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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

WorkSafe and ACC partner up

WorkSafe and ACC partner up
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New Zealand

Healthcare has been added to the regular set of four high-risk industry sectors in a historic first joint action plan developed by ACC and the health and safety regulator. The plan also anticipates the replacement of the 15-year-old WSMP discounts with a set of economic incentives better aligned with today’s H&S environment and the insights of behavioural economics.

The 2016-19 action plan, Reducing Harm in New Zealand Workplaces, sets out how the two government agencies will coordinate to focus their work to help achieve the government’s aim of a 25% reduction in fatalities and serious injuries by 2020.

The plan focuses on five industry sectors and four generic risks which cut across multiple industries; it also outlines three broad areas of activity to support all businesses, and two topics of special interest: work-related health and working with the 100 businesses with the highest rates of serious injury.

WorkSafe will take the lead on four of the industry sectors – agriculture, construction, forestry, and manufacturing – while ACC will take the lead on healthcare and social assistance, a sector that has been singled out for three reasons: its high number of injuries (particularly body stress, slips, trips and falls, and work-related health); the pressure being placed on healthcare by the country’s ageing population; and the realisation that improving staff safety will also improve patient safety.

The four generic risks are body stress (ie musculoskeletal disorders under another name), working in and around vehicles, clean air, and slips, trips and falls. ACC will take the lead on body stress and slips, trips and falls (though WorkSafe will lead on falls from height), while the regulator will lead on vehicles and clean air.

The action plan acknowledges the value of wellbeing programmes in addressing lifestyle-related health conditions, but clearly states that plan activity will focus on raising awareness of the exposure risks which lead to work-related ill health. “Work-related health is often overly focused on medical conditions rather than awareness of exposure and simple prevention measures,” the authors note.

Education and awareness is the first of three activities to help all businesses, and includes small business support (led by ACC), more general education and awareness-raising (led by WorkSafe), and further testing of the Safety Star Rating System currently under trial (led by ACC, WorkSafe and MBIE).

Second is the issue of offering an economic incentive to improve H&S practice, where the plan clearly signals the likely end of the WSMP audit and the development of something to replace it. ACC, it says, has done its sums and figured out that the levy discounts offered to the businesses that have adopted the WSMP audit have exceeded in value the reduction in claims costs from those businesses.

“These programmes have been in the market for some time,” notes the plan, “and while they initially stimulated behaviour change the approach adopted is no longer considered the best for driving ongoing improvement.”

The plan gives no hint as to how the Safety Star Rating scheme might fit into the intention to replace WSMP with better economic incentives.

The third area of activity is in workforce development, which anticipates the delivery of a Workforce Development Plan by the end of this year; and in worker engagement and participation, for which a plan is set to be developed during 2017.



Organisations Mentioned:
ACC; WorkSafe NZ
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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