• In car phone use policy
    This is not answering your request Shirley, but it is still related.

    An internal article I wrote a few years ago about the question if hands free talking is safe.

    The short answer - it is no safer than a drunk driver behind the wheel
    Is talking on a hands-free kit safe (18K)
  • Due Diligence and "grey literature"
    There are very useful academic papers, but we have to accept they have to meet a different standard when they want their papers to be peer-reviewed. Take my word for it, the rules of academic writing is complex and wide-ranging. Not once did I even attempt it without employing a copy writer

    Having said that, I am often concerned about the schism between the 'academics' and the 'professionals'. They write in a 'funny language/style' and we over-simplify things to the point that it sometimes become scientifically/empirically devoid of any meaning

    I read many, many articles. I simply reject the rubbish, but it keeps my thinking ticking over - and I am sure I grow in the process.

    If you want to find articles you can download, its not difficult to find. Go to and type in the topic your are interested in. As a rule of thumb, limit your search to papers in the last 5 years max, and those published in reputable journals.

    When the list of articles come up, look at the far right of the topic: if there is a hyperlink showing (e.g. [PDF], the link will take you to the PDF version of the article

    I add a screenshot to this, showing where the links are a9to77xs6wufweu7.jpg

    Hope it helps @Chris Peace
  • What can we learn from Australia?
    In case you didn’t notice, UGL, BlueScope Steel, Iluka Resources and Orica (all heavy industrial companies) had lower LTI rates than ANZ Bank. I always knew banks were dangerous places, that’s why I don’t take calls from my Bank Manager any longer!
  • What can we learn from Australia?
    I agree with you Craig (and Matt). I have once been asked by a company to compare their performance with Australian companies listed on the ASX (I unfortunately cannot find the original report - this is the best I could find The report is not new (2017), but it still makes the point

    I will (attempt to) add my slightly redacted report to this. It shows the points Craig and Matt made: statistics often create unintended (or intended?) misunderstandings. And being Kiwi's, we are so sensitive to comparisons with the 'magic' world out there, we lap it up as the truth

    I have worked for several companies with both NZ and Australian divisions, and I in all honesty cannot say the one country is better than the other. In some cases, the Aussies were better, in others Kiwis were superior. Overall, we are much of a muchness.
    Analysis of Injury Statistics - No name (36K)
  • HSR Training
    It is not a legal requirement to elect Reps. Refer my message above
  • My struggle to engage our workers and change the culture
    Carol, my advice is, don't be too uptight. Engagement is not something you can demand, not even request. It is similar to spontaneity, the more you say to people "be spontaneous", the less spontaneous they will be.

    The same with staff involvement. Don't see it as something you can do 'according to the book', or even something that you have to 'create'. As people see you - and, importantly, your senior management - are serious, the more they will become involved. It will start slowly, it may a person asking a question, or making a very basic suggestion while you are having a cup of tea in the staff room. Or it may be because they see a leader making a change because it makes the place slightly safer.

    Or anything... and all of a sudden one or two people start responding, setting off a growing groundswell of change. But it never follows a certain pathway; every group of people, or even sub-group of people, will react differently. Don't worry - it is normal. That is human behaviour, it never follows the script, doesn't matter how good the script-writer is!

    Here's a short summary of a very interesting book that explains a small part of the phenomenon. But even this is not the full story - I personally have spent 11 years at University and 45 years in the industry and I still don't even start to understand why and how people behave. So don't be worried - keep on keeping on and it will happen!
  • Rebecca Macfie on Pike River, ten years on
    My sincere apologies if it seemed that I criticised Rebecca. It was not my intention. Rebecca is a journalist and has written a book on a very significant event in the history of this nation – and in that capacity she obviously has the right – duty – to come to conclusions as to what went wrong.

    I also agree with her that WorkSafe was amiss – or that not all that much has changed under the new structure, both the new Act and agency.

    My comments are about what I perceived has become the normalised truth, firstly that we are doing so poorly in H&S and, secondly, that this is mainly a failure of enforcement.
  • Rebecca Macfie on Pike River, ten years on
    It is really awful Sheri. The European approach to H&S is very different to ours and I find it very difficult to understand it.
  • Rebecca Macfie on Pike River, ten years on
    I read this discussion with interest and I would like to make two observations.

    Firstly, it is interesting – is this only a New Zealand thing? – how we always compare ourselves negatively with the rest of the world. Are we actually as bad as we make out to be in H&S? The link below is an interesting article that reminds me of what I think is the truth: statistics are often not worth the paper it is printed on

    I have over the years personally managed H&S teams in South Africa, the country of my birth, Australia, Thailand, China, Italy, US and Mexico and I cannot say I found any of these countries ‘streets ahead’ of little old New Zealand. On the contrary, in most of the cases, we taught them a fair bit.

    Let me take Australia as an example. I have worked for several large companies with teams in NZ and AU – and they were no better than us. They suffered from the same problems we do, and even though their legislation predated ours by a few years, I cannot in all honesty say they were a shining example to us in NZ.

