Comments

  • Rapid antigen tests
    Andy Bunyan just had email to our query about RAT availability from from one of NZ's approved suppliers Roche Diagnostics NZ Ltd. They are out of Self Test RAT (a global problem) and stock that requires a medical professional to conduct the test is not due into the country until at least March.

    At a minimum quantity order of 2500 kits (5 tests a Self test kit) and a 1 year shelf life
  • Vaccination requirement risk assessment
    Thank for that yes the more I delve I see, and hope my PCBU doesn't learn HSWA is in the backseat as I try to push engineering controls for clean air in a workplace that does not meet the scope for all 600 workers to be vaccinated but nevertheless it is required because of the transmission hazard. Yes the Mrna technology is an amazing breakthrough imagine the day when bodies can be instructed to produce bone marrow for leukemia patients for example
  • Vaccination requirement risk assessment
    MattD2 my mental health and stress just increased exponentially with having to lead the consultation process, engagement and participation with the workforce on the work site for the senior leadership teams proposed vaccination policy. With a Worksafe guide beside me that says "your focus in the risk assessment must be on the role – the work being done – rather than the individual performing the role. If you want your employees to be vaccinated for reasons other than work health and safety that is an employment matter" whilst the risk assessment completed by a consultant says vaccination is warranted because the business needs to continue to operate to support NZ food supply and animal welfare concerns through shut down disruptions

    With no HR I am now having to listen to staff concerns (these are minimum wage workers, for some english is a second language) about inserting magnets or growing two heads while trying to keep an impartial face on while referring them to talk with their GP or the MOH 0800 number; hearing workers complain off bullying from direct supervisors and co-workers re vaccination status, union reps. up in arms wanting pay increases for vaccinated staff; production complaining that are understaffed and already turning away job seekers and Winz beneficiaries because of their vaccine status and I have four workers complaining of health issues post vaccination (that we took them to the center to get). Do I register them in our accident/incident register along with my own stress and mental health I wonder.
  • Control measures for a Covid world
    Steve H Increased rates of cleaning of staff rest rooms is one of the measures Irish employers are using.
    Great work from Ireland, hoping like heck they get it under control particularly Waterford the hometown of my daughter-in-law..
    Yes, well have watched in vain for MOH to give the people any form of advise on boosting immunity, I have had to send such booster packs off to friends and family testing positive after arrival in MIQ from Europe
  • Control measures for a Covid world
    Preventative risk management to boost immune systems in both vaccinated and unvaccinated workers. Issue bottles of Vit. D3 and Vitamin K to activate (alternatively two serves of sauerkraut a day). Why, who for and dosage link at bottom of comment.
    In areas where there is high community transmission or risk of e.g. planes, poor air flow boardrooms/office encourage nasal sprays, regular nasal washing (similar to throat gargle) and blowing nose instead of inhaling mucus (virus from infected individuals is more able to enter the respiratory track by sticking to mucus in nasal cavity where it is ingested)
    https://youtu.be/fbGug3rczx4
    COVID-19 Mortality Risk Correlates Inversely with Vitamin D3 Status, a Mortality Rate Close to Zero Could Theoretically Be Achieved at 50 ng/mL 25(OH)D3: (125 nmol/L) Results of a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/10/...
  • Vaccination requirement risk assessment
    Thank for response. I have no peers to ask what best practice looks like in this regard; my direct report is to my site manager who sits on the senior leadership team, i have been in this role 10years with high compliance rate. If I raise any such concerns it is seen as not in buisness best interest. I am fully vaccinated because I have compromised immune system. Due to my role working from home is not an option during lockdowns so for me it makes sense to have multiple layers of controls to reduce risk. I have increased interest in looking for anything that's working well because my two year old grandchild will migrate with my fully vaccinated son and his wife to her home town in Waterford, Ireland, next year where currently her 75 yr old mum is on 3rd booster and has covid as does her 5 year old neice, I hope to never see that level of infection in this country, so coercion to do something that works makes sence but is it the right thing to do
  • Vaccination requirement risk assessment
    Excuse the rant, but if not here, where? What work requires a vaccinated worker? According to consultant who completed RA using Worksafe template on all 600 workers (not yet mandated and a essential service operating throughout all levels) across four sites from CHCH to Auckland will need to be vaccinated otherwise infection spread in the workplace will have a substantial impact on business interests and animal welfare. Vaccination Policy with full vaccination by x date or termination of employment now on my desk for worker consultation and engagement with HS committee etc.

