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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters


NATIONWIDE

DEATHS AT WORK INVESTIGATED RECENTLY BY DOL

WORKPLACE DEATH TOLL FOR THE YEAR STARTING JULY 2008: 36

21 NovMale, 76WellingtonResidential care
Patient fell from hoist sling. 
25 MarchMale, 60AucklandMetal and mineral wholesaling
Fell from shipping container.  
20 AprilFemale, 65PakurangaHouse Construction
Fell after top guard rail gave way from unfinished deck.

IOSH visits NZISM

NZISM national manager Ian Clark and operations manager Neville Rockhouse with IOSH professional affairs director Hazel Harvey, who visited Auckland to brief NZISM and other invited parties on IOSH’s continuing professional development programme. NZISM members will soon be able to gain online access to IOSH’s web-based CPD recording system.

Harvey explained the IOSH CPD system, which has five levels of membership starting at affiliate member, the only category which does not require signing up to a CPD programme. More senior membership categories – technician, graduate, chartered, fellow – all require compulsory CPD programmes.

“If you are in a particular category of membership and don’t do your CPD, or if you get audited and don’t come up to scratch, you get removed,” said Harvey. “There’s no mucking around, as we believe CPD is so integral to the profession.”

“Keeping up-to-date isn’t an add-on extra. It is critical. It’s part of what we do, part of your normal workload. Doing nothing does not mean standing still or remaining competent. It means going backwards, because you will not be current.”

NZISM links with IOSH

The NZ Institute of Safety Management has announced a formal link between itself and UK-based IOSH, the world’s largest health and safety professional body.

The memorandum of understanding between the two bodies allows for substantial collaboration, and in particular will allow NZISM members to have access to the online continuing professional development (CPD) programme developed and enhanced over several years by IOSH.

The memorandum has been drawn up following meetings in Auckland recently with IOSH’s professional affairs director Hazel Harvey. A delegation from IOSH is expected in New Zealand later this year to formally sign the document.

Ian Clark, NZISM national manager, said the agreement with IOSH would enable New Zealand OHS practitioners to gain access to an internationally recognised CPD programme which recognises multiple levels of expertise.

“The intent of this action is to ensure that the profession of OHS is fully recognised both locally and internationally, and that our current and future members have the ability to have their credentials recognised globally.”

Changes to the current NZISM membership structure are expected to align with IOSH’s membership structure. Two further levels – honouree and life member – are likely to be added to recognise outstanding performance or contribution.

NZISM members will be able to record their ongoing CPD online using IOSH’s confidential web-based system.

Under the agreement, NZISM will introduce a grandfather clause for a period of one year only to give current members with extensive experience the opportunity to be placed into the new membership structure at an appropriate level.

NZISM is likely to accept an offer from IOSH to assess all current members – except those who enter via the grandfathering clause – to establish where they should sit within the new membership structure.

Those current NZISM members who have already achieved professional status will automatically transfer to the equivalent status under the new scheme.

As with the IOSH scheme, active participation in career-long CPD will be mandatory for all members above affiliate level in order to maintain their membership at their current level. Members who do not complete CPD will lose their higher status and be demoted to affiliate level.

Cultural perceptions

Visiting Canadian consultant Tony Roithmayr (right) is pictured with his New Zealand-based colleague Heidi Borner and David Calvert, executive director of the NZ Safety Council.

Roithmayr, director of consultancy Great Safety Performance, spoke to NZSC members in Auckland about the value of regular staff safety culture perception surveys as a leading indicator of safety performance.

“Perception surveys are directly correlated to work practices and outcomes. There’s a predictive relationship.”

He cast doubt on the value of traditional safety audits, describing them as a lagging indicator which studies had shown failed the correlation test: a good audit did not mean fewer injuries, nor did a bad audit necessarily imply more injuries.

There is still a place for certain lagging indicators, he said, but proactive safety management requires the use of verifiable leading indicators to effectively identify and close safety performance gaps.

His own culture survey method centres around asking workers questions grouped under four categories: do you know what to do? Are you able to do it? Are you equipped to do it? Do you want to do it? And then a final question around interactions: do your interactions with others, and the workplace culture, support you to do what you need to do in your job safely every day?

Strategy under review

The Department of Labour’s Jim Murphy (workplace policy manager), Frances Lane Brooker (strategy review project manager) and Craig Armitage (head of health and safety) are pictured at a breakfast meeting in Auckland called by the department to seek input to its review of the Workplace Health and Safety Strategy.

The review takes place three years after the strategy was launched, and is one of the priorities for new labour minister Kate Wilkinson. In asking for submissions, Armitage asked people to think about leadership, capability, knowledge, and infrastructure, and the way all four operate together to change OHS. The DoL expects to advise the minister by the end of June.

