Don’t park Health and Safety over Christmas

No Parking Health and Safety
No Parking Health and Safety

There are now just four months to go until the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 is implemented on 4 April 2016. Unfortunately, this has been another terrible week for work place deaths and injuries in New Zealand.

Many businesses are well on their way with their planning ahead of the Act coming into force.  Others may be sitting back and waiting until the New Year – please don’t leave it too late.

The key principle behind the act is to change our culture to ensure every work place in New Zealand is safe.

Of course culture change takes much longer than five short months – one of which will be eaten up by Christmas parties and a second by holidays.

Every “officer” (as defined by s18 – likely to cover Directors, CEOs and others that make decisions or have a significant influence over decisions around H&S) should be asking themselves right now is: “Are we ready?”

  • Do you know know the critical risks of your business and those that result from the particular way you operate?
  • Have you started training or refreshing the training of your staff?
  • Have you processes in place to make appropriate & timely decisions that mitigate and minimise the risks that you and your staff experience?
  • Do your regular controls stay in place over holiday periods and the festive season or do you allow corners to be cut?
  • Are you aware of the safety requirements in relation to equipment suppliers you use and the users of equipment you supply, officially,  unofficially or on weekend loan to staff and friends?
  • Do your regular controls stay in place over holiday periods and the festive season or do you allow corners to be cut?

A simple test for office workers is to observe staff putting up Christmas decorations or at the Christmas function.  Do they have access to appropriate equipment such as ladders and footstools or are they standing on desks and rotating chairs?

Or – are your carpenters still documenting their safety plans in the rush ahead of Christmas?

It may all seem low key but it is an early indicator of how deep the culture change really is in your workplace.

That depth is what you as officers will be seeking.

For more: business.govt.nz/worksafe

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