• WorkSafe: should it stick to its knitting?
    WorkSafe's remit is pretty broad and involves education, engagement and guidance for anyone who has duties under the Act; advice and recommendations to improve the broader safety system and establishing partnerships and collaborating with other interested parties. That pretty much covers everything Phil is suggesting here, so this is already 'sticking to its knitting'. MBIE wrote the legislation that requires them to do this, so the direction shouldn't come as a surprise.
  • Contracting out of safety responsibilities
    They usually include something like 'to the extent allowable by law'.
    As far as I understand it, when it comes to meeting legal obligations, these waivers don't really have any meaning - law will always override contracts/agreements
  • High potential consequence events (HIPO)
    This is exactly how we do it. Simple to assess. Much less subjective than thinking about likelihood. Although proper risk thinking is important, if you ignore the things that are unlikely, you end up with Texas City or Deepwater Horizon (depending on the nature of your business of course).
  • Vaccination requirement risk assessment
    I just commented on another thread about the tool the government is bringing out My worry @Brendon Ward is that it will just end up as a rating of some risk factors not an actual risk assessment, so that cut-off point remains a bit arbitrary. I would rather see a baseline assessment that is robustly developed using infection and transmission data that businesses can then modify up or down by applying those risk factors to their own circumstances. That would then give an objective assessment of whether or not risk is actually high
  • No jab, no job?
    @Sandra Nieuwoudt the government are due to release a template soon as part of some updated health orders/regulations. The intention is that it will give some legal basis to a risk-based vaccination mandate, so that employers who use that tool to determine their risk have some legal support to their decision. I'm not sure of the legal instrument they will use, but it feels to me like it is intended to be used almost like an ACOP - if you use it properly, the courts will support your decision. From what I understand it will be made as simple as possible so that any size business can apply it without the need for specialist expertise, so don't expect anything sophisticated. This, of course, brings its own challenges in terms of robustness from a purist perspective.
  • No jab, no job?
    @Peter Bateman Interestingly in that article she phrases the requirement as the risk needing to be higher than in the general population. I have not heard it couched in those terms before and am not sure where it comes from, or if it's right. I am struggling to think of any roles outside of healthcare where exposure to an endemic contagion would be higher at work than the general population.
  • No jab, no job?
    I feel for those of you working through this. Just to add to the pain (sorry), don't forget that, if the UK experience is anything to go by, by the time school starts again in February, the first tranche of people to receive the vaccine will start needing their booster shots. That is a whole other level of tracking and confirmation required which will only get more complex if and when different vaccines are approved that have different booster requirements.
  • Covid vaccination - can it be required on H&S grounds?
    This from the government's employment NZ website (my emphasis):
    Businesses cannot require any individual to be vaccinated. However, businesses can require that certain work must only be done by vaccinated workers, where there is high risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 to others. This will be a minority of all work in New Zealand. This could change if there is a significant shift in the COVID-19 situation domestically.

