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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters


Money matters 2016

PETER BATEMAN analyses this year’s survey of incomes and other matters related to the employment of health & safety practitioners, occ health nurses and occ hygienists.

Our thanks to everyone who took part in this year’s survey – you have helped smash the record, as the 2016 total of 479 respondents was well over a hundred more than the previous record set in 2014, when we had 351 respondents.

As we did last year, entry to the survey was limited to health & safety practitioners, occupational health nurses, and occupational hygienists – the people whose everyday focus is the improvement of workplace health or safety or both.

One of the striking statistics is that 117 of those 479 respondents – almost a quarter of them – did not indicate they were a member of any of the professional bodies available to select. Whether this is due to lack of awareness, recent entry into the H&S world, cost, or a deliberate decision to steer clear of professional bodies, it poses a challenge for HASANZ and its constituent groups.

A new question this year asked respondents to estimate the amount of time they spend on each of the four classic risk areas. It’s good to see 10% of time devoted to process safety risks, and less than half on personal safety – leaving plenty of time for health protection and promotion, which is heartening.

On the income side, perhaps the most striking result is that the number of people reporting earning $140,000 or more doubled from 2015, from 6% to 12%. One respondent even chided us for having such a low upper limit, saying that some group HSE managers earned $300K or more. Whoever said there’s no money in health and safety?

The median income for full time respondents rose by barely 1% over last year, from $87,390 to $88,410, but it is pleasing to see the gender gap closing slightly, from $16,460 last year down to $14,150 this year. Let’s hope this trend continues.

On the self-employed front, those whose work is charged out by the hour reported an average hourly rate of $135 per hour, up $20 on last year (though the median hourly rate didn’t change, which implies it was the upper half of hourly rates that went up).

Another pleasing result is a much clearer gap in incomes reported from those with higher H&S qualifications, where 91 respondents working full time and with a post-graduate diploma earned a median income of $105,000, while the 24 respondents with a master’s degree in H&S earned a median of $121,000. Message? Studying pays off.

Respondents also had the opportunity to say what would improve H&S as a career, and being an opinionated bunch they took advantage of it. A selection of comments follows later in this section.

Table 1   THE SUMMARY DATA (N = 479) The most common response is in bold
GENDER SPLIT 
Male45.5%
Female54.5%
  
AGE RANGE 
Under 304.8%
30-3916.5%
40-4930.7%
50-5936.3%
60-6911.3%
70+0.5%
  
HOW LONG IN OHS ROLES? 
3 years or less20.5%
4 – 9 years31.5%
10 years or more48.0%
  
HIGHEST FORMAL OHS QUALIFICATION?
H&S rep training7.1%
Certificate (eg NZQA)26.3%
Diploma25.5%
Bachelor’s degree6.1%
Post-grad diploma21.3%
Master’s or PhD5.2%
No OHS qualification8.6%
  
WHICH BODY(S) DO YOU CURRENTLY BELONG TO?
IOSH22.9%
NZIHSM1.4%
NZISM70.7%
NZOHNA18.0%
NZ Occ Hygiene Soc3.3%
NZ Safety Council7.2%
Safety Institute of Australia3.0%
HRINZ4.1%
(Note: only 362 people responded to this question, which suggests 117 respondents belong to none of these bodies. The percentages are “out of 362”. They add to more than 100 because some people belong to multiple bodies.)
  
DO YOU WORK FULL TIME? 
Yes91.0%
No9.0%
  
THE FOCUS OF YOUR WORK LIES IN WHICH INDUSTRY SECTOR(S)?
Agriculture/forestry/fishing14.0%
Construction33.8%
Education6.2%
Government (local or central)17.0%
Healthcare10.0%
Hospitality3.0%
Manufacturing35.0%
Mining/oil & gas8.9%
Not-for-profit4.0%
Retail/wholesale7.2%
Transport17.2%
Utilities14.7%
  
WHERE IN NZ ARE YOU BASED? 
Auckland28.2%
Hamilton4.6%
Tauranga3.3%
Wellington11.9%
North Island (elsewhere)21.5%
Christchurch14.6%
Dunedin2.7%
South Island (elsewhere)13.2%
  
WHAT PROPORTION OF TIME DO YOU SPEND ON EACH TYPE OF RISK?
Catastrophic risks (eg explosions)10%
Work-related safety risks (eg falls, machinery, vehicles)44%
Work-related health risks (eg noise, dust, chemicals, lifting, bullying)27%
Personal health-related safety risks (eg impairment, hearing/eyesight, heart health)18%
  
