• Peter Bateman
    In the Sept/Oct edition of Safeguard magazine going out to subscribers in a few days we pose three questions based on stories in the magazine. One of them is this:

    WorkSafe is proposing to disestablish 120 roles to save money and the chief executive is departing.
    If you were the incoming CE, what would you do first?

    Feel free to respond here on the Forum, or privately here via a Survey Monkey form.

    (Before responding, you may wish to take a look at the Forum Guidelines, in particular the Forum Behaviour Rules.)

    An edited selection of responses will be published in the Nov/Dec edition, but with no names attached. One randomly selected person will receive a prize, namely a copy of the book Work, Health and Wellbeing in the Construction Industry, by Helen Lingard and Michelle Turner.
  • Rachael
    Get more officers back on the ground to learn about 'work as done' and figure out how to best support businesses to get their people home safely (and healthily).
  • Don Ramsay
    Totally agree they need to better understanding of what is going on at the coal face.
  • jason farrow
    yep. look into a instant fine situation as a tool to encourage compliance for the small stuff that can turn ugly. take it out of the court room.
  • Matthew Bennett
    Inspectors are placed in a no win scenerio when given the expectation to 'best support businesses'. They enter a site and talk to folk, poke things, ask questions, watch and then ........ ?
    • Their tools are improvement notices, prohibition notices, infringement notices or a prosecution. When they use these, they are often labeled as being a drag on business. (Kudos to the PCBU's who take these as an opportunity).
    • If they don't use these tools 'society' asks: 'what are you doing then!' and 'why aren't you spending time where there are problems'
    • To counter this, they have teams in the back-office writing guidance and interpretation that is accused of being 'out-of-touch'.
    These are all valuable and necessary functions / activities, however doing more of one, less of the other leads to weaving down the road, rather than strong movement forward. Something new needs to be added.

    Aside from building morale, confidence, mana and professionalism within the Inspectorate and WorkSafe NZ, as the CEO I'd:
    • Re-launch a comprehensive myth-busting program to ensure that people are clear on what to focus on and where things are heading.
    • Drive both the inspectorate and PCBU's to be absolutely focused on the "The Purpose" of the act (that the people who create the risk take responsibility for managing the risks). While there are a lot of applications for the Act on the outer edges, at this time in OCCUPATIONAL H+S development in NZ I believe it is essential that we get good at the fundamentals.
    • Not settle for 'do a risk assessment' in any publication - This is such an easy throw away term. We need to assist people understand what it means and looks like to apply this in 'work as done'.
    • Drive strong and direct, personal relationships and partnership between the inspectorate and the key influencers and subject matter experts - those folks on the HASANZ register and similar. They too often sit on opposition, when they are in fact working on the same problem. this isn't about having a principal advisor doing a presentation or the occasional appearance at a CPD event. They should work a problem together.
  • Rachael
    Inspectors are placed in a no win scenerio when given the expectation to 'best support businesses'. They enter a site and talk to folk, poke things, ask questions, watch and then ........ ?Matthew Bennett

    Learn about the actual risk in front of them in context and not the perception of risk. The Engage, Educate then Enforce mantra worked really well in the sectors that were given enough resources to see a difference.

    Of course there will always those business who will take advantage of the engage and educate approach which is where I agree that more teeth are needed in the 'enforcement' side. :)
  • Matthew Bennett
    I quite enjoyed the Engage, Educate, Enforce approach. Unfortunately, as you point out, there were business that took advantage. It also wasn't always supported by some politicians, and the public who either wanted us to back off (from enforcement), generally when it was their friends, or accused us of being soft when they needed a good headline or number (they never like the nuance behind a statistic!?).
  • Steve Schroder
    This is a hard question.
    if you are asking what i would achive in the for 90days, i would say almost nothing. the first 90 days of any role at that level is about understanding the drivers for the buisness and what levers can be pulled to affect positive change.
    My first 90 days would be spent talking to key stakeholder from through out the entier orgainisation as well as extrnally, then considering that feedback develop a plan to move forward.
    I will cavit this with the fact that i dont belive there is serious commitment at a goverment level to resource WSNZ adaquitly, so mr Haszard has a big and challenging time ahead of him.
  • Stuart Keer-Keer
    Put away the suit and tie and go and meet the team, all of them. Listen to what they have to say.
  • Jackie A
    He needs to listen and review what has happened and then quickly confirm their strategy for the next 1, 3 and 5 years and stick to it. He needs to create a clear message so that people internally and externally know exactly what Worksafe is there to achieve. He then needs to get people out of offices and back on the ground to help businesses and enforce rules.
  • Steve H
    Don't take the role on unless you get sufficient financial resources to do it properly, from the get go, WS has suffered from under funding. Beyond that, all the posters make valid points.

