• 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?
  • When to Stop Recording Contractors LTI Days
    I have to ask the question - why does it matter?
    He has had a serious injury. Presumably, you have done what you can from a learning and understanding perspective and implemented any improvements you can. Does it make any difference to how you operate whether he is off for 2 weeks or 12?
  • FENZ (Covid-19 Fire Safety Evac Schemes) Amendment Regs 2020
    Thanks Ross - I had no idea this was in place and we're linked into various channels, including directly to the MBIE and all of government response to the pandemic.
    We have abandoned it (sorry - not the question you asked!). We focus on the potential of the incidents that occur and the lessons we learn from investigating them. There are so many pitfalls with TRIFR and, even worse, LTIFR. The main one being that it drives people to spend all their time manipulating categories to stop things being recordable, rather than focusing on what happened, caring for whoever was hurt and how to improve.
  • Tag Testing
    This might help a little It is worth noting that testing and tagging is not a mandatory legal requirement, which most people are unaware of. It's about risk management, not blindly following pre-set intervals.
  • Laying charges against officers: a useful strategy?
    There is also a significant difference between directors of small organisations who are very hands-on and those of larger businesses that are operating a genuine governance model. I believe the officer duties were intended to emphasise the latter, but the Australian experience has been almost entirely owner-operator type convictions. I imagine these are easier to make stick.
    I would rather see an educational strategy first. Looking at most boards, there is a significant lack of people with detailed operational knowledge, let alone specific safety knowledge and, related to @Sheri Greenwell's comment above, almost every board went to lawyers to understand their obligations, rather than safety specialist to understand how to get better. The IoD guide has a very good set of questions for officers to ask, but no real guide as to what a good answer looks like.
  • Mental Health / Wellbeing Policy
    We have used this model as the basis for our wellbeing approach - it has been very well received so far and is a finalist in the Diversity Works awards
  • Legality on company ToolBox Meetings
    I assume you mean "not a legal requirement" rather than "not legal"?
    Some previous discussion here
    There are requirements for making people aware of hazards etc. A toolbox talk is one way of meeting some of these obligations, so it is a bit more complex than whether it is or is not a legal requirement.
  • What value do we put on a life?
    It's a very interesting question and far too complex for simple numbers that governments try to put on things.
    Risk is highly subjective. If we put a multi-million dollar cost per life when thinking about medicines for example, things get very costly. Latest figures (2017) gave about 25000 new cancer patients in NZ. Admittedly not all will be at risk of death, but you could suggest that untreated, they may all be. At $4m per life that is $100bn which is four times the health budget - just for cancer patients (this is obviously over-simplistic). You can do similar numbers looking at the NZTA spend against 350 fatalities per year. Individual projects stack up, perhaps, but a higher level view may not.
    But if you look at a probabilistic analysis, a widely used 'broadly acceptable' limit for workers is 1 in 100,000 risk of fatality per year. A cost benefit analysis would suggest $4m is too low. In my view, anyway, but as I say, it is very subjective.