    How do I resolve the conflict? Does the Covid Health Response Act and mandatory orders (likely on 29/11/21 for vac. cert. workplaces) supersede HSWA?

    Appears not if you take this direct quote from Worksafe Regulatory Approach "We continue to support and encourage businesses and services to meet requirements under the relevant COVID-19 legislation alert level requirements orders (and) the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015"

    (and) then implies that the Covid 19 Health Act does not supersede the HSWA. This is really important because the PCBU still has duties and responsibilities to ensure that there is to be no harm in the workplace that they are unaware of and no risk of harm that they are aware of that they haven’t taken measures to counteract.

    People at the moment seem to believe that the order supersedes their responsibilities and are in effect committing an offence by transferring the duties and responsibilities to someone else by promoting a lesser degree of due diligence by promoting that the order says that the harm in the workplace is the virus and the only control measure is the vaccine.

    Worksafe guidance says it is not reasonably practical for the PCBU of a big organization to do due diligence as its on the Ministry of Health website, does this absolve a PCBU from looking at the likes of The Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM) for instance when it is readily available? And the likes of which even the World Heatlh Org. says it is likely only 5% of all such reports are actually made.

    If these were normal, circumstances and you were introducing a control measure for a harm
    that a medical authority went public and said it is directly killing individuals and you ignored that to comply with an Order then you would be prosecuted under the HSWA but we are told do not do any more due diligence than what the Ministry of Health has done for you - even here I am told to not question the science. Is not due diligence an ongoing evolving process as more information and data comes out about the vaccines and the risks than when they were first introduced alongside other medicines and testing procedures (Ministry of Health this week said vacciantion does not stop infection or spread so rapid testing is recommended) coming onto the market..
    .
    There are some risks associated with the vaccine but they are very rare. But if one of those risks is the vaccine has directly killed people the PCBU cannot ignore that. You can’t introduce something into the workplace for something like flu like symptoms that may in some circumstances be extremely dangerous to only a few individuals and in doing that require healthy individuals to take it when it is the only option available to them knowing that it is directly killing some individuals.

    That responsibility for what is in the vaccine is for the PCUB to resolve if coercing a healthy worker to take it. If they are not able to resolve that then they are the ones who should be asking for that to be resolved. Its illegal to not do this but to do it because someone else said you must do to follow this order. In effect suspend the HSWA in order to implement that order?

    Did not the death of the workers at Pike River which gave birth to the HSWA teach us anything about regulatory failures in duty of care or the lack of full disclosure in worker consultation and engagement.

    So by presenting the Covid Vaccination Policy for consultation without full disclosure of known harms mean that I too alongside my PCBU commit an offence under Sec. 47 of the HSWA or am I absolved
    because I followed orders.

    I will attach a couple of documents that might be of interest to some, the actual risk assessment is not mine and it is not something I would refer to in its entirety but it has a couple of good links that I thought worthy of exploring (and its to late in the day for me to separate them out here for this comment) as I completed what I thought was a risk assessment to determine what roles on this worksite would require a vaccinated worker similar to what I do with heavy manual handling roles requiring a worker with high degree of work fitness.
    Attachments
    SDS (592K)
    Risk Assessment of Vaccine (243K)
  • Covid vaccination - can it be required on H&S grounds?
    It is an essential service so has operated through all levels of lockdowns

    Thank MattD2, yes I am aware of all you have said, I doubt if my PCBU and HR are aware, I have had to correct so many of their assumptions a number of time through the course of implementing the business plan on the floor, each work site has a HS Advisor who all have been sidelined from the plan so I too am learning to not expect the rules to be logical
  • Covid vaccination - can it be required on H&S grounds?
    So effectively this is the CEOs of most of NZ's large companies saying that there is no need to do a risk assessment anymore before we mandate vaccinations in any of our organisations.

    In my organization of 500 staff employed between 4 sites in the north and south Island anything to do with covid from its onset is decided between PCBU and HR and then we are all instructed what is required of us under the plan including the recent obtaining of individual vaccine status. HS role has been to source best PPE; conduct extraction/ventilation surveys; and police hygiene practices are followed. This morning I have been given the heads up that the workplace is looking to register in the Vaccine Cert. Scheme. The business is not open to the public, entry is restricted, it is not involved in the boarder, health care, hospitality or hairdresser industries. It is an essential service so has operated through all levels of lockdowns and has had not one incident of covid outbreak in the work place. Tell me again how this comes under Health and Safety Leg.
  • Covid vaccination - can it be required on H&S grounds?
    I think this whole thread just shows how many perspectives there are on this matter, overall a reflection of the confusion emitting from our leaders, enforcement agencies trying to enforce it, HS in workplace and our workers.

