Comments

  • Construction Industry Mental Health Research - Thank you for the support - Data Collection Complete!
    Thanks Andy - I'm looking forward to seeing your research! What a highly valuable area to be working in.
  • Charging for pre Registration
    That sounds very odd Brendan. Are they assessing each individual? What on earth does that 'pre-approval' involve?
  • Risk Assessment Matrix
    Ahhh the beloved risk matrix... Imho, one of the least understood and most misused tools in the H&S toolkit.

    I do not believe a one-size fits all approach works when it comes to developing and using a risk matrix - but that is what tends to be done.

    Site Safe has created one, but it is open to interpretation, therefore, it my experience it is of very little valuable use. Much more instruction / explanation is required, along with personalisation to fit the specific risk appetite and procedure of the organisation.

    Some of the key issues I have with this example are:
    1. It says to 'consider the severity of injury/illness' - but is this the maximum potential severity, or the most likely severity? It does not say. If it's the maximum potential severity, then most work risks inevitably fall in the catastrophic or major category (as worst case scenario for even a minor trip hazard could be a head injury, a broken neck, or death - rare yes, but 'possible' if we are thinking maximum potential). On the other hand, if we look at the most likely consequence, hazards with catastrophic potential can be underestimated simply because the likelihood of the catastrophic outcome is low. Critical risks can be inadequately identified and managed in this instance.
    2. The descriptions of the examples given for the severity options create a focus on 'safety' rather than health (or any other type of risk for that matter, e.g. financial, environmental, reputational etc.).
    3. Without specific guidance, likelihood is massively open to interpretation and the influences of individual bias. Arguably, even with guidance, there is still room for this, but being so ambiguous just worsens the issues. What one person thinks is 'likely to happen' based on their personal experiences and perceptions, could be considered as 'unlikely to happen' to another person. Who is right? How do we get consensus?
    4. We assess the risk... and then WHAT? As Chris pointed out, this example does not include any actions or implications related to the outcome of the risk assessment. There is no determination of what is an acceptable level of risk.

    Anyway, I've taken up enough space here. I'm very interested in this though - keen to see what others have to say. I have rarely come across what I would consider to be a good risk assessment.
  • s44 Prosecutions
    I'm pleased to see I'm not the only one thinking about this. It seems highly unlikely that none of the prosecutions to date involved a breach of s44, so I would be interested to know why WS has not been pursuing them and if this is likely to change in the future.
  • Sharing health and safety documentation with your team members
    Hmm, I imagine any document is going to be difficult to look at on a phone, regardless of what app or programme is opening it. I find my customers use iPads or other tablets for on site documents just due to the screen size.
  • Mental Health in the Construction Industry - Research Update-
    Great research subject Andy. I will forward to my construction network next week for you. When you say, 'within the construction industry' does that include both people who are no on the tools, e.g. project managers?
  • Sharing health and safety documentation with your team members
    What is it about drive you find makes them not user friendly to read? It could be the format they are saved as that affects how they open on devices too.
  • Audits vs Review
    To my mind, an audit is a formal assessment against specific criteria, whereas a review is often more informal, and can include more open questions, rather than very particular criteria.
    I hope that is helpful.
  • The Difference Between Signed & Understanding & "What's The Point"?
    PS. If the company has some rules it does not enforce undermines all rules, some of which are potentially much more important! Not enforcing one rule condones rule-breaking across the board. If everything is important (and therefore has a rule) then nothing is important (and therefore all rules can be broken).

    I usually find when a rule is not being followed, it's not a problem with the people... it's a problem with the rule.
  • The Difference Between Signed & Understanding & "What's The Point"?
    Can I ask why the company requires the staff read and sign the H&S committee meeting minutes?

    I wonder what it actually achieves? Are the worker gaining important and valuable insights from this process? Is this (reading and signing meeting minutes) even how they want to be communicated with in regard to H&S? Has anybody asked them? If they don't perceive value in this process, then they will never be motivated to do it, and fair enough.

    Personally, I'd look at the rule itself first, before the 'compliance' issue. Was this rule made by the staff for their own benefit, or mandated from upon high by the company?

    As we all know, 90% of people (conservatively) probably just sign without reading anyway. Surely any important outcomes from the meeting will be communicated to the relevant people via other channels. Therefore, is this just a bureaucratic waste of resources?
  • E-scooters: am I right to be worried?
    I agree.... why they are limited to 30kph I cannot understand. If they are allowed to be on the footpath were there are kids, elderly people, and numerous driveways where cars could pull out at any moment and so on... they've got be to limited to something much lower.
  • E-scooters: am I right to be worried?
    Is it just me or does something moving at 30kph on a footpath seem mad?
  • Using "days since last accident" signs
    They should be banned. There are so many reasons they are a bad idea.
  • Time to look at the UK's sentencing guidelines?
    I love the additional point you make about further sanctions needing to be taken against management, e.g. restricting their ability to hold a position of power following conviction. That's a real step that can be taken to affect positive change.

    I think I mostly agree with fines being on a sliding scale according to the company's financial situation (although I am not certain turnover is the correct measure, perhaps profit/loss... I'm not sure).

    A percentage based fining system would ensure that punishment is proportionate. Fines for the same/similar offence should inflict the same amount of 'pain' on the guilty PCBU, regardless of their size.
    E.g. $300,000 for a big company is a drop in the ocean, but for a very small company, it would put them out of business.

    I was furious today, reading through prosecutions, and articles about the Stumpmaster high court decision.

