Comments

  • The Silliness of Zero Harm
    "Silliness" is an understatement. I rate "Zero Harm" up there with the worse of corporate nonsense along with "Diversity", "Equal pay/Gender Pay Gaps", "Rainbow Tick" and "Climate Emergency" - all which are myths ascribed to by a bunch of ardent faith based believers.

    Indeed, I'd go as far as saying it is a dangerous smokescreen which gives a sense of positiveness but is in fact destructive. It is a corporate distraction which focuses on the un-achievable but no doubt gives Boards and Management of sense of superiority. (I can't think why else a company would sign up to such nonsense.)

    Hard words I know - but look at the members of the Business Forum who have signed up to Zero Harm. Now look at the listed companies in that list and compare their share price now to what it was three years again. Half of them have overseen major destruction in shareholder value - that is, their Share Price now is lower than it was three years ago.

    And in that list is an organisation who I would rate as THE VERY WORST corporate bully (and incompetent organisation ) in the whole history of New Zealand. And I've spotted one who is/was into exploiting labour - particular foreigners. And there are others I know who have employees who have serious cases of OOS of the eyeballs from all the eye rolling they do every time a manager mentions "safety"

    I put a lot of this nonsense down to the "Wealthy Worried Well". Its a scourge which is inflicting our society more and more. We see it at a domestic level with those visiting doctors (and wasting Dr's time) for reassurance on non-issues. And now we see it at corporate level with wealthy decision makers looking for reassurance (from like minded group thinkers) that they are doing the "safe" thing while losing sight of their core business. They are happy to spend recklessly on "safety" while ignoring profitability (and productivity) or respecting those who have invested their hard won earnings into their businesses. We can of course put the Government Departments and Local Authority organisations aside as they have an unlimited supply of tax/rate payer loot to bolster their "safety" ambitions.

    At least those who sign up to "Zero Harm" have the decency to highlight their CorporateSpeak. We can't say we weren't warned when things turn to custard.
  • H&S as a function of HR?
    "Do you ever find you need to take off your HR hat and put on your H&S hat to get the best outcome?"

    Short answer is "NO"

    I think what we all must constantly remember and recognize is - who it is who is writing out our pay cheque. That is the person we are serving.

    I also have an approach which is to "always do the right thing". So if I do the right thing for the person paying my cheque, I will as a consequent be doing the right thing for the "workers" and also abide by whatever law might cover a given situation.

    I don't take off one hat and put on the other. I think it is essentially the same hat - that is: what is the best way to manage this particular risk/issue. Its a philosophical / ethical approach - and discussion on that means entering a rabbit hole!.

    So for example. We know bullying / violence is a risk. I've put in place a number of preventative steps. But when a guy pulled a box cutter knife and threatened a co-worker I fired him. Reflecting, I can see loads of steps in that total situation and each one I can say I 'did the right thing". One hat, two issues.

    (Some people are very mis-guided on what the right thing is. I find a fact based, evidential approach helps)
  • H&S as a function of HR?
    ":I'd be keen to hear your views about the differences between HR and H&S as business functions."

    Essentially none - both are about "risk" (and I dont specifically mean legal risk) and customer service

    Disc - I wear many hats. HR and H&S being 2 of them
  • Beards and Respirators
    At the risk of going down a rabbit hole we shouldn't lose sight of the "reasonably practicable" requirement. (Eg "to eliminate risks to health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable"
  • Beards and Respirators
    Point One is a bit dicey and may not be enforceable, or the employer may face accusations of discrimination by having such a clause.

    Employers need to ensure they make "reasonable accommodations" for hairy chinned people if that hair is due to religious grounds (or hirsute women).

    (Also a dumb clause in times of skills shortages - I'd loose half my workforce if I had such a clause)
  • Government Website - Hazardous Substances Calculator
    Its not used here. I prefer to keep all my risks recorded in one place and accessible to all staff.

    Once I have a substance and SDS I just go from there.

    Not a big fan of lots of different data management resources. Have one - keep it simple.
  • Do H&S-related roles in NZ pay enough to attract the best people into the business?
    Your thread title appears to assume "pay" is a primary motivator. Perhaps it isn't.

    Maybe a role where you can actually achieve something meaningful is more important and thus pay becomes less relevant.

    Maybe higher pay is needed to compensate for a raft of other (negative) issues a person might face in taking up safety related roles.

    Maybe pay should be based on post-recruitment achievements, rather than pre-employment potential.

    I've no idea if $96k is enough (as a median) as I have no idea what objectives / responsibilities might be tied to such a role.

    Is there any suggestion employers are hiring people who they dont think are the "best"
  • Mythbusters - NZ version
    A good way to start the month I reckon: Hair Straighteners banned at TVNZ
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/116121201/tvnz-bans-hair-straighteners-in-the-newsroom-to-minimise-risk-during-rugby-world-cup


    I reckon someone has read this article (http://www.syfire.gov.uk/beauty-buffs-risk-fire-and-burns-with-hair-straighteners/) which says " An estimated 650,0001 house fires in the UK have been caused by a straightener or similar device being left on.".

