• Gender in health and safety in NZ
    The 2019 Safeguard incomes survey had 456 responses of which 46.3% were male and 52.8% female. The 2020 survey - to be published in the next magazine - is about the same. How indicative the survey is of the broad H&S practitioner population is open to question, but it's probably a fair indicator until a better one comes along.
  • Position Paper on Cannabis
    FYI this Newsroom piece today is probably the best summary I've seen so far.
  • Contractor Management - The Thin Paper Wall
    The topic of H&S pre-qualification came up a while back on the Forum and generated quite a bit of heat! Here is the earlier thread.
  • Who influenced you?
    Inspiring people, and great to see you now paying it forward!
  • Who influenced you?
    Nice tribute, and thanks for being first to have a crack at this!
  • Are you doing anything to prepare for cannabis referendum
    Here's a story from a recent Safeguard that might be of help.

    My own preparation? I'm voting YES. See the Chief Science Advisor's report if you are wavering.
  • Safeguard income survey 2020 - closes Friday!
    A gentle reminder that the income survey closes 18 September.
    More than 370 people have already completed it.
    If you aren't one of them - there is still time! Your input would be much appreciated.
  • Safeguard income survey 2020 - closes Friday!
    The 2019 survey results are attached.
    2019 income survey - core results (141K)
    Derek, it's terrific to see the NZ Occupational Hygiene Society really stepping up - FAMANZ, Breathe Freely, fit testing - and getting out into the public sphere. Nice work!
  • Measurement of H&S performance
    On the reporting theme, here FYI is a story from a recent edition of our Safeguard Update subscription newsletter in which Andrew Hopkins sketches out how a truly effective reporting programme could work. It comes from his many years of studying when things have gone wrong and how reporting systems have failed to pick up the early warning signs.
    Have a read. What do people think?

    Effective anomaly reporting
    Imagine an organisation which has a truly effective bad news reporting system – one which encourages people to report things they aren’t comfortable with, gently teaches them what is worth reporting and what is not, generates rich conversations about risk, and identifies small problems well before they can cause harm.
    Emeritus professor Andrew Hopkins has worked out a way to achieve such a system and spoke about it at the Australian Institute of Health and Safety’s recent online conference.
    He said most reporting systems focus only on incidents and injuries and implicitly discourage other kinds of reports, such as process upsets (when a process briefly goes outside its safe limits and the operators have to bring it back under control) or inappropriate procedures (for which people develop work-arounds which alter the risks they face).
    Other useful things seldom reported include decisions to defer regular maintenance, occasions when a process is under-staffed, when machinery is found to be in poor condition or structures corroded, or when poor design forces risky actions (eg standing on a ladder to read a dial).
    More generally, an effective reporting system will capture anomalies: something has happened which shouldn’t have.
    “You can’t specify these things in advance,” said Hopkins. “You need people to be able to recognise the potential of what they are seeing; to be risk-aware.”
    He said people working in organisations with typical reporting systems tend to ask themselves: is this something I am required to report? If not, I won’t report it. An effective reporting system would have people ask: is this something I should report? If so, I will report it.
    An effective reporting system, said Hopkins, does four things well. First, it makes reporting easy (eg: a phone app where people can write brief text and add photos).
    Second, it ensures reports go to the right place (eg: to the person’s supervisor; to the site manager; and to a more removed or corporate function concerned with risk which can analyse trends.)
    Third, it requires every report to be replied to, without exception.
    Fourth, it constantly encourages reports, but in a way which over time teaches people about the kinds of things they should report.
    He suggests a monthly competition for the most helpful report, run by a judging panel and with a significant reward, which could be $1000 in larger organisations. The best report is announced by the site manager, along with an explanation of why it won.
    “You will not only get the bad news. You’ll get a richer conversation about risk and a greater sense of ownership. It moves the business in the direction of becoming a learning organisation.”
    Two cautions from Hopkins. First, don’t set a target for a certain quota of reports per interval. It only encourages trivial reports. Second, this kind of effective bad news reporting system requires a commitment of time and money resource by the executive – without that it won’t work.
  • Bright ideas to engage our... older gentlemen workers in H&S
    When you approach these older gents you might find yourself encountering survivor bias.
    As expressed in the timeless comment: "I've been in this trade for 30 years and I've never been hurt. Why should I pay attention to health & safety now?"
  • Laying charges against officers: a useful strategy?
    The Australian officer convictions have indeed been against small business owners who are 'on the tools' as it were. In that regard it is a similar outcome to those jurisdictions around the world which have introduced the crime of industrial manslaughter: it's the small business owner who gets charged and jailed.

    So far, we can say that directors/officers of large corporates have a near-zero risk of being personally charged with H&S offences or industrial manslaughter.

    I'm not arguing for wielding the big stick, but setting that aside - it doesn't seem fair, does it?
  • Laying charges against officers: a useful strategy?
    Whoa! I didn't realise the penalty provisions in HSW Act 2015 were so severe :lol:
  • Amanda Douglas on cannabis legalisation and drug testing
    Amanda, many thanks for your time and expertise this morning, it's been a fascinating discussion and one that always provokes much debate.
    And thanks to everyone who submitted questions and comments!
  • Amanda Douglas on cannabis legalisation and drug testing
    Time is almost up. Last questions please!
  • Amanda Douglas on cannabis legalisation and drug testing
    The culture of the workplace must be an important factor. Drug testing, particularly random testing, has always struck me as undermining of the trust necessary for a high performance workplace.
  • Amanda Douglas on cannabis legalisation and drug testing
    FWIW, I will be voting in favour of the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, which puts me in the minority of the Safeguard survey respondents!
    Experts in health and science far cleverer than me have concluded the Bill is the best way forward, and certainly the current 'war on drugs' regime has failed for decades.
    (If there was evidence that legalisation would result in a higher risk of injury incidents in the workplace, I would think again. But to my knowledge there isn't any.)
  • Amanda Douglas on cannabis legalisation and drug testing
    Looking at the 400+ responses to the recent Safeguard survey on legalisation, I suspect many H&S people fear that legalisation of cannabis will lead to an increase in the number of workers turning up for work impaired.
    Is there any evidence this would occur?
  • Amanda Douglas on cannabis legalisation and drug testing
    Would you expect urine testing to be replaced by oral fluid testing? Given that urine testing is unrelated to impairment.