    The second observation I want to make is my personal crusade: punishment is not an effective change agent. In this regard, two things:

    Firstly, this quote makes the point that the likelihood of being prosecuted is so low it makes no difference (even if WorkSafe increased their prosecution rate by 10 times, it will still make no difference):

    What society wants from its members, in any case, is not an intelligent calculation of the costs and benefits of abiding by its basic norms, but more or less unthinking obedience to them. To the extent people are specifically comparing the costs and benefits of breaking criminal laws, the battle is already lost; many of them must conclude, in particular situations, that the calculus favours law-breaking ... For society to function, most people have to obey the law for reasons of conscience and conviction, and not out of fear of punishment. Lynch, 1997. The Role of Criminal Law in Policing Corporate Misconduct

    Secondly, we must remember that “PCBU’s” are ultimately only people; “Management” or “the Board” of companies are normal people, nothing else. And it makes no scientific sense to base your hope on fear to change our ‘inadequate’ H&S response. To think any agency can ever catch all baddies and punish them is obviously not realistic, so law enforcement agencies like WorkSafe must rely on others (“management” or “Boards”) not wanting the same treatment than the ones who were caught received. And that is called FEAR.

    So is that the society we want to become? A place where fear is the order of the day? How about we set up a system where we make it compulsory for people to spy on others: become informants. Then we can catch all those baddies easily and send a few thousands of them to jail – or even better, execute a few to make the point. And we can create a special department to orchestrate this: how about we call it Ministry for State Security – Stasi for short.

    Let me stop being facetious; the notion that reward and punishment are effective change agents is today well-discredited in social sciences and anthropology. Classical conditioning was first described by Ivan Pavlov in the 1890’s and we today know much, much more about human behaviour. Changing human behaviour is not that simple; actually it is one of the most complex processes known.

    Pike River was a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude. And it will, like Erebus and Cave Creek, and because I personally knew some of the students, the Mangatepopo Canyon Disaster, be edged into our national psyche. But we must also remember that Pike River as a whole was a disastrous company, not only from a safety perspective. We cannot allow ourselves to be defined by the worst of the worst companies. There are hundreds and thousands small and large companies in NZ who take safety really seriously. Just the other day I walked onto a housing construction site to talk to the site management about close approach to electrical lines (I work for an electrical lines’ company) and I was pleasantly surprised how everybody on the site reacted. They were helpful, they listened and immediately reacted positively. I don’t work much with this industry, but I was very impressed with their reaction.

    Let us keep on getting better, let us continue to improve and never rest. But let us also remain realistic; we are not doing that badly and we are not the safety bottom feeders of the world.
  • HSR Training
    I do not agree that training Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) is per se a PCBU-duty under the HSWA. The Act, in Section 58, poses a duty on PCBU’s to engage with workers (“If the PCBU and the workers have agreed to procedures for engagement, the engagement must be in accordance with those procedures”, but the format of engagement is not prescribed. Section 59 makes it clear that the nature of the engagement must be determined in consultation with the people.

    Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) are an example of worker participation, but H&S Committees are also an acceptable form of worker participation

    As to training, Sections 70(a) and 85(a) of the Act require training before the HSR holds the authority to issue a provisional improvement notice or a direction to cease work. However, this training is requested by the HSR, not the duty of the PCBU. Section 12(1)(a)(i) of Schedule 2 of the Act states: “if a health and safety representative has been elected to represent workers who carry out work for a business or undertaking, the PCBU must allow the health and safety representative, for the purpose of attending health and safety training, 2 days’ paid leave each year …”

    The key words are “must allow”. This means the PCBU cannot refuse, but the request comes from the HSR; it is not a PCBU duty.

    In actual fact, I personally think internal training is far more advantageous than the external NZQA Unit Standard training. The Unit Standards allow the HSR the functions under sections 70(a) and 85(a) of the Act, something I do not oppose. However, I hope we as employers can work with our own people to ensure effective consultation that will make the use of provisional improvement notices or directions to cease work superfluous. It is a sad day when an employer (PCBU) and employees (HRS) have to use blunt legal instruments to solve their problems.
  • Quote of the year?
    The below is not a reflection on the responses above - I think you already understand the irony.

    To continue the discussion though, look at some of the topics we 'discuss' on here: how do we reward/pay Safety Reps, should people sign the minutes of a safety meeting, e-scooters in the workplace, the myriad unit standard training on all sorts of obscure topics, are ISO audits useful or not, etc. Is safety a profession or not!

    I am regularly astonished how little safety 'professionals' know about change management, human behaviour, basic engineering principles and the other principles underpinning what we do. How can you bring about change if you have no base to work from? How can we get the Grant Daltons - and there are many of them out there - listen to us if we cannot with any authority talk about why and how we will achieve a particular outcome?

    We can forget to ever have sapiential authority, where people who are experts in their fields want our inputs, where they see us as adding to theirs by the wisdom we bring.
  • Quote of the year?
    And we are surprised why our 'profession' is not held in high regard. Some of the stuff I sometimes read (even on this forum) makes me cringe - "arse-covering load of mind-numbing bullocks (sic)".
  • A Quick Guide on Implementing Safety Differently Principles - Plus Workbook - FREE for you
    Be careful not to attempt to systemise everything. It can sometimes have the same effect as saying "be more spontaneous". As spontaneity cannot be demanded (it is a contradiction in terms), "Safety II" and "Safety Differently" are approaching safety from a different paradigm and increasing cognitive thinking, e.g in group discussions, may not achieve the intended outcome. On the contrary, it may actually be a contradiction in terms.

    If you want people to contribute ... "we have an army of experienced, knowledgeable and practical practitioners with first-hand insights into what works, what doesn’t and ..." simply increase your safety envelope. I.e. get out of their way and allow them to make more safety decisions about what is in front of them at any given point.

    That requires a different organisational paradigm, not more cognitive thinking on their behalf
  • The Silliness of Zero Harm
    You've got the gift of the gab Simon. As always (last 20 years), I am impressed not only with what you say, but how you say it!

    Down with binary speak!