• Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome - anti vibration gloves
    An update on my last post. I just catalogued another research report into Endnote. The report is:
    Hewitt, S. (2010). Triaxial measurements of the performance of anti-vibration gloves. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0795].
    The report summary says:
    "The aim of this investigation is to either confirm or challenge the assertion made by a particular machine manufacturer, that the glove they supply will provide useful attenuation of the vibration generated by their hand-held power tool products".
  • Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome - anti vibration gloves
    Hi all.
    I've been recording all 1,161 HSE research reports in Endnote (proprietary software). A search has found 16 that include "vibration" as a keyword. Some may be helpful.
    If one of the reports seems interesting you will need to visit the website and then look for the report number (eg, for the first in the list below copy/paste into your browser and then go to the list that includes report 613; click through to download the report).
    To make life easier I'm planning to also include in the database the IOSH research reports (and any others I can find) and then in 2021 include their use when teaching Master's papers at Victoria University. This is part of helping practitioners become professionals.

    Darby, A. (2008). Whole-body vibration and ergonomics toolkit. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0612].
    Darby, A., & Pitts, P. (2008). Whole-body vibration and ergonomics of driving occupations: Phase 2: Port vehicles. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0613].
    Heaton, R., Hewitt, S., & Yeomans, E. (2007). Correlation between vibration emission and vibration during real use: Fastener driving tools. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0591].
    Hewitt, S., Heaton, R., Shanks, E., & Mole, M. (2007). Correlation between vibration emission and vibration during real use: Polishers and sanders. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0590].
    Hewitt, S., & Mason, H. (2015). A critical review of evidence related to hand-arm vibration syndrome and the extent of exposure to vibration. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR1060].
    Mitchell, R., Garner, K., & Vaghela, S. (2004). Implications of the Physical Agents (Vibration) Directive for SMEs. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0267].
    Pitts, P. (2008). Whole-body vibration of ground-preparation activities in forestry. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0636].
    Poole, K. (2009). A review of the literature published since 2004 with potential relevance in the diagnosis of HAVS. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0711].
    Poole, K., & Mason, H. (2006). Temporary threshold shifts as indicators of hand­arm vibration exposure. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0479].
    Poole, K., & Mason, H. (2008). Data mining in a HAVS referral population. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0666].
    Poole, K., & Mason, H. (2008). Upper limb disability and exposure to hand-arm vibration in selected industries. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0666].
    Poole, K., Mason, H., & Mcdowell, G. (2008). The influence of posture and environmental temperature on the diagnostic ability of finger systolic blood pressure. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0665].
    Scarlett, A. (2007). Whole-body vibration on self-propelled forage harvesters: Evaluation of emission and estimated daily exposure levels. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0544].
    Scarlett, A., Price, J., & Semple, D. (2005). Whole-body vibration on agricultural vehicles: evaluation of emission and estimated exposure levels. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0321].
    Shanks, E. (2007). Correlation between vibration emission and vibration during real use: Nibblers and shears. Health and Safety Executive [Research Report RR0576].
  • dust control
    I've been experimenting with a dust lamp to make visible what is invisible and then photograph the dust (the Tyndall's beam effect). This avoids the immediate need to carry out personal monitoring and results have been quite dramatic. In one case I caught fibres "on camera" as well as dust and was able to show how quickly the extraction system efficiency reduced as the hood was moved away from the work.
    This does not remove the need to carry out personal monitoring but does give a quick and effective way of showing managers and workers the problem.
    The dust lamp I'm using is actually a Ryobi torch with a high intensity halogen bulb (do not look into the light!). I'm planning to compare/contrast with a similar but old torch that was sold as a dust lamp.
    An HSE note on the dust lamp is at
    If others are interested in this work I'm happy to collaborate "off line" and work up some simple guidance with case studies.
  • Gender in health and safety in NZ
    Hi Michelle and other colleagues
    I just checked the split for the paper I'm teaching for the MA at Victoria University this trimester. The split is almost exactly 50/50 with 9 male and 11 female students.
    And while 12 are Kiwis, the others are quite a multinational group.
  • Who influenced you?
    in June 1975 I caught a train from Rugby to London and found I was sitting with Jeremy Stranks for an hour. I had graduated in 1974 and done a diploma in air pollution control. As an EHO I was enforcing the UK HSWA 1974. Jerry told me that H&S was going to be an important area of work and persuaded me to do the then Coventry Technical College Diploma in H&S.