NEW RESOURCES

Department of Labour www.dol.govt.nz

  • • 
    First Aid Equipment, Facilities and Training – Best Practice Guide (draft)
  • • 
    Consultation: Approved COP for Youth in the Entertainment Industry
  • • 
    Consultation: Guidelines for the Prevention of falls

Brush Wellman www.berylliumsafety.com

Guide on Beryllium Safety – an interactive guide to working safely with beryllium and and beryllium-containing materials.

Poll results: professional developments

Our thanks to the 94 people who took part in our opinion poll on three key developments in the move to make health and safety more of a profession. Congratulations to participants John Bathurst (Porirua), Dianne Campton (Auckland) and Tony Catterson (Waihi), whose names were drawn out of the hat to win a copy of David Brown’s classic book  Beating Stress at Work, published by Brookers. Here are the questions with numeric responses and a brief selection of written responses. A larger selection of written responses is on the Safeguard website.

Q: To which of the following organisations do you belong?

54.2% NZISM; 29.2% NZ Safety Council; 11.1% Human Resources Institute of NZ; 9.7% IOSH; 8.3% NZ Institute of Management; 4.2% NZOHNA

Q: Are you an employee of the Department of Labour?

6.4% yes

Q: The Department of Labour is talking about having its 150 health and safety inspectors join the NZ Institute of Safety Management (NZISM). What do you think of this?

88.2% supportive (69.1% very much, 19.1% mildly).

  • • 
    The inspectors need standards of professionalism and consistency as much as other practitioners, and to be able to talk to those practitioners informally, through the networks. For those who have some history and a memory, this is where we were 20 years ago, with the NZIFI evolving into the IOSHP (now in recess).
  • • 
    We need a more consistent standard, and probably the easiest way to do this is to have all health and safety professionals working under one umbrella.
  • • 
    NZISM should be divorced from government and be fully independent. Having DoL inspectors as part of this organisation will compromise this.

Q. The NZISM is in discussion with UK-based IOSH with the likely outcome that NZISM will adopt a New Zealand-ised version of IOSH’s professional standards and development programme. What do you think of this?

92.5% supportive (63.8% very much, 28.7% mildly)

  • • 
    We have been waiting a long time for something to happen (many would say too long.) This will provide a rapid, robust and effective route for it to occur. The international recognition of the certification/registration will also be very attractive to younger people coming into the profession.
  • • 
    We need some professional standards that are internationally recognised. IOSH offers this!
  • • 
    How much will it cost and who is going to pay for it? I ask after watching another trade slowly being forced to certify nationally, and the slow progress and bureaucracy surrounding the process involved. We need to be careful what we wish for.

Q: Another likely outcome is the establishment of a New Zealand registration board for health and safety practitioners with representatives from NZISM, Dept of Labour, ACC, and other interested groups. The board would set standards and assess candidates. What do you think of this?

86.1% supportive (60.6% very much, 25.5% mildly)

  • • 
    Fantastic. Needs to be independent of any organisation, and not money-making or dependant upon membership numbers.
  • • 
    The body needs to be independent from every organisation currently in NZ. Neither NZISM nor NZSC should lead this board, but be members.
  • • 
    It would improve credibility and accountability to set standards and codes of ethics for practitioners.
  • • 
    It will become like the nurses’ registration: takes a lot of fees but nothing constructive comes from it.

Q: Should all three of these initiatives be implemented, what impact do you think this would have on health and safety in New Zealand?

  • • 
    Simplicity – OHS professionals have a clear path. Transparency – customers know what they are getting (no cowboys).
  • • 
    It will not improve safety to the degree we need. Unless there are proper qualifications, training and a pathway to professional registration, as implemented by the NZSC, then it is more of the same, with posturing from NZISM who are really trying to hit the mark below the bar.
  • • 
    It would finally professionalise the industry and give greater transparency, especially if all practitioners must comply
  • • 
    Would be beneficial as there would be a benchmark for all practitioners. Must be better than the current situation where anyone can call themselves an OHS professional. I look forward to the day when any job advert asks for a minimum OHS qualification, such as happens in UK with CMIOSH.
  • • 
    1. Removing impartiality of DoL (what they have of it) 2. Dumbing down the industry. 3. Handing over power to assess an entire body of professionals to a group of people who can’t manage themselves or potentially meet the assessment standards. 4. For me it confirms NZISM hasn’t got a clue how safety should be managed.
  • • 
    This would finally put to rest the division of safety practitioners in NZ and provide a single body that can lead the development and promotion of health and safety and its practitioners in NZ. The sooner this can happen the better.

