Comments

  • Calling for focus group participants - Companies who use labour hire / temporary work agencies
    Suggest you also contact the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association (RCSA) - the body that looks after professional agencies in that industry.

    I can't make it to the Focus Group but feel free to PM me a set of questions and I'll respond
  • Self identification on the Forum
    Doxing is a worse scourge. Our only worry should be the content/quality of posts, not the posters (though some here do like to play the messenger, rather than the message)
  • Paracetamol in First Aid Kits
    And to stay on topic it might be worth referencing Australia since they are much more up to date on safety than we are - that's why we copied their Act. From their Model code of Practice First Aid they say

    "Medication, including analgesics such as paracetamol and aspirin, should not be included in first aid kits because of their potential to cause adverse health effects in some people including asthmatics, pregnant women and people with medical conditions. The supply of these medications may also be controlled by drugs and poisons laws. Workers requiring prescribed and over-the-counter medications should carry their own medication for their personal use as necessary."
  • Expiry Dates on Training
    Some occupations / tasks have stipulated Code or Regulation type expiry dates. As we know Forklifts = 3 years. For us, we reckon, in our risk environment, our people could do with a refresher, to bring matters back to front of mind, every 2 years. Hasno Regs have 5 years for Certified Handlers. 5 years is fine for us.

    In the absence of Code/Regulation it is for you to consider your risk and set your own time limits to ensure your people are trained and safe.

    It gets a bit complicated when you have training providers (Such as First Aid) put a two year limit on their training, but if you look at literature, such as the Australian Code they reckon 3 yeas is fine. So in this instance you adhere to the training provider standards

    Like most things its situation dependent and you need to make your own call - worksafe won't ping you if you can show you are managing a risk through training. The time limit will, broadly, become irrelevant because if they come to investigate a serious accident there will be more apparent factors/fault that led to the issue.
  • Tips on using the Forum
    Cool. Thanks for that - a feature I'll make a lot of use of!
  • Paracetamol in First Aid Kits
    roflmao. Thanks Adam. Needed the laugh.
  • Slushy machines: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?
    Lets face it Jonathan. There are three types of risk assessments.

    Theres your Theoretical / Imaginative Assessment.
    To do this you need a safety qualification and belong to a safety club, be in a safety job and draw a safety wage. You need to do a review of the literature and an analysis of all relevant research, codes, regulations, books and any other current or historical information; form a safety group and review options after first multiplying, adding and subtracting values on variables and then come to a view which is that your coldest prison in the middle of winter will be at risk of heat related illness therefore we need to provide slushy machines in summer.

    Then theres your Realist Assessment. Here you take your hottest prison in the hottest ever summer with the largest ever prison muster and end up with no serious heat related incidents

    And then theres your Two Sense Assessment which is if it looks like a turd and smells like a turd it is most probably a turd. Proof of concept has shown that if it looks like a pudding and smells like a pudding then pudding is the risk..

    I shant be bothering with a further OIA as the answers are in the original answer. And by your own admission (teachers coffee machines) we already know tax payers are being ripped off so not much point confirming what already is known.
  • Worksite traffic management
    Sorry Mike - got no names for you. But we have been through this. First was creating a mind set of no vehicle moments on the floor. Once we got over that hurdle in was then just a matter of applying thought to re-engineering processes to achieve that. In the end it wasn't that hard. Vehicle movements now reduced something like 95% (and still not a high viz to be seen anywhere - hurray!)
  • Tips on using the Forum
    Hey Admin. Email to you bounced back undelivered. Only option on three dots is "share" icon.
  • Paracetamol in First Aid Kits
    Alan. I totally agree with you. Employees should put their big boy and girl pants on. If they know they get headaches they should bring their own medication. If its a rarity they should know to have something in their car, purse or desk.

    Do you want to supply every little thing for employees. Hanky dispensers (we provide tissues) tampon dispensers (we dont), incontinence pads (we don't - but there is a need) or all manner of personal health related stuff? Its a slippery slope.

    Most importantly, paracetemol is a terrible, terrible drug."After the death of 22-year-old Amber Nicol, who had taken paracetamol for a toothache, Dr Nigel Miller told the Coroner: “Paracetamol is highly toxic in only modest doses. It’s readily available as a medication for general sale [which] may give an unwarranted reassurance of its safety, whereas it can cause severe illness and death at doses only modestly above the recommended maximum.” Do you really want to be monitoring prior intakes and subsequent hand outs. Good luck with that. I cannot stress enough the low dose levels which are easily exceeded which can lead to irreparable damage and death.

