For a long time Health and Safety has been treated by some workers and employers as (at best) a vital tick box exercise – or (at worst) an inconvenient and pointless waste of time.
Thankfully Health and Safety attitudes in New Zealand are absolutely changing. We’ve found that our clients are sincerely passionate about the health and safety of the workers in their work places.
But what does effective Health and Safety at work look like? Yes you need your Health and Safety Policy documents, your Processes, your Safety Procedures (SWMS, SOPS, SSSP’s), your Traffic Management Plans, your Hazard Register, your Accident and Incident Forms and you need to understand and provide the correct Personal Protective Equipment. And yes you also need committed leadership from the top to ensure worker buy-in.
And yet there is more to Health and Safety than that.
There are companies that can come in, do a quick consult and simply create this material for you (in fact, we can too, if thats what you want). This is sufficient and perfectly acceptable – you will meet your requirements under the Health and Safety at Work Act as long as your systems are implemented, your leaders are leading the way and your workers are engaged and participating.
But what we have found is that implementation and participation is that much harder if we do not engage your workers at the early stages of the creation of your Health and Safety systems. Effective Health and Safety at work requires a real and deep understanding of the unique hazards, risks and challenges your workers face in your workplace. This is not a cookie cutter exercise.
The people who best understand the hazards, risks and challenges in your unique business are in fact your workers. The people that spend their days in the workplaces, working with the machinery, equipment, plant and tools in the offices, buildings, warehouses or worksites that you provide. These people may be managers, or on the Health and Safety committee, or not – they may be working on the shop floor or coal face of the business.
So how do we make sure that the Health and Safety policy, processes and procedures work for you and your workers?
That’s simple. We work with you and them. A couple of weeks ago it was identified that one of our clients required a Traffic Management Plan to separate pedestrians from vehicles. Their business is growing and this was becoming an increasingly bigger risk. Coordinate came up with the initial design that ensured segregation and compliance, we shared this with the factory manager who came up with a new iteration. Then we provided all members of the Health and Safety Committee with both versions and a blank site plan for them to work out the best solution or find new solutions. Watch this space! The new plan will be decided by the client in the next Health and Safety Meeting at the beginning of August. We can’t wait to see what the end result is because the truth of the matter is "Great things in business are never done by one person; they're done by a team” (Steve Jobs)