    Two years, 36 weeks each year, two nights a week, three hours each evening.
    No regrets.
    Jerry is still going but his book is a bit old school.
  • Docu-Dramas
    The US Chemical Safety Board has videos of investigations they carried out. The links are posted at: I will try to find some clips to use in the two occupational health and safety papers I'm teaching at Victoria University.
    And the book about Chernobyl is brilliant.
  • Risk Management Training
    Hi Natalie, you could try the paper I am teaching at Victoria University of Wellington!

    HLWB509 "Identification, Assessment and Control of Hazards and Risks" is a single semester paper that starts on Monday. Officially enrolments have closed but you might get in if you enrol before midnight today, 9 July.

    The paper forms part of the Master's in Health (details at More on the paper itself is at

    The paper is taught entirely online. I have created a full handbook, and I'm videoing interviews and interesting clips. If you do the paper and do other papers you could earn the Master's!

    Phone me on 0274713723 if you want to know more.

    Lecturer in Occupational Health and Safety
  • to ISO or not to ISO
    My Victoria University students who have been studying HLWB507 "Principles of Health and Safety Management" have been looking at ISO45001 and SafePlus. Along the way I introduced them to a research article: Cohen, A. (1977). “Factors in successful occupational-safety programs”. Journal of Safety Research, 9(4), 168-178. The article is hard to get but the key findings were found "to include
    1. Strong management commitment to safety as defined by various actions reflecting management’s support and involvement in safety activities.
    2. Close contact and interaction between workers, supervisors, and management enabling open communications on safety as well as other job-related matters.
    3. A workforce subject to less turnover, including a large core of married, older workers with significant lengths of service in their jobs.
    4. A high level of housekeeping, orderly workplace conditions, and effective environmental quality control.
    5. Well-developed selection, job placement, and advancement procedures plus other employee support services.
    6. Training practices emphasizing early indoctrination and follow-up instruction in job safety procedures.
    7. Evidence of added features or variations in conventional safety practices serving to enhance their effectiveness.
    Management commitment to safety was believed a major, controlling influence in attaining success in industrial accident prevention efforts. Open communication between workers, supervisors, and management was also considered of great significance. Overall, the nature of these distinguishing factors suggested that maximally effective safety programs in industry will be dependent on practices that can successfully deal with “people” variables".
    The article is 43 years old and much has changed in that time (including item 3) but, for me, the above 1-7 are basics and might get a medium-size business a great management system.
    Apart from teaching this and risk management I plan to research some of this over the next few years. Participants welcome!
  • Legality on company ToolBox Meetings
    HSWA section 36(3)(f) requires "provision of ... instruction ..." and section 61 requires "practices that provide reasonable opportunities for workers who carry out work for the person having control of a business or undertaking to participate effectively ..." I think toolbox meetings fit these requirements provided workers are able to participate (eg, Q&A).
    Toolbox meetings may fit best with work that is carried out intermittently, or that requires a permit-to-work and in many situations a toolbox meeting might be the simplest way of making sure that workers are reminded of the work practices they should/should not follow in a given situation. It s not a substitute for appropriate training.
    Should those present be asked to sign the minutes? That might not be practicable. The minutes might not be available to sign for a day or so and might not include all that was said. Could the meeting be recorded (audio or video)? I would certainly be reasonable to have an attendance list, especially if the work is high risk.
  • What value do we put on a life?
    A few years ago I looked at each of the Australian, UK and NZ numbers for the "value of a statistical life" (VOSL) - what we should be willing to pay to prevent one statistical death. A statistical life is not you, your child or (for me) any of my grandchildren. After allowing for the exchange rates at that time each of the values was about NZ$ 4.5 million.
    Working as a consultant, my advice to clients was to inflate that to $5 million. Sometimes this caused a change in a system of work, sometimes no change because the number was too large. One client doubled that value to $10 million to force through change. So how much should Pike River been willing to spend on the ventilation system to remove methane? Each shift normally had 30 workers underground. Should they have been willing to spend 30 x $5 million = $150 million? I think the cost of the system was about $2 million. A bargain, unless that would bankrupt the business. Are you then entitled to gamble workers' lives?
    Now working as a Lecturer in OHS at Victoria University I am revising the content of the Master's paper on "Hazard and risk" in trimester 2. As part of the teaching I will ask a health economist to talk to the students about the concepts of VOSL and alternatives such as Disability adjusted life years and their application to "reasonable" in the reasonably practicable test.