    And look at my position. How can I fire people for selling drugs and alcohol on the premises if I am busy handing out drugs - that's hypocrisy of some great magnitude.
  • Slushy machines: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?
    I fully appreciate the discomfort corrections officers must feel. Its why I have so much respect for this guy: https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/110824214/panting-puffing-and-pushing-through-1300-runners-take-to-the-port-hills-for-memorial-run


    And yes - its seems not to be so much of an issue with police. They are happy with 32 degree heart and a drink of water. Only one heat related complaint from 600 staff.

    Seems the Minister of Justice, Andrew Little has a threshold he is happy to move well past past. 50 vest related injuries and over $27,000 in accident costs is "absolutely nothing' according to Andrew Little. Http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/354847/Stab-proof-vests-blamed-for-police-injuries

    Just as well since Corrections only had "significant discomfort"
  • Slushy machines: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?
    If you are looking for an electrolyte replacement you really can't go past nature. Bananas - $0.50 cents a pop. (Check out any running marathon event - you'll see them doled out at the end. And for good reason)

    If you want a cold slushy, defrost a 10 pack of popsicles for $5.75 a box.

    Versus a slushy machine at an annual running cost of $2,900 per machine (ex ingredients)
  • Slushy machines: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?
    I totally understand and appreciate "The vests that the Corrections Officers wear prevents their bodies to recoup from heat as this traps the heat."

    Despite that, the evidence provided by Corrections in the OIA (which presumably relates to all their different work areas, and potential "stress") is that the worst that happened was "significant discomfort".

    (Manufacturing is like the energizer bunny - it just keeps on going. Until such point a safety issue arises - there were none. There is no wandering outside where it is hotter or taking unscheduled smoko breaks. Shipping waits for no one)

    As an aside I wonder how many Slushy Machines NZ Police have?
  • Poll on manslaughter and marijuana
    I voted "no" for industrial manslaughter. We had the opportunity when the HSW bill was drafted. But missed it. Instead we now have a term of imprisonment of up to five years for an individual who acts recklessly. So we pretty well have the issue covered.

    I voted "no" for drug policy. I remain of the view that "impairment" is the gold standard and testing is broadly nothing but an intrusive busy body nosying into a persons private life. We will retain our policy that if any one is caught selling drugs or alcohol they risk being fired.
  • Slushy machines: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?
    I hope kids are taught, firstly to never take anything written on an intent forum seriously. And second never rely on the accuracy of anything on the internet unless it is referenced and even then tread with care.

    In the interests of precision I’ll try to provide direct quotes from the OIA which I use to come to the view I have. WARNING – they are typed rather than copy/pasted so errors are likely! I use these parts of the OIA to back my assertion that there was no consequential harm from the extremes in temperature and that Slushy machines are noting other than a “treat”.

    “During the summer of 2017/2018 NZ experienced significantly higher temperatures than usually experienced with Wellington recording its hottest January since records began in 1927. The heat caused significant discomfort to our staff”

    So from this it is reasonable to conclude that despite the hot temperatures no harm befell Corrections Officers. The worse they suffered was “significant discomfort”.

    A moment’s research will show Corrections temperatures are broadly accurate with NIWA saying “January 2018 (New Zealand mean temperature 20.3°C; 3.1°C higher than the 1981-2010 January average) was New Zealand’s hottest month on record,” A bit of further digging shows on 29 January Wellington experienced 28.5 degrees max for the month. (Just as an aside if it was me, I would have cited Dunedin who came in at 35 degrees on the 16th. )

    So we can conclude its hot, damn hot! Blistering hot. As hot as hades. As hot as hot can get. No doubt about it, she was one hot summer. But despite that the worse that happened to Corrections Officers was “significant discomfort”

    The other part of the OIA I rely on is “These actions, combined with the actions of our staff, were effective – with no major incidents occurring despite the conditions”.

    What further evidence do you need that the risks are well established and the actual real consequences known?

    It is plain as day that Corrections existing controls are working in the most extreme of conditions and the worst they can report is "significant discomfort".

    By way of a benchmarking exercise I checked our temperatures for that January. Our max was over 32 degrees. We have people working on a furnace burning at 900 degrees C wearing full length overalls, gloves and boots in an air pressurised / sealed tin building. As a ratio we provide 6 water drinking fountains, 2 instant coffee dispensers, 2 sugar dispensers and 1 powdered chocolate flavoured beverage dispenser per 150 staff. And not one single heat related issue at all. Certainly moans, but zero harm. Needless to say you won't see any extravagant, pointless slushy machines here! We take safety very seriously and we also have a very good understanding of cash flows and income vs expenditure. Which is why our people get pay rises every year - unlike teachers.

    I still haven’t seen anything in the OIA that suggests that this is anything but “wasteful expenditure” of tax payer money.
  • Tips on using the Forum
    Hey admin - howabout an option where we can edit our posts. I have a few that could do with tweaking!
  • Slushy machines: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?
    Theres one thing you won't know about me Jonathan. I have fat fingers on a keyboard and if any one wants to score points on the basis of spelling (and grammar/apostrophes - I'm a shocker at that as well) then I am always fair game.