    Our right to refuse medical treatment is protected under common law and is written into the Bill of Rights Act, Section 11 “Everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment”. By compelling a person to receive a medical treatment or lose their employment they no longer have the ability to provide informed consent and are instead providing coerced consent.

    The Covid-19 Public Health Response Act 2020, powers granted to Ministers are confined to the Bill Of Rights Act 1990, that Bill would override such legislation, including ministerial powers under such legislation; they would need to justify any limitations ordered on those rights, really it can only be overridden when someone or some group shows up with Ebola or some other plague

    Therefore the threshold for mandatory vaccination is high especially for workers who are non boarder facing or employed in health care. Mandating it for teachers, tradies, KFC workers is questionable.

    There is no definition of Covid other than flu type symptoms in the Covid Act otherwise the Act would fit into the framework of the NZ Health Act, part 3 Infectious and Notifiable Diseases purpose of which is the prevention of outbreak and spread; powers under both pieces of legislation are not dissimilar.

    This seems to fit with panels of experts such as the EU High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID)and Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP). Tasked with guiding UK public health response on up to date worldwide data for mortality from the like of viruses like diseases. HCIDs include Middle East respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

    In as early as March 2020 and still applicable today, they classified covid as a non-infectious disease of note due to overall low mortality in the general population.

    They found that those most of risk of death are those at: end of life in a hospital setting including home based respite care due to fragility, disease or comorbidity; and, the medical teams, caregivers and families of those patients; and that

    Numerous factors skewer mortality rates including: standard of available public health care; health of population ( >90% of all USA covid deaths is said to have occurred in people living with 4+ comorbidities); available treatment options (UE has for example lifted the ban on a treatment option with an almost 100% success rate in reducing mortality in all covid patients incl. those most at risk) our Covid Bill seeks to prohibit the use of that treatment in NZ ) and rates of naturally acquired immunity in the population as reported out of Israel suggest vaccine against preventing COVID-19 infection was reported to be 39%], substantially lower than the trial efficacy of 96%]. It is also emerging that immunity derived from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may not be as strong as immunity acquired through recovery from the COVID-19 virus .A substantial decline in immunity from mRNA vaccines 6-months post immunization has also been reported

    While vaccinations form part of a business’ methods of controlling the risk of infection, employers must therefore have other plans in place if workers refuse. Our prime minster spoke of quick fire rapid test kits in workplaces and airports already in use in other countries.

    For employers who make vaccines mandatory to continue on-site work, by doing so it could lead to legal challenges in the future. Employers must be prepared for that and weigh up alternatives to mandatory vaccinations if it comes to it.

