Health and Safety Taskforce
HRINZ (Human Resources Institute of New Zealand) is a not-for-profit membership organisation representing the interests of 4000+ individual members, who represent over 50% of the known New Zealand HR market. HRINZ members include those working in private and public sector organisations, as well as students and academics. HRINZ provides members with education and information services, conferences and seminars, publications, representation at government and official levels, and networking opportunities. This helps members to develop their professional skills and knowledge in the practice and teaching of Human Resources Management.
HRINZ supports actions that will genuinely improve the safety outcomes of people within New Zealand workplaces, particularly given the influence of culture and behaviour in the workplace acknowledged by the taskforce.
HRINZ would welcome an opportunity to participate in any group considering ways to influence these matters.
- Organisational size, resource and industry should be taken into account in regulations and the materials available. For example, it may be appropriate that specific industries have greater requirements due the higher level of hazard they contain.
- The use of the Robens approach to legislation should be reviewed – the underlying philosophy and strategy needs to drive design (structure following strategy) rather than simply adding additional layers or making minor changes if the objectives set for the Taskforce are to be achieved.
- Hazard management and risk management should be aligned, therefore in developing health and safety regulations, existing risk management standards should be considered.
- A single agency should be established to regulate and monitor workplace health and safety, to avoid confusion (a basic principle in designing an effective system being clarity and simplicity to avoid process failure).
- Place greater emphasis on employee responsibility to actively safeguard their own safety and that of fellow workers.
Changing Workforce and Work Arrangements
Worker Participation and Engagement
- Employee participation is vital in improving workplace outcomes, including in health and safety. However those involved need to be engaged and focused on health and safety issues. No one group (such as union members) should have preference in representation, all staff should equally have the opportunity to contribute. Union members often participate through the volunteering and election processes, as their personal values make health and safety of interest to them.
- All workplaces should have a participation system.
Leadership and Governance
- Company directors should be educated in health and safety legislation, including as it applies to the organisations they govern, to enable health and safety to be effectively monitored by the board.
Capacity and Capability
- HRINZ supports the idea of increased access to health and safety qualifications, and is currently drafting a proposed health and safety specialisation within our member accreditation program. HRINZ also
recognise health and safety excellence via the HRINZ Health and Wellness award, with a health and safety manager winning the HRINZ Specialist of the Year in 2011.
- The role of health and safety specialist, including enforcement officer, needs an image overhaul to attract appropriate people. While HRINZ has many members who are health and safety experts and encourage events with a health and safety focus, this is a function that requires passion and often burns out or disillusions capable people. It may be appropriate that more operational people be encouraged into this field, but to do so appropriate career pathways (professional training and organisational recognition) needs to be provided/regulated.
- The role of inspectors needs to be developed further, with an appropriate qualifications and certificates that are revalidated every three years to remain relevant.
Measurement and Data
- We note that certain industries are more highly populated by specific population demographics, such as males, youth etc. It would be helpful if the statistics could be further broken down to determine which factors have greater impact.
- We agree that while injuries are measurable and identifiable, health impacts are often more difficult to identify and therefore prevent.
Our National Culture and Societal Expectations
- We encourage further work into the influence of the socio-cultural differences between New Zealand and the comparison countries. An understanding of these differences will be critical in developing initiatives for change that will be effective – we cannot simply replicate elements of other systems and
expect them to work without taking cultural factors into account.