    There appear to be two reasons that businesses can impose vaccination requirements - one is if the role is specified within a health order, much of which is confirmed by the case law referred to earlier in the thread. The second is if there is a risk-based reason for doing it. This seems unlikely in most cases, but this may change if there are major outbreaks, for example. This seems reasonable advice and aligns with a sensible risk-based approach. WorkSafe's guidance around the need to risk assess is also fairly clear. There seem to be a number of knee-jerk blanket rule approaches that are beginning to appear. These seem, on current advice, to be ripe for legal challenge.
    I have heard of one (not sure if it's being implemented, but from a very good source) where plans are afoot to separate vaccinated and unvaccinated workers. It would seem to me that unvaccinated workers are your most vulnerable (whatever their reason). Putting them all together with all the other unvaccinated people looks like the best way of getting the cumulative risk to your workforce as high as possible from this particular hazard. People need to think very carefully about their plans and what they are trying to achieve.
  • ISO, NZ, AS/NZS Standards......whats the deal?
    Not a fan of general management system standards. Standards originally arose out of engineering where there were clear and unambiguous levels required to meet safe and reliable outcomes. This simply isn't the case within general management systems in areas such as health and safety.
    Some standards provide some very good guidance where they are about more specific areas and some provide reasonable frameworks to hang your management system off. My experience is that any value from certification is almost entirely dependent on the quality of the auditor and a good auditor will give that value regardless of whether you apply it to a formal standard or not.
    But, as has been said on another thread recently, the most important thing to consider is your business, your context and how your management system best supports that.
  • A court decision for your reading pleasure
    Superb. Love the idea of cats being allowed to ponce about town unregulated.
  • Telarc Audits - Re-write your SMS to follow ISO 450001 format
    Well said, Sheri.
    Push back. Push back. Then push back some more.
  • What can we learn from Australia?
    I think we need to be a bit wary about cross country comparisons as there are so many other factors that may influence the numbers. There is no direct industry comparison in this report between Aus and NZ. The different proportions of high risk industries may skew the overall data, as may the proportion of SMEs, but we don't know.
    Also, although the overall incidence appears higher in NZ, the percentage of injuries above 6 weeks time off is far higher in Australia and >1year is three time higher over there. Is this to do with the injuries, or the way the different compensation schemes work? If the injuries, does this mean we're actually performing better over here in terms of those very long term/permanent major injuries?
    The important question to me is not the comparison, but why the NZ figures have gone up significantly and understanding whether this is a real increase or a change in reporting/systems? Is this us getting worse, or stopping fudging our numbers to avoid arbitrary LTI definitions? The latter would tally well with an increase in overall rates, but a lower proportion of very long term impacts. But I wouldn't like to speculate without better understanding of all the underlying factors, which we don't get from this.
  • Privacy
    Competency records are a bit different - it is very justifiable to say I need proof that your electrician is qualified before I let them fix my system
  • Privacy
    My, non-legal, understanding is that if there is a conflict between the privacy act and HSWA, then HSWA would generally win out, but you would have to make a clear demonstration of the risk reduction being achieved by the information gathered (which would be the 'lawful purpose' referenced in your link. I would expect that to be extremely difficult except in unusual high-risk individual cases. I don't believe simple involvement in an incident would come remotely close to meeting any reasonable threshold.
  • How much is H&S technical and how much is it about people?
    Hi Peter
    This very much depends on how you are defining safety. For someone working as an engineer designing process systems for a high hazard facility, it is very much more than 5% technical. There are still major people elements, because people design, operate and maintain the facility. In more manual activities it is more highly people dominated.
    It perhaps says more about our approach that we even try to put a number on it.
  • The Test and Tag thread
    From Energy Safety

    Testing and tagging electrical appliances is one useful way to check electrical equipment is safe.

    However, it's not mandatory. What is legally required is that equipment is electrically safe and maintained in a safe condition.

    Testing and tagging doesn't guarantee future electrical safety, what it does is provide a snapshot of how safe the appliance is at the time of testing.

    It is up to the person conducting the business or undertaking (PCBU) to decide whether to test and tag. They can either get the testing equipment and train up a worker, or hire a third-party to carry out the testing.
  • My struggle to engage our workers and change the culture
    Focus on improving work, rather than identifying safety issues. Most people are happy to talk about making their job better. Remove frustrations, difficulties, pressures they face due to inefficiencies etc and then the safety improvements will come naturally enough. Most incidents are people trying to get the job done in some less than ideal situation. Fix that, no incident. See some of the recommendations on the safety book thread
  • Effective sign - Speed limit
    I will defer to the likes of @Karl Bridges on the psychology of this, but it seems to me a bad idea to normalise seeing children in the road that you don't have to react to.
  • Rebecca Macfie on Pike River, ten years on
    Hi Peter, some examples:
    Psychology and social psychology - understanding why and how people make decisions (we have started to make some good moves in this area)
    Systems engineering / systems thinking - how complex systems interact and the breakdown of direct cause and effect with increasing complexity
    Engineering - lessons to be leant from process safety and safety in design
    Risk management - understanding stochastic models and how that impacts on risk exposure
    Statistics - recognising why most of what we measure and track has almost no predictive value
    Leadership and management theory - for (hopefully) obvious reasons

    That's not exhaustive, though. This is what I wrote when thinking about this in my book:
    A top quality safety professional is conversant with organisational culture; organisational psychology; individual psychology; motivational theories; basic medical requirements; an understanding of chemicals and their effects; probability and risk theory; ergonomics; engineering techniques across all disciplines; operational activities across a range of industries; the process impact of temperature and pressure; legislation and regulation; communication techniques and influencing skills from workface to board and everywhere in between; statistical analysis and a whole host of other complexities
  • Rebecca Macfie on Pike River, ten years on
    One of the concerns I have about the safety industry is that it is too insular. We don't spend enough time listening to, and working with, people from other disciplines. As a journalist looking in from the outside, have you seen anything that you think we would particularly benefit from?