    Unfortunately that article is at odds with this article (https://www.firstalert-online.co.uk/fire-safety-facts/)
    which says "There are about 37,000 house fires a year in the UK, the majority of which are caused by electrical equipment misuse, mainly cooking appliances."

    Thankfully for TVNZ staff the RWC will end and the risk will disappear.
  • workplace carpark - reversing into the space, forwards out
    Sadly this seems to be the way of the modern world. Pick up any company report and it is loaded with stuff which strays far from the core purpose of the business. Our media is chock full of it as well.

    Saw a work car yesterday that had"This car has speed monitored by GPS" printed on the back. Whats that all about? Some boss doesn't trust his staff to obey the roads laws and wants to tell the world? Imagine if I was travelling at 50 or 100kph and could read the label - that's not going to make his driver any safer.

    Edit: Last place I was "instructed" to reverse park was Solid Energy offices. And look where they are now.
  • workplace carpark - reversing into the space, forwards out
    I sometimes wonder if there is a tendency to overthink things. And then I get to wondering why. And the only conclusion I can come up with is job preservation / creation.

    I dont know (because I dont measure) but I estimate I have about 1,000+ vehicle on site "road" movements a day from truck/traliors, forklifts, worker vehicles, couriers and customers.

    I recall three "near hits" in pretty much the whole history of the company which is very old. Once a courier was going too "fast" (purely subjective as we dont have speed cameras); once I had ice on the ground after a heavy frost and pedestrians were worried about slipping. And the third occasion was a complaint about a person who reversed into a car park with a bike rack on the back.

    Why people would give this issue even a moments thought, let alone actually try and change behaviour of non-invested stakeholders is totally beyond me.

    And thats five minutes of my life I'll never get back.
  • Frivolous Friday
    In response to an absence of a sense of humour and censorship there will be no more posts from me on the Frivoulous Friday thread.
  • Frivolous Friday
    There is no such thing as a "Gender Pay Gap".

    It is simply a metric that allows those who are otherwise unemployable an opportunity to work in data analytics which serve no purpose other than give moaners something to moan about and policy wonks an opportunity to create more useless policy.
  • Who would you use for a work place assessment following a lung health issue
    Having "excellent air quality results" implies testing with some kind of objective outcome.

    Where as your sons view is entirely subjective (I'm not allowed to call my sons car a POS - but his wallet is discovering that in its own time)

    We need to split the objectivity from the subjectivity. There is evidence the air is "excellent". All good.

    There is no evidence of the doctors subjective view that the employees lung issue is due to work. To come to a more complete view the Doctor needs to see the air results and then form a view relative to the lung results and all other air the employee is/has been exposed to.

    The beauty of testing (both worksite air and lung function) is you end up with objective results. Still doesn't mean to say the two are linked.
  • Who would you use for a work place assessment following a lung health issue
    You will likely find the Doctor is acting as patient advocate and first port of call for blame is the employer.

    Send a copy of the air results to the Doctor, along with PPE requirements. That will close that problem off

    That said, as added comfort I get hearing and lung functions tests done annually for staff exposed to higher risk environments. The only people with lung function change are those who smoke.

    You may want to look at your engineering controls - ie air extraction / changes/filtering.

    Don't be fighting battles if its not really yours to fight.
  • Frivolous Friday
    I rate LTI data in the same way I rate "Gender Pay Gap" data.
  • Frivolous Friday
    Sadly I had to fire someone today. One of our people managed a team and a staff member lost three fingers in an electric food mixer.

    I’ve done the accident investigation and I found the manager hadn’t done a proper whisk assessment.
  • Frivolous Friday
    I'm sensing some seriousness creeping into this thread. This will not do!

    So, two Corrections Officers walked into the Café. The first one says "I think I'll have a flavoured slushy H2O." The second one says "I think I'll have a flavoured slushy H2O too" Sadly he died.
  • How do you identify who is who on your site?
    We are a "High Viz Free Zone" and seem to be the only business in NZ who hasn't succumbed to this nonsense.

    We have two types of contractors. Those that have a "permit to work" which gives them total free range and no need to identify them. The others must be accompanied by a staff member at all times.

    How tasteless to stick guests in a high Viz. Urk!!! You wouldn't do it at home. Why do it at work. Our guests are accompanied by a host at all times.

    We do have an underlying principle that we treat contractors (including on-hire agency workers) in exactly the same way as we treat our own staff. Same expectations, same access to facilities (including cafe), same dress expectations. Same Same!
  • Clarification around imposing penalties to sub trades
    Your option "1" is inconsistent with the Wages Protection Act. You cannot make unreasonable deductions from an employees wages (even if they agree to it).

    A wage deduction would not be a reasonable consequence for failing to deal with a safety complaint / violation.

    There is one thing that reasonable employers can't do - and that's meddle with an employee's wage.

    Also if you paid your workers $22.60 an hour and deducted $5.00 an hour for a safety breach your actions would be inconsistent with the Minimum Wage Act.

    Option "2" is also fraught with difficulty