&S Committee with management present. However I don't have enough fingers or toes to count the number of ludicrous things that have been brought to my attention as "H&S issues".
  • Murray Belchamber
    5
    Even Lawn Bowling Clubs are being plagued by myths. There are claims aplenty that "the Safety industry" makes rules that the clubs must do certain things or risk massive fines. The things include such rules as removing rink markers from the banks around the greens, banning the drive [a fast bowl aimed at clearing out other bowls], stopping bowlers from sitting on the greens banks, etc. The common reaction to these "rules" is for bowlers to rant and rave about the way bureaucrats are trying to control the sport and every part of our lives. Then they start implementing the rules without checking their validity.
  • Tony Walton
    8
    MYTH: The new law just means more paperwork for everyone.
    Health and safety isn’t about completing endless forms and having health and safety systems in a folder sitting on a shelf. In fact, under HSWA there are only two documents that you are legally required to have – an accident register and a list of all of the hazardous substances kept on your business premises.

    You are required to have a system which identifies and manages the risks created by the work you do. The system doesn’t need to be complex, it just needs to clearly identify the risks, record the steps you have put in place to manage and communicate the risks. If a notifiable event occurs, then you will be required to keep a record of the event for five years. Notifiable events are those workplace incidents that result in a death, serious injury or serious illness.

    Major industry surveys in Australia show 60% of health & safety compliance costs are actually self=imposed by industry itself through their health & safety people or external consultants.
  • Natalie
    0
    At the Safety Expo earlier in the year I spoke with a gentleman at the WorkSafe stand. Upon voicing my concerns regarding endless paperwork and documentation and what was actually required, he advised me that EVERYTHING needs to be documented. So much so that conversations with people (face to face, phone etc.), about anything at all related to H&S should be documented so it could be 'proven' what was said by each party.

    According to him, if it isn't documented then nothing happened and you infact didn't do anything about prevention so everyone will be just as culpable as each other and will be penalised to the fullest extent of the law. As a relative newbie to H&S (2 years' experience), this left me quite worried and also perplexed about the information that is given from different sides of the spectrum and I'm still not overly sure as to the extent of what needs to be documented and what doesn't.
  • Alan Johnson
    8
    Hi Natalie, yes indeed document everything as much as possible - the Worksafe person is correct. "If it isn't documented, it doesn't exist" is on the money - I have also been told this. You need to document everything - "Document" is pretty broad-brush, it doesn't mean you have to hold on to reams of paper, it applies to e-mails etc.
    This is particularly advisable if you are having H&S "issues" with, e.g. an individual or management, especially when these issues result in an accident.
  • Rachael
    19
    Quick diary entries and whiteboard messages are also very handy when needed :)
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