Whether you are a tradesperson, a construction worker or a DIY enthusiast, safety on the worksite is essential. At Dysart ITM, we believe in keeping all our customers safe. Whether you’re laying a deck or using special tools, due diligence is important. Today we have put together a guide to help you understand the new health and safety regulations in New Zealand as well as some strategies for staying safe on the job.
Why Safety Is Important
In April 2016, the new Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) came into effect in New Zealand. Sadly, our country has been lagging behind other developed nations when it comes to effective work health and safety. In New Zealand, 52 workers die on the job every year, while hundreds more are injured. 600-900 people also die from work-related diseases each year. Getting those number down is important, and we can all do our part.
While it is important for workers to understand and follow the rules, the first step is for senior managers to do their due diligence. This means ensuring that proper protocols, equipment, signage, and other measures are in place. The best practices and equipment for each individual business will differ somewhat, but the important thing is that they exist and they are clearly communicated and enforced.
Workers themselves have a key role to play in ensuring good health and safety at work. As employees, you have a responsibility to follow all reasonable Worksafe regulations. You should be involved in helping management and your team come up with the best practices and rules for your organisation.
Managing Risks at Work
The first step in managing risks to health and safety at work is identifying them. Workers and all levels of management need to work together to identify risks – a special focus should be placed on factors that could cause serious injury, illness, or death.
Eliminate or Minimise
Once you have identified and prioritised your risks, the next step is to come up with reasonable, achievable ways to deal with them in your workplace. Consider whether the risk can be eliminated by using different equipment, by eliminating the need for a dangerous job, or through other means. If the risk can’t be done away with, use control measures to minimise it as much as possible. There are often industry standard control measures you can use, but you may need to come up with your own too. All risk assessments and control measures should be reviewed regularly.
Monitor Your Performance
Whatever control measures you decide on, it is not enough for them to work only in theory. Their effectiveness in practice needs to be monitored carefully. A business’s employees play a critical role in this process. You are the ones getting the daily, first-hand experience with the safety protocols. If you notice that something isn’t working or you have ideas for improving a control measure, speak up and tell management. It’s important that the entire business works as a team to ensure good health and safety for everyone.
There are a lot of great resources and tools on the Worksafe New Zealand website to help you and your co-workers understand and implement the new laws. Stay educated and stay vigilant, because every New Zealander who works should have the right to come home safely.