Comments

  • Availability of good candidates to fill H&S roles
    At the risk of starting a tangential thread, your 'cultural and wellbeing influencer' is a good example of the need to rebrand H&S. FWIW, the descriptor I've been touting for the last few years is 'healthy work design'. Who wouldn't want to introduce themselves as a healthy work designer?
    Reasoning: 'healthy' because everyone wants to be healthy; 'work' because that is our playground; 'designer' because design is a positive word with suggestions of collaboration and talking with people.
    Also, it goes without saying that 'healthy work design' regards safety as a subset of health, though I appreciate some would find it hard to let the S-word go.
  • Frivolous Friday
    I rate LTI data in the same way I rate "Gender Pay Gap" data
    The recently completed Safeguard income survey reveals a small but encouraging drop in the gender pay gap as it exists in the H&S field. Results will appear in the next mag shortly.
    Readers who don't rate such things can of course just skip that bit.
  • Environment Portfolio
    Not sure about other forums, but I can reveal that 45% of the 450-odd people who responded to Safeguard's recent Income survey (currently being analysed) said they also have environmental responsibilities.
    This forum allows for the creation of multiple categories. Currently there are only two: Q&A and Discussion. We could create a third category, Environment, if members think that is a good idea.
    Each member is able to customise their Forum experience by, for example, excluding categories they aren't interested in.
    Similarly, we could create a category for H&S reps, to encourage more of them to join the Forum and generate discussion.
    However, the argument against creating multiple categories is that such fragmentation is unnecessary in quite a small H&S community.
    Happy to hear more arguments for and against over the next week.
  • Safeguard income survey 2019
    More than 300 people have done the survey so far - have you?

    The results of the survey are used by the wider H&S community and by organisations who require H&S-related services, so by all means consider it a public service to do the survey!
  • Safeguard income survey 2019
    By popular demand, attached is the write-up about last year's income survey, published in the Sept/Oct 2018 edition of Safeguard.
    Attachment
    SG171 salary survey 2018 (272K)
  • ICAM Investigation Course
    I can't speak about ICAM but I understand many incident investigations stop at the point where the investigator concludes "operator error".

    Todd Conklin's thoughts on this in the latest Safeguard are pertinent.
  • Should higher penalties be applied to larger companies?
    Whether size of fine promotes change in the defendant company is interesting, but the question at hand isn't about that.

    The question is about the courts setting a starting point for a fine, and then looking at both mitigating and aggravating factors to reduce or increase the amount.

    One aggravating factor which NZ courts don't seem to consider - but UK courts now do - is that a large company with ample funds should have the resourcing to do H&S well, and therefore should face an increased penalty (given the company can hardly argue lack of funds to pay).

    The UK requires courts do consider this, in quite a structured way. Should NZ courts do something similar, even if not so structured?
  • Technology, our ability to communicate and prequal!
    Yes!
    What can we do about it? That's a harder one. I understand WorkSafe is aware of the disquiet over prequal schemes and is doing some work on this.
  • Safeguard Conference Catch Ups
    I'll be sitting in my habitual table at front right of the room if anyone wants to have a chat during breaks.
  • Poll on manslaughter and marijuana
    The poll has been open a week and 50 people took part - thanks to all of you!
    Support for industrial manslaughter is evenly split. Personally, I'm not yet persuaded a new law is necessary, for the reason suggested by @Drew Rae, and also because the HSW Act already contains ample provision for imprisonment. The courts so far have been reluctant to go anywhere near the maximum penalty provisions, but presumably Parliament put them there for a reason.

    On marijuana, I can't see why its decriminalisation (should it ever happen) would have any effect on drug and alcohol policies. Alcohol is an extremely potent legal drug, and marijuana is a less potent illegal drug. Both are widely tested for already. Therefore what difference does it make if the item being tested for is legal or illegal? (Unless, of course, companies aren't really testing for impairment/safety, but for another agenda altogether.)
  • Contractor Pre qualification /approval systems
    Rob, I think this is the case you're thinking of. Here is our story from the Sept/Oct 2015 edition of Safeguard.

    A civil contracting company has successfully defended a charge arising from a trench collapse after the court rejected the regulator’s arguments that its contractor pre-qualification process, and its JSA and other documentation, were inadequate.

    Dempsey Wood Civil Ltd, the main contractor at a site being developed by Auckland International Airport Ltd, had been charged under s18(a) of the HSE Act after an employee of one of its subcontractors was injured in a trench collapse. The charge was dismissed (Papakura DC, 22 May 2015).

    The July 2013 incident involved two employees of subcontractor company Draeinail Construction Ltd (which pleaded guilty to a separate charge). One of them was in the bottom of a trench ensuring a stormwater pipe was correctly aligned. The other operated an excavator positioned close to the edge of the trench, with its arm extended over the other man. Clay came loose from the front face of the trench, striking the man at the bottom and causing crush injuries to his pelvis.

    The front face of the trench was benched with two steps cut to a vertical face of 1.8m each, and a 1.2m wide slot had been cut into the top edge to give the excavator driver better visibility. However the front face had not been battered to a safe slope.

