• Why Are We Still Killing Our Workers?
    That's my point Steve - keeping people safe (i.e., the proverbial cotton wool) vs teaching them how to assess risk and make good decisions to minimise their own risks. In so many ways, adopting an approach that requires a group of people to do all the thinking for another group of people is not actively developing the skills required for individuals to genuinely understand risk and take an active role in their own experience - it's actually resulting in people who are trained to be KEPT safe, with important elements of risk management entirely out of their awareness. Meanwhile, managers and H&S practitioners are charged with the near-impossible duty to protect these people from their own unsafe decisions!
  • Why Are We Still Killing Our Workers?
    What's the impact of emphasising requirements for employers to keep people safe vs teaching people how to keep themselves safe? Why aren't we including risk management principles and critical thinking in the education system from the earliest days if we are serious about reducing the number of workplace fatalities and injuries??
  • Why Are We Still Killing Our Workers?
    Having worked at Ports of Auckland myself in the past, I know from my own experience that there are many more factors than meets the eye when looking at workplace conditions from the outside.

    In the first of the two recent fatalities, the worker was employed by a stevedoring company contracted by the shipping lines, which lease land at the port site. Ports of Auckland is one of many stakeholders on the site, and attempts to engage with all stakeholders were not always well supported.

    The owner / operator of Wallace Investments (stevedoring company that employed the young man who fell from height and died of his injuries) was particularly uncooperative and combative. Ports of Auckland has no direct authority over the work areas of those 3rd party contractors, only traffic management plans for moving around on the site and any interfaces between 3rd party operators, so most of the responsibility for safe work practices, training, etc falls squarely on those 3rd party operators. Ports of Auckland made reasonable efforts to communicate, collaborate and coordinate work amongst all stakeholders, even before HSWA 2015 spelled it out that way.

    In my experience, the third-party stevedoring companies focused more on getting work done quickly and cheaply than on safe work practices.

    Meanwhile, other industry sectors such as shipping lines have quite a strong influence on how work is arranged at ports, because shipping lines force ports to work to their schedules. Workers are paid productivity bonuses to encourage teams to meet shipping timeframes and avoid financial penalties. Many port workers blamed port management for their shift patterns and schedules, but these are largely dictated by the shipping lines - port operations just have to fall into line with them or risk losing business to another port that will do their bidding. How do we get shipping lines to play their part in this?

    I won't go into detail about it here, but the Maritime Union also has responsibilities and a part to play in making any real and lasting changes in the port industry. The the Maritime Union could and should be doing a lot more to work constructively and collaboratively together with ports and their operations management teams to positively influence port workers to get on board, make better decisions and work more safely - not just delivering platitudes to the TV cameras and seizing yet another opportunity to attack port management.

    There is definitely work to be done, and it's going to require the proverbial village to work together to achieve any real change.
  • Are you drowning in paperwork?
    Does this tendency to adopt a 'MORE is more" approach perhaps hint at a kind of 'imposter syndrome', with managers feeling less confident about the value they add and less trusting of workers, so they feel the need to fill the void with more and more paperwork as if to justify their existence? Is the core issue a sense of needing to constantly / continuously prove their worth? Are they worried that their managers will think they are not doing enough?

    One thing that comes to mind here as well is the significance of the change in mindset required to shift from Safety I to Safety II - i.e., changing from safety practitioners trying to manage everything themselves to LEADING others to enable and support them to take charge of their own safety initiatives and actions. Leading requires a complementary and much more intangible set of skills and perspectives than managing. Many people mistakenly use 'management' and 'leadership' interchangeably, when in fact they are distinctly different and complementary skills.
  • Are you drowning in paperwork?
    All too often documentation and management systems are overly complex and bureaucratic. A key root cause of this is that many systems and requirements are a legacy of pre-IT days, when organisations were structured differently, communicated directly, and were influenced by different values world views and priorities.

    Organisations have evolved to require less hierarchical structures, and IT tools allow more direct and more immediate communication, however if no one has stood back and objectively reviewed systems from the perspective of intended outcomes, the purpose and priorities of those outcomes, and how best to deliver those outcomes, most systems will retain fundamental inefficiencies "because that is the way we have always done things".

    An example that comes to mind is the common requirement for periodic refresher training, with little understanding of key principles of learning and development. Firstly, training is only an input; the key point is for people to be competent, not just 'trained'. When training hasn't been designed to deliver on carefully identified competency criteria (and my observation has been that this is the case more often than not), supported by meaningful and relevant assessment tools, and delivered using effective instructional design methodologies, a lot of resources are consumed perpetuating this illusion.