    We will also need to consider that we already know that both the vaccinated and unvaccinated carry the same viral loads, what implications will this pose for say a vaccinated electrician with viral load going into the home of a new born to complete work.
  • Covid vaccination - can it be required on H&S grounds?
    CO2 monitors to identify poorly ventilated areas and Irish protocol Steve H
    We started using the C02 function on our multi gas detectors early on in the pandemic. It has proved invaluable in identifying poorly ventilated areas in the workplace. My Irish daughter-in-law supplied me with a copy of their workplace safety protocol, it is comprehensive and an excellent guide. I am sure there are many more innovative technologies that will come to market and form part of our controls such as the home test kit and pulse oximeters.
  • Covid vaccination - can it be required on H&S grounds?
    Interesting public statement out of Australia this week in respect to a worker who appealed against being fired for refusing a flu vaccination. The key take away on pages 31-44 Part 2 of the decision being when asked if employers can mandate covid vaccinations under a public health order the Trade Unions, Business Counsel, Fair Work Commission and Safe Work Australia answered NO it cannot be mandated in almost every work place in Australian when there is another alternative to assist employers to meet their H&S obligations and that is by means of testing (PCR) as testing is arguable a better control measure than vaccines, given that the purposes of the vaccine is to reduce symptoms rather than prevent vaccinated workers from carrying the virus.
  • Hypothetical Vaccine Query
    Whist not currently mandatory it is encouraged and staff are incentivized with shopping vouchers on producing the 2nd shot vaccine card. We have called an ambulance for one staff member following a sudden medical event (emergency services asked if we could check if worker had recently had the shot, they had) and we have had one worker called to ICU when his partner developed a reaction to a shot. Interesting in the USA, OSHA has taken an unprecedented step in suspending the requirement to report adverse injuries or deaths from workplace mandated shots until May 2022.
  • Masks where wet, heavy physical work is performed
    the use of face coverings is mandatory for all employees and customers at businesses and services that ]are open to the public? We are not open to the public. We have 150 staff on site are they then deemed public?
  • Temperature Checks for Covid-19 at work
    We have an optical lens at front door it takes temperature and displays it on sign in tablet or it can divert to 1st aid or H&S computers. A first aider complete a heath questionnaire with each individual coming in..questions like have they been anywhere outside of work and their bubble, do they have cough, cold, etc. In these crazy upside down time many staff feel assured that we are screening out any potential virus carriers.
  • EAP Providers
    We use EAP Services made a referral last month. Our worker preferred face to face counselling rather than ph option which they tried to push. I think we had to wait 3 wks to see somebody not ideal but it is what it is in these times. they sound really busy
  • Who pays medical costs for a work injury
    Thanks everyone got to bottom of it talking with ACC and employment lawyer. Seems we are not obligated to unless stated in employee contract. Which states you must immediately report all incidents, injuries, the Company may require you to be medically examined by a medical practitioner nominated by the Company at the Company’s expense if we believe the injury warrants medical attention/time off work. Hmmm seems H&S good faith differs to accounts team.
  • Who pays medical costs for a work injury
    Our workplace injuries are managed by ACC not the employer; levies are roughly $700,000 annually for 500 staff, down from a million 5 years ago. Our work is in the meat work industry where workers are incentivized to worker harder and faster with piece meal rates and higher pay rates if can keep pace with machines. Injury rates have declined due to procurement of automated cutting machines forcing ¼ workforce into redundancy, ergonomic workstation overhaul, 20 minute task variation/rotation, hourly micro pause etc. We have a preferred medical provider who works hand in hand with an ACC approved occupational therapist. We encourage early reporting of DPI with reduced hours at full pay under a rehab plan to rest and strengthen soft tissue. Our GP knows we only seek medical intervention when the plan fails to alleviate symptoms.
    Injuries requiring immediate medical attention (3 recent ones come to mind a: driver while off site rolled ankle on uneven surface; breaking ankle b: worker was concussed when a 25kg carton fell from an over stacked stack he was attempting to push through a door way it was not designed to fit under c: cleaner failed to wear cut resistant gloves when handling blades sustaining cut requiring stitches.
    More often than not lately we are unable to get an immediate appointment with our preferred medical provider so that leaves our alternative provider with whom we have an account; an Accident Medical Centre where $50 surcharge for x-rays applies and is not charged to the account or A+E at the hospital. Both these centres are over run with long waiting times; 4 hours for concussed worker and 7hrs for broken ankle.
    Our norm is to transport the worker to medical and wait if cannot get their significant other to attend and/or wait to pay x-ray costs etc. should that be required – workers are unlikely to have a spare $50 in their pocket. Both the above centers discourage visitors to keep occupancy numbers and social distancing in check as well as a place I would not by choice spend time in; it is a long day sitting in carpark, is anyone else in similar circumstances or have an alternative plan to address this would be appreciated.
    Workers reporting injuries and then seeing their own GP’s are reimbursed the fee should it be requested. Workers who fail to report injury and see their own GP are not reimbursed the fee. In both these instances almost 99% GPs puts the worker off work on ACC.
    So my question is do other companies pay for workers medical fees, x-rays, physio etc. for a work injury or is the worker required to pay the going rate less the subsidized ACC contribution?
  • Supermarket safety
    Me thinks fast becoming the ambulance at the bottom of a cliff for the escalating numbers of the marginalised, broken, and sad causalities of the underfunded, overstretched and inequitable systems of care! In my own community I am increasingly seeing (hearing of) persons exhibiting anti-social behaviour in public places, this was not the norm in this community, pre-covid. Sad, but not a bad idea to wear risk assessment hat when entering such places e.g. no handbags, phone/credit card in pocket, groceries packed before go to carpark etc. etc. On the work front both H&S/HR are increasingly dealing with workers and their personal issues impacting on work/employment.
  • "Digital" OHSMIS - Occupational Health & Safety Systems used by companies in NZ?
    In the past we have used the vault and mango but found like MattD2 said integrating it with the wider organisations systems proved to be a quagmire. Now we just have a health and safety register (incident, hazard, training) on our organizations digital system