WHAT OTHER ROLES DO YOU ALSO HAVE RESPONSIBILITY FOR?
Office administration33.7%
Environment41.6%
HR17.8%
Quality32.2%
ACC/rehab60.2%
Security14.4%
  
WHO DO YOU REPORT TO? 
Someone in a more senior OHS role25.7%
An operational/line/regional manager18.0%
HR8.8%
CEO/GM/Director38.0%
Not applicable (self employed)6.3%
Other role3.3%
  
ARE YOU IN THE SAME ROLE WITH THE SAME ORGANISATION AS 12 MONTHS AGO?
Yes78.5%
No21.5%
  
FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, HOW LIKELY ARE YOU STILL TO BE WORKING IN OHS?
Very likely53.1%
Quite likely33.0%
Not very likely12.1%
Certainly not1.9%
  
SINCE 2014 HAVE YOU BEEN MADE REDUNDANT FROM AN OHS ROLE?
Yes7.0%
No93.0%
  

Table 2   OVERALL INCOME
NOTE: this data includes only respondents working full time. N = 436
  
WHICH BEST DESCRIBES YOUR EMPLOYMENT STATUS?
Employee89.2%
Self-employed10.8%
  
WHAT IS YOUR ANNUAL BASE PERSONAL INCOME BEFORE TAX? (DO NOT INCLUDE ALLOWANCES)
Under $40,000Nil
$40,000 - $49,9991.6%
$50,000 - $59,9996.2%
$60,000 - $69,99910.6%
$70,000 - $79,99918.9%
$80,000 - $89,99915.2%
$90,000 - $99,99911.1%
$100,000 - $119,99915.0%
$120,000 - $139,9999.2%
$140,000+12.2%
  
WHICH BENEFIT(S) DO YOU RECEIVE?
Company vehicle43.8%
Superannuation scheme39.1%
Time off for study/CPD47.2%
Health insurance35.7%
  
ARE YOUR SERVICES ROUTINELY CHARGED OUT TO EXTERNAL CLIENTS?
Yes18.9%
No81.1%
  
(For those who answered Yes above; N=80) 
WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL HOURLY CHARGE RATE?
Average$135/hour
Median$120/hour
  

Table 3   BASE INCOME
An average is meaningless. Instead we have used the median, calculated as the middle value in an ordered list. Only where N is 20 or more has a value been calculated. NOTE: this data includes only respondents working full time
   
CATEGORYNBASE INCOME ($)
Overall43688,410
By gender  
Male21494,310
Female22280,160
By age group  
Under 302165,000
30-397281,780
40-4913495,420
50-5916093,410
60-692490,000
By time in OHS  
3 years or less8669,760
4 – 9 years13585,420
10+ years21597,410
By OHS qualification  
H&S rep training2778,330
Certificate12079,550
Diploma11386,960
Bachelor’s degree2591,110
Post-graduate diploma91105,560
Master’s/PhD24121,670
By industry sector  
Ag/forestry/fishing5678,440
Construction14787,620
Education2895,000
Healthcare3986,670
Government7391,250
Manufacturing15083,040
Mining/oil & gas34105,000
Retail/wholesale2988,000
Transport7687,220
Utilities33100,000
By location  
Auckland12593,570
Hamilton2095,000
Wellington5198,570
North Island (elsewhere)9284,090
Christchurch6687,860
South Island (not Chch, Dunedin)5482,500
By professional body membership  
IOSH78104,380
NZISM24193,700
NZOHNA5378,570
NZSC22108,750
   

Table 4   COMPARISON WITH PREVIOUS SURVEYS
YEAR201620152014
No. of respondents overall479328351
% aged under 5052.052.152.4
% with high OHS qualifications32.634.231.9
(degree/postgrad dip or above)   
No. of respondents (full time)436296312
Median income – overall full time88,41087,39081,930
Median income – male full time94,31095,43089,130
Median income – female full time80,16078,97076,570

Ideas for improvement

In the salary survey we asked one open question:

What could be done to make a career in health and safety more appealing?

Amid the expected calls for better pay, greater recognition and professional registration there were some interesting responses. Here is an edited selection of those which caught our eye. The full set of responses is available at safeguard.co.nz under “Safeguard surveys”.

Better career path progression for new entrants wanting to make the first step in H&S, plus formal mentoring of new people.

What is turning people off the role is the disconnect between the HSE rhetoric and the reality - exactly like it was in the 2000s. Most advisors feel like lone voices over issues, and work against the tombstone mentality, ie it has to be blood on the floor before anything changes.

