With the roll out of new Health and Safety legislation in New Zealand this year, Vertical Horizonz have put together a few pointers that may help organisations develop, and ensure they are prepared for the changes ahead. None of the points require a great deal of time to develop, but it might be prudent to ensure that the whole workforce has 'bought in' to the aim; after all, it is about everyone going home safely.
- Involve employees by empowering them to demonstrate their commitment to safety which also develops skills, pride and ownership. A good place to start would be to ask the entire workforce by way of a survey where they feel improvement is required. Following the results of the survey allow them to find suitable and effective solutions.
- Develop a safety culture by actively encouraging the entire workforce to document hazards. These hazards can be assessed by the Health and Safety committee and with consultation with the workforce, suitable and effective control measures can be developed.
- Ensure that all levels of the organisation buy in to the culture. Managers and supervisors actions and attitudes can have a huge impact on the perceptions of the employee's and safety performance.
- Make sure the safety and health program and mission statement is clearly documented and aligns to the organisational goals. This must be backed up by ensuring it is communicated to all relevant stakeholders.
- Preparation is important. Emergencies can happen to anyone and the eventual outcome is directly linked to the preparation. It is important to identify the worst case scenario, whether it is working at heights or a building fire, identify the risks and potential outcomes and plan accordingly.
- Be proactive. The new Health and Safety Act will place a greater emphasis on the health on the workforce. By promoting initiatives designed to improve health and reduce stress you will find that your workforce will improve both attendance and productivity. Research points to a drop in medical costs of more than three dollars for every dollar invested in wellness, and a drop in absenteeism costs of more than two dollars for every one dollar spent.
- Consult with Worksafe. If you are unsure or would like guidance, speaking with Worksafe is a good place to start. Their approach is to educate stakeholders by providing relevant, easy-to-read information, advice and guidance so they can understand and implement key health and safety practices.