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Taking Responsibility for Health & Safety Risk

Madeleine de Young – August 20, 2015

In November 2010, 29 miners died at Pike River Mine. An underground methane explosion trapped miners, their bodies were never recovered.

In 2015, the legacy of those miners will come to fruition as a reformed Health and Safety Bill will pass into law.

Many would say it couldn’t come sooner. The Pike River Royal Commission found that a key contributing factor to the 2010 tragedy was New Zealand’s inferior health and safety record.

In the years since Pike River, 297 workers have died while at work and upwards of 23,000 workers have been seriously injured. Work place injuries and illnesses cost New Zealand $3.5 billion per year.

Our high workplace death and injury rate is indicative of a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude towards health and safety that pervades New Zealand workplaces. It’s why New Zealand workplaces are twice as deadly as those in Australia and six times more deadly than those in the United Kingdom.

We need a change in attitude that makes good on the saying, ‘No one goes to work expecting to get hurt, sick or killed.’

The Health and Safety reform bill hopes to be instrumental in shifting Kiwis in the right direction. Government has set an aim that it reduce New Zealand’s workplace injury and death toll by 25% by 2020.

The new bill introduces the concept of a person conducting a business or undertaking, known as a PCBU. This concept puts the onus on businesses and their directors to ensure that their business is a safe place to work.

PCBUs will have a primary duty of care that requires that they ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable:

The health and safety of their works or those workers who are influenced or directed by the PCBU (e.g. workers and contractors)

That the health and safety of other people is not put at risk from work arried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking (e.g. visitors and customers)

Under this bill, failure to protect workers and visitors will result in harsher penalties. Where an offence of reckless conduct in respect to health and safety duty has occurred, the top penalty will be up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a $3,000 fine.

Protecting your workers against workplace injuries and in turn protecting your business from health and safety risk requires a plan.

CS-VUE’s new Risk Management module has been designed to meet changes to the Health and Safety Act.

Utilising modern technology, CS-VUE Risk Management features Risk Registers for Health and Safety, Environmental and Business risks with tools to help identify, mitigate, isolate and eliminate risks.

The benefits of using a dedicated risk management system are numerous. Risk management systems focus your efforts and help foster a consistent culture of risk aversion across your workplace.  Having a system that quantifies your efforts in regards to risk improves focus and perspective amongst your workers and makes risk a measurable KPI.

Paper based systems are inefficient. With an online risk management system, your business can save time and resources. Furthermore your data is protected long term, providing an irrefutable audit record.

CS-VUE Risk Management features risk registers, a customisable risk matrix, alerting and escalation system and document library.

Enhancing your business’ workplace health and safety doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult. It’s about making the decision to become a responsible business owner, implementing a system and making sure that all of your employees understand it.

For more information about how CS-VUE Risk Management could work for your business,contact us today.

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