Get NZISM to sharpen up its act with professional grading, not just rely on IOSH. A system more aligned with SIA would be much better.

Standardising what is taught. Too many providers all with their own twist on things.

More opportunity for collegial interaction in smaller towns to provide both support and networking.

Recognition that H&S professionals should be trained and have greater expertise in the engineering disciplines that have a direct influence on identifying, analysing and controlling process safety risk.

Weed out the individuals who have no qualifications and yet promote themselves as H&S professionals.

Cultural change from “have to” to “want to”.

Awareness that now it is often not a policing role, more assurance, advisory and collaborative – much more productive!

A higher public profile for H&S practitioners. More positive journalism in the wider media, less lazy journalism about H&S topics, such as a Stuff story on a handyman quitting his business over “health and safety” legislation. All of this promotes the idea that H&S is bureaucratic nonsense and feeds people’s prejudices.

A sheriff’s badge!

Mentoring opportunities, Women-in-Safety networking and support forums.

Dispelling myths about what we do. Modern H&S is not about clipboards and pocket protectors, it is about educating, engaging and inspiring people to contribute to safety in a meaningful and positive way.

Workplaces to recognise the health benefits of being at work and focus on health at work in equal measure to that given to safety.

Accept NEBOSH IGC as a grading for NZISM Grad. I have years of experience and due to work, financial and family commitments cannot do any additional study.

One clear professional ethics body, a list of WorkSafe-recognised H&S qualifications, and a qualifications pathway.

More affordable H&S education. It is very expensive.

Make it a vocational subject during high school and trade courses to tertiary level. Makes it mainstream rather than a bolt-on extra.

Have companies and other H&S professionals move focus from compliance to people-based safety/human factors.

To promote the role as about leadership coaching rather than enforcement. Enforcement should be done by the direct managers and supervisors.

What is not appealing about being in such a diverse career path? No two days are the same. I love it!

A clearer definition of legislative requirements around documentation of risk management. WorkSafe says “it’s not a paperwork exercise” but ACC’s WSMP requires documented evidence of virtually every policy, procedure and continuous adherence.

Improve the quality and relevance of formal H&S qualifications available in NZ. There is a growing emphasis on qualifications but the providers are few and the products they offer are out of touch with industry needs and the changing legislative environment.

Stop focusing on the negative aspects, it’s a form of intimidation (“Do the right thing or something bad will happen”). Focus on inspiring people to do the right thing and become involved in H&S.

Ensure organisations understand the difference between roles. A H&S manager is not a H&S coordinator which is not an advisor. Most jobs advertised are stating coordinator but carry the responsibility of a manager. I fear this is to keep pay rates down.

Recognise the different skill sets of an officer, advisor, manager and group HSE manager, so they can place pay scales on parity with other senior managers.

Market the role as a hero for all, not as a compliance officer for “the man”.

Variety in the colour of high visibility clothing. I have a lot of orange items.

Less emphasis on systems and auditing and more emphasis on the role of the H&S person as an educating leader.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH NURSING

More focus on health promotion and prevention of disease would attract more younger nurses.

Re-establishment of the OHN role. Cheaper and more user friendly than H&S manager role. Staff need access to the human factor in the organisation, which is found outside formal HR roles.

OHNs with post graduate diplomas plus a nursing degree and years of experience are paid less then safety advisors who have minimal or no qualifications, possibly because safety is an easy tangible fix. OHNs are mainly women and their role is possibly viewed as a soft one with outcomes that can’t be measured now or easily, and therefore aren’t as valued.

On behalf of self-employed OHNs I think the businesses which contract nurses to do compliance monitoring etc would be better served if they found out what other skills and knowledge OHNs have, as this is hugely underutilised. Nurse work is downgraded to that of technician if only contracted to do monitoring health checks.

A greater recognition of the specialised skills, knowledge and experience an occupational health nurse has around the identification, assessment, control and management of work-related health risks – given that workers are far more likely to die from exposure to a health risk than a safety risk. And remuneration rates that reflect this, or at least equal that of generalist H&S practitioners.

Make it attractive to younger nurses and as exciting as hospital or private sector. Emphasise working with “well” people as opposed to “ill” people.

A much better understanding of the occupational nursing role and that this and safety mix and mix well. Nurses have a huge health belt under them, and have moved on from knitting in a first aid room. If you have an OHN on site, they can undertake investigations, health monitoring, occ hygiene screening, offer confidential wellbeing services, teach, educate, rehabilitate and undertake a broad spectrum scope of practice other than plaster bearer.

PETER BATEMAN

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