Comments

  • 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.
  • Prosecutions against landlords or property managers
    I'm not aware of any in NZ - pretty low probability I'd say. Worksafe would go after contractor in first instance. I don't think there budget would go to a landlord prosecution.

    From the tenants point of view much better chance of getting some loot from the landlord via the tenancy tribunal than getting anything via worksafe.
  • Stop/Go Gloves
    Just an observation. Looks like the high viz vests were a waste of time.

    If you have drivers not understanding clear verbal and hand signals I'm not sure a coloured hand will make much difference. Proably better just to manage a wide exclusion zone. Obvious question is how many lives were, or nearly were lost due to poor hand signal communication

    O
  • Paracetamol in First Aid Kits
    No over counter pharmas provided. Get the tight arses to go to the chemist at lunch time
  • Slushy machines: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?
    Well, I've enjoyed reading some of the research. Some of which looks totally bogus and others is really only of interest to high performing athletes.

    A few summaries included:
    1 piece used 8 males. Gave them a cold slushy , let them rest for an hour. Results were a rectal and forehead temperature drop better than a neutral or warm drink.

    Another I found much more interesting. Used 12 of athletes and tested over a 10km run. This time they were given a slushy pre-exercise. Results were for slushy suppers improved performance in their times. Core temperature did drop pre run by about 0.5 a degreeC. BUT core temp increased greater than ambient drink. And after the trial core temp was higher with Ice. So the slushies could be creating a problem!

    Another study of 8 cyclists showed the ice cooled the core in both a 32 degree c Vo2max exercise and Time Trail - but no improvement in performance. The catch here is that exercise trial was at 70% VO2 max and the time trial was over 10km. Conclusion is cooling may only be beneficial during long periods of exercise when a person is under high heat stress. There aint no way Corrections officers are working at 70%VO2 max.

    And if you really want an option you could look at the menthol with cool water -that was a success as well.

    Seems to me is that what we have is the use of irrelevant research to support a "feel good" exercise dressed up as Health and Safety to get the funding.
  • Slushy machines: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?
    Jacki
    Again another broad rule of thumb. Walking 10 kilometers will burn approx 1,000 calories. The body holds this amount very easily as carbohydrates. (Theres around 2,000 on hold waiting to be burnt.) no need for extra sugared just a healthy lunch and maybe a snack is all that is required.)
  • Slushy machines: wasteful expenditure or justifiable intervention?
    I'd be interested in a copy of the research. The literature I've seen says the opposite.

    On the face of it I reckon the slushies are a waste of money and a treat dressed up as Health and Safety.

    There are two issues here. Over-heating and dehydration.

    To solve the over heating you either try to remove the heat source or slow the process of the exterior of the body overheating the interior. (You cook from the outside in, not the inside out). Putting something cold into the interior does not cool the exterior. The other solution is to allow the exterior to cool more efficiently. So a breeze over the exposed skin (especially after a spray of cool water) would help achieve this. As would allowing better movement of sweat away from the body. Aiding evaporation is the key. Another idea would be to provide a warm drink as this triggers the sweat response.So a slushie isn't going to solve exterior overheating thus it won't solve interior overheating.

    Indeed the last thing you want is to put something cold loaded with calories into the body. While you might get a momentary sense of coolness the body has to work hard to bring the cool liquid up to temperature in order to get the digestive process working. A process which burns calories which in turn creates heat. Double trouble if it has to burn calories to process energy in the form of sugars.

    Stands to reason that you don't want to introduce additional calories into the body - the body has to burn them which creates heat.

    And broadly speaking you don't need to replace carbohydrates lost due to the exertion as the body already has a decent store. A healthy snack at smoko and a decent lunch will see a person through. Non of this "sports drink" garbage for extra carbs

    The other issue is dehydration. Obviously as you sweat you loose hydration which at some point needs to be replaced. The simplest (and cheapest solution) is to provide water. (Not cold water - see above).

    But as you sweat you also loose electrolytes - the most common being sodium. The broad rule of thumb is if you sweat at the rate of 1 litre per hour you loose approx 1 gram of sodium. Your body already has a reasonable store of sodium so this won't be a concern for an hour or two at least. So if you are having a healthy snack at smoko you ought to be replacing the lost sodium at the correct rate.

    Heres a simple sweat test to try at work or at home. At the start jump on a set of scales (clothed or naked - its you choice) and take a reading of your weight. Now go and exert yourself for an hour. Jump back on the scales in the same state of dress as when you started. Measure you weight loss. In my case, I can run for one hour in 20 degrees and loose 1 kilo (= I litre) and thus 1 gm of sodium.

    The other potential unintended consequence is an individual drinking too much water via the slushies. The risk here is the Sodium concentrations in the blood get diluted and drops below the preferred 135 milliequivalents per litre of blood. Its also a problem for the kidneys

    So the proper manged risk response is: get individuals to measure their water loss through sweat and then provide them with timely measured water replacements. Have evaporation resources (such as air movement or water in spray bottles ) available. And of course provide for decent rest breaks in a cooler environment to give the body a chance to equalise core temperature
  • Mythbusters - NZ version
    Thankfully sanity prevails.

    A few days ago it was reported that Oz Navy Personnel were banned from marching at an ANZAC dawn service because it was in the dark and there was consequently a Slip/Trip/Fall risk.

    But now ""We will take sufficient safety mitigations prior to that activity to make sure they don't slip." says the head honcho.

    Its written here in the media so must be true. Https://www.theherald.com.au/story/6031073/defence-backflips-on-anzac-day-decision/?cs=7