    First and foremost, the reparations ordered are generally pathetic, and massively inconsistent. How much is a life (or indeed quality of life) worth? Granted, it's a difficult and complex question, but I don't think any judge has got the answer right so far.
    E.g. I just cannot see how these can be considered consistent, or more importantly, a fair representation of the value of a life, or the quality of life lost / harm done.
    YSB group, fatality, elderly man: reparation $100,000.
    Altranz (2008), fatality, 18 year old man: reparation $105,000
    Toll, fatality, middle aged man (no age but noted he was a grandfather): reparation $223,020.10 (how they decided on that specific amount I have no idea!)
    Trojan Holdings, man of unknown age, serious injuries (fractured femur, forehead contusion, and brain hemorrhage - 79 days of hospital care, 20 weeks off work full time when he returned to light duties): reparation $45,000
    Locker Group, man of unknown age, serious injuries (crushed hands, several finger amputations): reparation $67,000.
    Scott Alexander McRae, man of unknown age, fatality: reparation $130,000.
    All Flex Packaging, man of unknown age, serious injuries (hand crushing and degloving, fractures): reparation $20,000.
    Crop logging, man of unknown age, serious injuries (undefined, requiring hospitalisation): reparation $80,000.
    North Island Mussels, man of unknown age, serious injuries (scarring and removal of an eye): reparation $60,000.

    Secondly, as the high court confirmed, significant discounts have been applied when perhaps they shouldn't have, or at least without adequate evidence of the mitigating factors being met to an acceptable degree. I'd have expected handing out a massive discount (often in the hundreds of thousands) would definitely have required robust evidence of significant mitigating factors!

    This one really got my blood boiling.... this company got a fine of $250,000 and were ordered to pay $20,000 reparation after and incident where a worker sustained back injuries, after the freight cage he was working in fell three metres from forklift tines - he could easily have been killed from that height! But the real kicker was when I read this - "Two similar incidents had occurred at other PBT Transport sites and WorkSafe says PBT Transport should have used these incidents to significantly improve their processes." Even the basics were not in place: "the freight cage did not comply with industry standards and had not been attached to the forklift correctly."

    Sorry, enough ranting. I just cannot help but put myself in the shoes of those victims and their families and feel like some of those reparation amounts are a slap in the face... especially given the high levels of culpability in some cases.
  • Mythbusters - NZ version
    "Health and safety isn’t about completing endless forms and having health and safety systems in a folder sitting on a shelf. In fact, under HSWA there are only two documents that you are legally required to have – an accident register and a list of all of the hazardous substances kept on your business premises."

    Yip, that's straight from Worksafe... but it is a bit misleading if you ask me... here are a couple of explicit examples of what I mean from the act and regs (off the top of my head - there will be many others):

    1. You need an SDS for every substance you use. Is a safety data sheet not a document?
    2. What if you're designing, manufacturing, importing, or supplying plant, structures or substances that could be used in a workplace? You need to have any calculations, analysis, testing, or examination that may be necessary to ensure it's safe. Plus, you have to provide that, plus information on the intended purpose, and the conditions necessary to ensure safety, to the customer, end user, installer etc. Can all this really be achieved without documentation?!
    3. What about asbestos? You are duty bound to have a documented asbestos management plan in place if you have asbestos (confirmed or presumed) in your workplace... is that not a document?
    4. What about fit-test records for asbestos respirators? Those need to be documented.
    5. Health monitoring records need to be kept for 30 or 40 years - are those not documents?
    6. All records pertaining to notifiable events need to be kept for 5 years.

    And so on and so on - that's just a few of the more overt examples.

    Of course, even when the law does NOT explicitly state that you need something documented... if you face prosecution and don't have any documentation to support your claims, Worksafe and any right-minded judge is not going to consider your claims to be substantiated... therefore, if you want to be able to prove anything in court, actually you DO need documentation.

    How many times have you seen prosecution summaries in which Worksafe lists one of the reasonably practicable steps that should have been taken as having a safe operating procedure ....?

    Can you imagine the defendant standing up in court and saying, "Oh but we did have an SOP your honor. The Worksafe website told us we only needed two documents and that wasn't one of them, so we just agreed on SOP's verbally." Acceptable? I highly doubt it!

    Don't get me wrong... I'm no fan of paperwork! But I'm also no fan of oversimplifying H&S, just to make it digestible for the nay-sayers.

    Firstly, H&S involves people.
    Secondly, it often involves dynamic environments and risks.
    Thirdly, it is governed by extensive legislation.
    Since when is any of that not complex?

    My rule of thumb is...
    If it's important, if it could bite you in the arse any-which-way... document it!
    If it's trivial and cannot possible come back to haunt you (and documenting it doesn't add value to your business)... don't bother.
  • Incident report record keeping
    I don't believe there is a legally required time-frame for keeping non-notifiable incident records. I would consider how long they are useful for your business first and foremost.
  • Worker Participation and Engagement
    I think the most critical thing is to ask the workers how they want to be engaged. You may find that you need a range of different solutions as not everyone wants to engage in the same way, e.g. the young ones may love a tech solution, but the old guys might prefer a face-to-face conversation, the bold ones might feel comfortable speaking up in large meetings in front of their peers, and the shy ones might prefer to pop an anonymous note into a suggestions box.

    I'd ask the workforce... maybe even incentivise them with prizes for engagement ideas that get adopted, or even just random prizes for suggesting something!

    I have a customer who uses WhatsApp and loves it! It's not something I would ever have thought of, but their workers did, and consequently it gets used a lot!