    What if we identified key competency requirements and how to assess them, then just assess periodically to verify ongoing competency? If people remain competent, why waste their time and good will by requiring them to repeat training? A good assessment process would also deliver an inherent review anyway.

    If a person isn't able to demonstrate ongoing competency, then you can do a learning needs analysis to determine whether they really don't know what they need to know (which indicates they need training), or whether they know but cannot perform (indicating that they either need more practice or need coaching to develop the confidence required to perform).

    Most H&S training also suffers - possibly unconsciously - from too much focus on ensuring people pass the assessment (so the provider can get paid), rather than approaching competency requirements in holistic and sensible ways that draw from sound risk management principles and best practice learning and development methodologies.

    And that is just one example!

    Another important factor to consider is the impact of low levels of trust on how management systems are structured in many organisations, especially in safety and compliance disciplines, and the tendency of many managers and auditors to rely too much on the paperwork as 'proof' while failing to prioritise genuine human connection and interactions.
  • Hot off the press information and how this sits under HSW
    Thank you - very helpful. Things seem to be changing quickly all along the way.....
  • Hot off the press information and how this sits under HSW
    Thank you @MattD2 - do you have a reference / link for this information?
  • Hot off the press information and how this sits under HSW
    If vaccination is expected to reduce the risk of infection, should we also expect reduced risk of reinfection after a person has recovered from COVID? Is there any information available about post-COVID immunity?
  • Omicron in the workplace: your challenge or your burden?
    It's definitely becoming a burden, especially with all the changes and escalating case numbers - it gets more and more difficult to manage. I am SO over it.
  • Omicron in the workplace: your challenge or your burden?
    I couldn't agree more - it's so difficult to get clarity and certainty, and there's a lot of responsibility on our shoulders to get this right.
  • Hazardous Substance tracking
    Maybe enquire of Responsible Care NZ or
    Simonne Moses, S Moses Consulting
    email: mobile +64 21 276 6737

    Or Linda Haydon - Compliance Manager, Interchem Agencies
    Email: Phone: (09) 418-0097 mobile: 021 033 2044
  • Mask selection for COVID-19
    My partner bought us some KN95 masks from the pharmacy. I noted that there were no certifications or markings on the packaging or masks, which he hadn't noticed. After trying without success to find out more about the manufacturer whose details were on the package, he went back to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and decided to ask the pharmacist about certification. It hadn't occurred to the pharmacist to check certification to the probably not a genuine KN95.
  • Omicron in the workplace: your challenge or your burden?
    COVID generally and now Omicron are an amplification of what safety professionals / practitioners have been aiming to do all along with Risk Management methodologies. Organisations that understand risk management principles and have supportive leadership will find it a lot easier to navigate. In organisations where senior managers have low engagement and expect the safety person to do all the heavy lifting will find it a lot more of a struggle.
  • Rapid antigen tests
    Like you, I would consider RAT (as well as PCR for that matter) just a monitoring tool, rather than a control.

    RAT is only designed to give you information about the hazard so you can take actions, rather than controlling the hazard and preventing infection.
  • Rapid antigen tests
    Thanks Steve - I'm sure there will be some valid reasons for wanting to manage the supply, including the inclination of some people to hoard supplies when there are perceived shortages, and the government will want to prioritise critical work activities. But it seems a bit of overreach to impede supply that is sourced independently. What flashes through my mind now is that the government itself is working from a scarcity perspective. :chin:
  • Rapid antigen tests
    So even if we can source approved RATs, is the NZ government going to appropriate them?
  • Rapid antigen tests
    So what might the implications be of sourcing other brands not currently on the MoH 'approved' list? For example, if we could source brands / types of RATs approved in Australia but not yet on NZ's approved list, would we be likely to be prevented from bringing them in or hindered in using them? Surely 'some' kind of testing would be much better than none at all....??
  • Rapid antigen tests
    Is there any way of finding out any information about other brands of RATs that might be in the pipeline already for approval? Our organisation has divisions in Australia that have been able to source RATs that are not currently approved in NZ, and currently it's very difficult to get any of the few approved types, but we are thinking we might be able to organise allocation of RATs that are likely to be approved so we can get them sent to us when approval goes through. Any thoughts on that??
  • Use Trailers In Your Business?
    Thank you so much! I have passed this information on to my daughter - she plans to pick up the horse float she bought later today.