    In any role I've held, listening to,and working along side the troops has always been the way to separate MD/Directors wishful thinking from actual reality.
  • Andrew
    1. Get rid of that dumb cat you see when you launch the Worksafe website (I know - its some small things that irritate me - but it a telling sign of a lack of fucus)

    2. Every person would get a copy of S190 of the Act. They would be required to do a self assessment on how they actually achieve the "functions" with evidence that they are actually touching the outside world. Managers would do the same for the staff - and also be tasked with identifying any non-"function" activity's. Any person not contributing 100% to the function would be down the road - with a bit of leeway.

    3. Now the core team has been found get them to identify the 20% of things that contribute 80% of the major problems. (The usual suspects Farming / Fishing Forrsty / Construction likely to be key contenders). This will form the basis of the priorities which will be focused on to develop the strategic plan

    4. Let 80% of your people loose on the that 20% of thing's. The remaining 20% of the staff can look at improving the lot of the 80% of other things

    5. Remind the teams that if what they are doing does not tick off one or more of the 11 functions then they are to stop doing it. Immediately.
  • MattD2
    Every person would get a copy of S190 of the Act.Andrew
    Even though section 190 is specifically related to what other regulatory agencies functions can be, rather than WorkSafe's functions (which the Act S189 effectively just says your function are this Act), I completely agree with you that section is a better guide for WorkSafe to gauge itself against.

    I would add to your list to take another look at the Health and Safety at Work Strategy (required under S195) with MBIE (currently for 2019-2028, so we're half way through this period already). The current strategy is baiscally just a list of aspirations rather than a strategic plan, and where there are any actual "strategic" aspects they focus on how the strategy should be developed rather than what the strategy actually is (making the current Health and Safety at Work Strategy effectively pointless).

    And get rid of the stupid we're going to cut fatalities/injuries/ill health/etc. by ??% by year 20XX "goals" - create an actual strategy, set specific actions that need to happen to implement that strategy, and then make sure WorkSafe are hitting those actions. They can then look at the data to make sure the actions they expected to improve H&S (in NZ as a whole or under a specific scope) are actually improving H&S - and then review and revise the stragety...
  • Alan Boswell
    Having just read the latest copy of Safeguard and the article about prosecutions falling short, I would require WorkSafe inspectors/investigators to understand the standard of evidence required to bring a prosecution.
    While this may sound controversial, defendants having their prosecutions dismissed because evidentiary standards haven't been met is not doing WorkSafe any favours. Especially when it seems that there would be a case to answer. Although I will admit to not knowing the ins and outs of these cases (Mount Somers Sand and Iso Ltd) it did seem that on the face of it they should hold at least some responsibility, and yet the cases were dismissed on lack of evidence, because it did not meet the criminal standard of beyond reasonable doubt. Do the WorkSafe investigators understand what is required? If so, why are they falling short?
    Whilst I'm not a fan of prosecuting when help would be more appropriate, when a company is deserving of prosecution at least get it right!
    Friday rant done!!
  • Steve H
    It's interesting to contrast WS and Maritime NZ Alan, the latter seem to have a laser focus on bringing prosecutions successfully.
  • Alan Boswell
    I agree, but even they failed (seemingly) miserably in the Iso ltd case. It was dismissed without the Court even considering guilty or not guilty! More experience/expertise needed I reckon.
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