$alary $urvey 2009

At this time last year we conducted our first salary survey of New Zealand health and safety practitioners. The response was fantastic and the summary of results generated huge interest, so much so that we decided at the time to do it again in 2009.

How has the economic downturn affected salaries? Alternatively, to what extent have employers begun to acknowledge the value added by skilled and qualified OHS practitioners?

This is the sort of information that will only be revealed if readers like you take part. Be assured your responses will be totally anonymous to us. There will be no way for us to identify you, so unlike our usual reader surveys or polls, this time we can offer no prize incentive to enter.

However, we hope you’ll agree that the aggregated information from this survey will be of assistance to the OHS sector, so your participation will be worthwhile.

Visit www.safeguard.co.nz to access the survey, and be sure to do so before it closes on Wednesday July 15.

Fall prevention requirements under the HSE Act

Maarten Quivooy, the Department of Labour’s Group Manager Workplace Services, notes that a distinction is often made between falls from heights greater than three metres and those lower than three metres. In fact more injuries occur from falls from heights of less than three metres.

Regulation 21 of The Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995 is the source of the oft-quoted “three metre rule”. It is often mistakenly believed that no further action is needed where a person faces the risk of a fall of less than three metres. This belief is wrong and ignores the overarching duties in the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (the Act). In essence, Regulation 21 merely reinforces the requirement for a means of preventing a fall from a height greater than three metres.

The Act sets out the performance required of duty holders. Section 5 defines the object of the Act: “The object of the Act is to promote the prevention of harm to all persons at work and other persons in, or in the vicinity of, a place of work by – (b) defining hazards and harm in a comprehensive way so that all hazards and harm are covered, including harm caused by work-related stress and hazardous behaviour caused by certain temporary conditions.”

Section 6 states that “Every employer shall take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work”. Sections 8 to 10 of the Act set out the hierarchy of duties for employers to be considered in sequence. This is the “Eliminate, Isolate, Minimise” process.

The same responsibility to manage hazards through the hierarchy of elimination, isolation and minimisation also applies to self-employed persons and principals under Section 17 and 18 of the Act.

Where work may expose people to the hazard of a fall from height, the person in control of the place of work or the activity should:

  • • 
    Consider whether the job can be done without exposing people to the hazard (eliminate). This can often be best achieved by considering such elimination at the design, construction planning and tendering stages. The use of remote release shackle during pre-cast panel erection is a good example of hazard elimination.
  • • 
    If elimination is not practicable then steps should be take to isolate people from the hazard. Safe working platform guardrail systems, work positioning systems, etc are often used to achieve this.
  • • 
    If neither are practicable then steps should be taken to minimise the likelihood of harm resulting. This means considering the use of personal protective equipment, safety nets, airbag fall arrest systems, etc.

The Department of Labour will never recommend minimisation as the first option. Many organisations have shown that wit adequate planning, cooperation between parties and effective design it is possible to eliminate or significantly reduce the nee for working at height in the first place. At each decision point the test to be applied is practicability, not just cost.

Prosecutions will be taken in the most serious situations. That is, where the most serious instances of non-compliance have occurred or where non-compliance is flagrant or wilful, or the harm or potential harm is severe.

However, the decision to prosecute is also influenced by factors such as whether there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and/or there is a significant public interest in prosecution.

Q&A

Got a question of broad interest?

Let us try to answer it for you.

Q: We have just purchased several lanyards from a reputable supplier. The lanyards are adjustable and allow a maximum total extension of 2.2m. AS/NZS 1891.4:2000 Part 4, Section 8.3, stipulates a 2m maximum free fall distance when working in a fall arrest situation. Are these lanyards therefore compliant if the user can extend them beyond the 2m limit, or is it down to the person to ensure that they are not set beyond this limit?

Different length lanyards can be used in different applications. Reference to 2 metre lanyards is based on any fall arrest system ensuring the arresting force applied to the person should not exceed 6 kN. A 2m lanyard correctly set up and attached directly to a fixed anchorage point should achieve this.

In establishing a compliant and safe fall arrest system the critical issue to focus on is the fall factor, which is the product of the potential fall distance and the length of the fall-arresting system including the lanyard assembly. In any setup the fall factor should not exceed 1. To calculate this, divide the potential fall distance by the length of the lanyard assembly.

The actual fall distance will be determined by the height and position of attachment to the anchorage point of the system. The user if trained (the DoL accepts NZQA Std 15757 or equivalent as appropriate training in fall arrest systems meeting s13 of the HSE Act), or a competent supervisor, should ensure that the maximum vertical distance from the lanyard anchorage point to the harness attachment does not exceed 2m. Fall factor is 2m divided by lanyard length 2m, equals 1. If a longer lanyard (2.2m) is used the anchorage point should be higher to reduce the fall distance.

Thomson Reuters

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