    Perhaps the ultimate valuation test is to get your CEO to think how they would feel if being cross-examined by Crown Law in a prosecution following one or more fatalities. Ask them how much they would wish they had spent. Unsurprisingly, economists refer to this as regret. Read Kahneman's book "Thinking, fast and slow" for more on that.
    PS, Victoria has a free fees offer in trimester 2 for study. It's subject to conditions but could be worth using for CPD.
  • Why should workers care about Accreditation?
    My response would be that she or he needs to think about how they meet the objectives of their client, other workers and the law. There might be a way that meets them all.
    Example: running up and down, and moving a ladder might be tiring and inefficient. Using tower scaffolding might be less tiring and more efficient.
    Think safe system of work in section 36(3).
  • Passing on fines
    See section 29(2)(b) and (c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. What you're describing is illegal, WorkSafe could prosecute the two parties and no court would uphold a claim by one against the other.
  • Is Sexual Harassment and Bullying a Hazard? HSE vs HR vs Employment Law
    I agree with pretty much all of the above. But nobody cited the definition of health in the Health and Safety at Work Act. It "means physical and mental health".
    So, anything that could cause mental ill-health must be dealt with under section 36(3)(a) "... work environment that is without risks to health ...". Given the allegations about misconduct in Parliament I wonder if the MPs and officials who wrote the Act thought about that. Sexual harassment and abuse can result in lifelong harm, just as much as physical trauma.
    In the first semester I'm teaching Principles of Health and Safety Management at Victoria University (part of the new MA in OHS programme) and have asked a Health Psychologist colleague to talk during the Block Course about mental health and its place in OHS management.
    PS. Professor Joanne Crawford, the WorkSafe Professor of OHS arrived this week. Yay!!!
  • PEACE and LOVE
    But Andrew, you didn't ask for my consent to use my family name!
    It was bad enough in the 1960s with Hippies coining Peace and Love but then along came those Greenpeace people who roguishly squatted on my name.
    It is, perhaps, fortunate that my friend Bruce Lovejoy and I did not set up a consultancy Lovejoy and Peace or we would have had a disagreement with the Salvation Army who, some years ago, used our good name to promote goodwill during the Christmas season. Bah!!! Humbug!
    I shall consult my lawyers, Sue, Grabbit and Run to find out what restitution I can seek!!!
  • Permit to Work standard
    I cannot speak to the current status of the Taranaki common permit. I knew about it 2000-2003 when I was the corporate Risk Manager for what was then Natural Gas Corporation. Your knowledge is therefore more up to date than mine.
    Maybe someone else in the forum with current knowledge can comment?
  • Permit to Work standard
    I have searched my database and found the following. Some are ancient and some are reports of events. Two in bold are joint Australia/NZ standards and may be relevant and available.
    There used to be a common permit system in Taranaki for the oil & gas industry.
    Hope that's some help
    DoL. (1985). Dust Explosions in Factories: precautions required with combustible dusts. Wellington: Department of Labour.
    DoL. (1988). Hot Work on Drums and Tanks. Wellington: Department of Labour.
    Wakakura, M., & Tamura, M. (1991). Explosion and fire caused due to insufficient purging during inspection work on a continuous extractor. Retrieved 22 December 2014, from
    HSE. (1995). Hot work in docks. Information Sheet Sudbury: HSE.
    SA AS 1674.1:1997. Safety in welding and allied processes Part 1: Fire precautions. Sydney: Standards Australia.
    HSE. (2000). Hot work on small tanks and drums. Information Sheet Sudbury: HSE. Retrieved from
    CSB. (2001). Refinery Incident – Motiva Enterprises LLC. Incident Investigation report 2001-05-I-DE Washington, DC: Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. Retrieved from
    SA/SNZ2865:2001. Safe working in a confined space. Wellington: Standards New Zealand.
    GAPS. (2003). Cutting, welding and other hot work. Guidance Note Avon, CT: Global Asset Protection Services.
    Manz, A. (2003). Welding, cutting and other hot work. In Cote, A., Hall, J., Powell, P. & Grant, C. (Eds.), Fire Protection Handbook (19th ed., pp. 6-211 - 216-220). Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association, Inc.