    In court, WorkSafe argued there were five practicable steps Dempsey’s could have taken to prevent the incident. They can be grouped into three alleged failings, the first of which was failure to effectively pre-qualify Draeinail to ensure it had a recorded OHS policy and a safe system of work, including method statements and hazard register/controls and a documented system for reviewing these. Assumptions based on previous experience with Draeinail would be insufficient, it was argued.

    The Court rejected this argument, noting that Dempsey’s had worked with Draeinail since 2008, viewed the people involved as high quality, and had received positive feedback about the subcontractor from 20 project managers.

    An expert witness for the defence said that documented systems could be helpful, but for a small “hands-on” contractor it is usually more valuable to know of their track record from direct experience than to rely purely on system documents.

    The court found it was reasonable for Dempsey’s to rely on its prior knowledge of Draeinail’s health and safety practices.

    The second group of alleged failings related to documentation: that Dempsey’s could have ensured a documented safe work method system for the trenching work was developed and communicated to contractors; and that an adequate JSA relating to the specific work had been developed and discussed daily with all workers.

    While both parties agreed Dempsey’s project management plan was acceptable, WorkSafe noted that only one JSA had been completed, in April, three months after work had begun and three months before the incident; and that it had been prepared as a response to an incident in February when a Draeinail employee had been observed working outside the trench shield. WorkSafe said this should have alerted Dempsey’s to the need to monitor Draeinail more closely; nor was Draeinail required to attend daily pre-start meetings.

    WorkSafe argued a JSA should be reviewed daily before work starts. The expert witness took the view that the prepared JSA was a comprehensive and generic document for all excavations deeper than 1.5m, and that it was unnecessary for each excavation to have its own JSA. He said documented systems of work are important at project level and provide a standard against which to audit, but the work on the ground was carried out by experienced people who communicated verbally.

    The court also noted that the excavator driver had started on site only two days earlier and had not yet taken part in the weekly site induction for new workers.

    The third step allegedly not taken was to monitor Draenail’s performance against Dempsey’s overall project management plan, especially after the February incident. Evidence was given that Dempsey’s conducted monthly audits and daily site inspections, and had visited the site twice already on the day in question. The court accepted this monitoring as adequate.

    The Court accepted the JSA could have been more specific and the tailgate meetings better documented, but noted there was an agreed approach regarding dealing safely with the front face of a trench, and that Draeinail were the drainlaying experts.

    The Court found the cause of the accident was due to decisions made by various Draeinail staff over a brief period of time, and that the decision by an experienced excavator driver to proceed very close to the face and then scoop out part of it, while a man was directly below, was difficult to comprehend and an “elementary error of judgement” which could not have been anticipated by Dempsey’s.
  • New thinking in health & safety - community of practice
    Gentle reminder to all members: when you wish to reply to another member with something that adds no value to the discussion (eg: "thanks", or "I'm in") the best way to do it is via private message, so it doesn't clutter up the main thread.

    Private messages are easy to send. Just click on a member's profile icon and then select "Send a message", and off you go. No one else will see these messages - just you and the recipient.
  • Legal Cannabis and Safety
    Excellent questions. I look forward to some challenging answers.

    My view is that the legality of the substance is irrelevant. Alcohol is a legal drug but has a far greater effect on impairment than marijuana.

    If the reason for testing is to detect impairment then the legality of the substance causing the impairment is neither here nor there.

    (However, if the real reason for testing isn't to do with impairment, but in eliminating from your workforce people who in their own time do things your organisation's management claims not to approve of, then you are playing a different game altogether.)
  • The right to disconnect
    Some useful thoughts so far in this developing thread. One further comment is that I suspect the distinction between work phone (supplied by employer) and personal phone is disappearing. Even where work phones are issued to staff, many managers will know the personal phone number of their direct reports and will use that channel if no response to the work phone.
  • The right to disconnect
    To clarify, the right to disconnect refers to the right not to be contacted by text or email AFTER work hours.

    (Phone use during work hours perhaps raises other issues.)
  • Health and Safety Management Systems in Golf Clubs
    FYI, our prosecutions database reveals there have been two golf-related H&S prosecutions.
    In 2004 the Dept of Labour prosecuted the Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club after an elderly woman fell from an unlit and unfenced path around the clubrooms and broke her hip and leg. The clubrooms had been hired out for the evening.
    And in 2009 the DoL prosecuted JK's World of Golf after public complaints that employees at the driving range were required to go out and collect balls with no protective gear, and were therefore at risk of serious harm from patrons hitting balls.
  • Lime scooters
    I doubt WorkSafe would come within sniffing distance of those two scenarios, but there is a third which would give Lime's lawyers conniptions. Regarding the 'juicers', Lime is specifying the tasks they are to perform and is paying them. If a juicer is injured while carrying out his or her juice tasks, there is no reason why WorkSafe should not investigate - or is there?
    Welcome to the gig economy, which H&S regulators the world over are struggling to get to grips with.
  • Mythbusters - NZ version
    Battles over the aircon setting? You might be interested in this slightly different take on the issue from Newshub last week!
    [Disclosure: yes, the writer is related]
  • State of the Nation survey 2019
    By all means alert your contacts to the survey - the more respondents, the better the data!

    The link to the survey is: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SafeguardSoN2019