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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

The Forum

Our selection of questions posted recently to the Safeguard forum, with a feature question including a selection of answers from forum members.

Browse the answers and/or join the forum at

Q: Does anyone know of any guidelines on the safe use of portable fan heaters in the workplace?

Q: What would be the effect on human health of spraying orchards with the antibiotic Streptomycin?

Q: Should staff wear steel caps while operating pallet jacks? Our current policy requires closed shoes for this area of the factory regardless if you are at the assembly line or using a pallet jack.

Q: Can someone recommend a training provider for confined space entry and working at heights? Someone who can provide practical training as well as the theory, ie: how to pick the right gear and practice an emergency rescue.

Q: Has anyone started benchmarking lag indicators within New Zealand? Is there a central source to find NZ and/or Australian safety data such as LTI?

Q: I am working through the risks associated with the manual handling of fly ash created from our boiler. I understand it can contain silica. Can someone point me to reputable information about the health risks?

Feature question: As of March 2012 to operate as a builder you’ll have to be licensed. In contrast, the safety profession remains unregulated. Anyone can present themselves as a safety professional. Should the safety profession be licensed?

This apparently innocent query provoked some fierce debate. One respondent lamented the HSE Act’s lack of any requirement for employers to use “a competent person” to advise them, causing the development of an unregulated profession. Another, a self-employed consultant, said the lack of licencing suited him because potential clients took the time to check out his credentials instead of relying on a register of names. However the consensus was that some form of regulation is desirable. The question is: would the Government do it, or would OHS practitioners themselves have the wit to organise it instead? A recent UK immigrant cautioned against following the UK model too closely, saying that companies there had developed a cynical attitude to OHS compliance, leading them to hire people with letters after their name while managing OHS by fear. Another respondent noted that lawyers, accountants, plumbers, teachers and gasfitters had all gone down the regulated road and it was time for OHS to follow. Others urged OHS practitioners to join a professional body and help change the national culture around health and safety. “Each one of us,” one observed, “is either part of the problem or part of the solution.”

Thomson Reuters

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