    HSE. (2005). Guidance on permit-to-work systems: A guide for the petroleum, chemical and allied industries. Guidance Note: General Series Sudbury: HSE Books. Retrieved from
    DoL. (2006). Health and Safety in Welding. Wellington: Department of Labour.
    FM Global. (2006). Hot work management. Property Loss Prevention Data Sheet Johnston, RI: Author. Retrieved from
    GAPS. (2009). Loss prevention and control for cutting, welding, hot work operations. Guidance Note Avon, CT: Global Asset Protection Services.
    HSE. (2009). Safe work in confined spaces. Guidance Note Sudbury: HSE Books. Retrieved from
    Hayes, J. (2010). Safety Decision Making – Drawing a Line in the Sand. Working Paper 74 Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved from www.
    Marmo, L., Piccinini, N., Russo, G., et al. (2013). Multiple Tank Explosions in an Edible-Oil Refinery Plant: A Case Study. Chemical Engineering & Technology, 36(7), 1131-1137.
    Burlet-Vienney, D., Chinniah, Y., Bahloul, A., & Roberge, B. (2015). Occupational safety during interventions in confined spaces. Safety Science, 79, 19-28.
    Jahangiri, M., Hoboubi, N., Rostamabadi, A., et al. (2016). Human Error Analysis in a Permit to Work System: A Case Study in a Chemical Plant. Safety and Health at Work, 7(1), 6-11.
  • How do you identify who is who on your site?
    I echo Andrew's comments but ask the question "Why is Hi Vis clothing required?". I regard PPE as an admission of failure unless it can be demonstrated to be the only solution. That can result in some creative arguments leading to, for example, segregation of vehicles and people on larger sites, either spatially or by time.
    In relation to Hi Vis generally, there is research showing it is of limited value under some circumstances and, in some cases, can act to cause confusion. For example, a worker may be unable to get the right depth of field when looking at a busy worksite at night due to so many reflective strips and colours moving.
    Maybe move the discussion from Hi Vis as PPE to uniforms for workers with company names and/or badges printed onto jackets, Tee or long-sleeve shirts that are also Hi Vis? Pride in who workers work for?
    Perhaps an article for Safeguard magazine that is research-based and informed by some good case studies?
  • Where have we come from and where are we going?
    Thank you and on 3 September I will be presenting this article at the Wellington NZISM Branch.
  • Risk Assessment Matrix
    Well said Mark!
    Using a matrix without some reliable calibration is ridiculous. As an analogy, my Toyota Yaris has a top speed of 1,795. What?!!! KPH, MPH? None of the above. It's relative to the number of snails I can pass in 270 seconds. But that's a stupid way of measuring speed.
    Without some generally accepted calibration for a matrix (not THE matrix) we cannot compare "risks". And as soon as two of us write down what we mean by the scales and design of matrices we have differences. "But mine is correct" - for the whole organisation, for all organisations?
    So, stop worrying about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin and ask what is risk. Using the ISO definition ("effect of uncertainty on objectives") gets us into fruitful discussions about the objectives of the organisation, activity, plant, etc (and see how many people can answer those questions). Then ask where are there uncertainties about achieving the objectives. Can we do that "on time, in full 95% of the time" (OTIF95). No? What effect does that have?
    And where will that get OHS practitioners? Away from arcane discussions about the matrix and into organisational improvement.
    Which loops back to Mark's comments about worker engagement.
  • Risk Assessment Matrix
    I think this all misses a key point: the risk matrix is a reporting tool, not an analysis tool. To use it you must have estimated the consequence of interest and then estimated the probability of that consequence. This is made clear in the soon-to-be published edition of ISO31010 "Risk Assessment Techniques". (Please note, we are interested in the probability of the consequence, not of the event: think Canterbury earthquakes.)
    The word estimate is deliberate: it is impossible to give a consequence or probability with any certainty. There will be a range of consequences and a range of probabilities. Each range will depend on the effectiveness of the controls and that effectiveness will itself be a range (perhaps lick a finger and stick it in the air?).
    Trying to use words to specify the likelihood leads to each user interpreting the words differently. This was clearly pointed out by Sherman Kent: you can read his article at . Research has since confirmed this many times. But if you're happy with a licked finger and wild inaccuracy, no need to read this article.
    The matrix is about as accurate as using a faulty speedometer to get some idea how fast you are driving. Then try explaining speeding to a traffic police officer - or the inaccurate risk assessment to a WorkSafe inspector.