    At the end of the day, it appears Correction Officers were subjected to extremes in temperatures and extremes in prison musters and there was no consequential harm. Corrections existing controls were working. Therefore no requirement for a treat dressed up as safety.

    If someone tries to tell me that Corrections needs one slushy machine per 25 - 30 staff (eg 4 machines for 110 staff at Invercargill prison - arguably the coolest prison in NZ), without even looking at the numbers of staff on per shift then we ought not be calling this "safety". We should be calling it "bullshit"

    Since that post of mine scored zero Love hearts I can't work out how you would conclude it was "click bait"
  • Slushy machines: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?
    Just so I’m not seen here as the “Negative Nelly” of forum posters I can offer a solution to Corrections problem which is how to improve the health and wellbeing of our staff. The answer is simple. And it is……… “pudding”. Or more specifically “You cant have any pudding”

    Research shows (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8990832) with a study of 218 soldiers who suffered heat disorder and 530 controls, people with a Body Mass Index of more than 27 are at an increased risk of a heat disorder when working in hot / humid conditions.

    Stop eating pudding is a very elegant solution. Costs us tax payers nothing and improves the health and well being of correction staff. Win / Win all around. And isn’t that what health and safety is all about!
  • Slushy machines: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?
    Thanks Jonathon. Lets have a look at your references in a moment.

    But first we should look at the question posed by Corrections, in the OIA request which is to paraphrase “Can we improve the health and well being of our staff”. Their answer being “yes we can – by buying slushy machines”.

    It is at this point we know the purchase of the slushy machines is not a Health and Safety compliance issue. We know this because the Act says “protecting workers and other persons against harm to their health, safety, and welfare by eliminating or minimising risks arising from work”. There is clearly a difference between improving health and protecting workers.

    So the obvious answer to Peters opening question has to be “wasteful expenditure”. There is no onus on an employer to improve an employee’s health – that is a personal responsibility.

    Corrections then go on to mangle the issue. They state they want to “reduce core body temperature in excessive heat conditions while minimizing the risk of sodium depletion”. I think that what we can read from this (and in a nod to your NZ First aid link) they want to reduce the risk of a heat related illness.

    The trouble with this is that Correction know there is no risk. They know this because their “research” says so.

    “What research?” some might ask. Well it goes like this.

    From the OIA document we can establish that the summer of 2016/17 is a control year with Officers facing three variables: environmental temperature; clothing and prison muster. That control year establishes the base line of zero incidents of heat related illness. (If there was I’m sure the OIA request would have mentioned it.)

    Corrections then move onto their test year – 2017/2018. Here they change two variables. They increase environmental temperature to “significantly higher than usually experienced” and “Wellington recording its hottest temperature since records began in 2017. “

    They also increased prison muster in excess of 10,700. The increase in these two variables saw the likes of Auckland working in temperature ranging from 27 – 29 degrees with a muster of over 1,000.

    At this point its probably worth noting that there appears to be no records kept of Officer core body temperatures (how do they know temperatures are reduced if they don’t know a starting point?)

    So what were the results of this testing? Nothing. Despite the significant increase in variables there were “no major incidents occurring”. The very worse result was “significant discomfort”.

    If we look now at your First Aid reference there appears to be four levels of illness. First is “Discomfort” which isn’t an illness or harm – its simply a yellow flag warning. Next is “Heat Cramps” (none of those were reported), then comes “Heat Exhaustion” (none reported) and finally there is life threatening “Heat Stroke” (and none of those were reported.)

    So we can now conclude there is no risk of heat related illness in the Corrections department work environment. There is no safety or well being issue to improve. So no need for Slushy machines. So it’s Wasteful Expenditure as there is no risk of harm to eliminate or minimize.

    Corrections then mangle the issue even further and let the cat out of the bag. “The Machines offer an ongoing benefit of……… improving staff performance during extreme hot weather”

    So its not a health and safety issue. Its a performance management issue.

    So back to Peters original question “H&S practitioners face this dilemma every day: seeking funds to implement an intervention, and being asked to justify the expenditure in terms of the expected reduction in risk.

    In the slushy case, what does the team think: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?”

    The answer has to be “wasteful expenditure”
  • Near Miss Reporting
    There was an actual ncident - that issue has already been determined by the fact it was observed and reported.

    The only issue for your meeting is a discussion on the realistic potential harm that might have arisen. That will keep them busy until the scones arrive.

    In the meantime if the incident had potentially bad consequence you would expect the business managers to get on and fix the matters before it got to some staff meeting.