It only takes a minute...
How a moment's thought could help to save a life
One of the key messages of the Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) is that we share a collective responsibility to get ourselves and our team home safely at the end of every working day. So what are some of the simple actions we can take to help achieve this crucial objective?
Did you know that, on average, one person dies as a result of an incident at work every week in New Zealand?
The overall aim of HSWA is simple: to reduce the number of people injured or killed by incidents in the workplace. Whether standing on a scaffold at a construction site or seated behind a desk in an accounts department, we have to acknowledge our own role in keeping each other safe.
Despite this health & safety message being heavily promoted, most recently through a high profile TV advertising campaign, April was a truly awful month, with RadioNZ reporting seven workplace fatalities in a fortnight.
This isn't good enough. We have to do more to protect ourselves and our colleagues.
Life seems to move at an alarming rate, but it pays to just take a moment and consider our literal place in the world.
Do you remember when you were taught to cross the road? Stop, look, listen, think! These same straightforward principles can apply to health & safety too.
To provide an exhaustive list of queries and factors would be impossible, but here are a few quick ideas to get the ball rolling:
What potential risks can I see? Trip hazards, uneven ground or potholes, unexpected ponding, power lines overhead, unauthorised people wandering across the site…
What potential risks can I hear? Reversing trucks, loud machinery, fizzing or buzzing from an electrical connection, excessive background noise from the surrounding area…
What else do I need to stop and think about? Can I smell any chemicals? Am I the only person on site? Should I be working in this weather? If I needed to call for help, would my cellphone work here? How can I keep myself and my workmates safer
Speak up for yourself and your colleagues
The more we discuss something, the more real it feels to us.
Sharing information, asking questions, making suggestions – this is how we learn, and how positive procedural changes can be devised and implemented. That's why it's vitally important that companies encourage their teams to voice their concerns.
At this point, I would invite you to watch Kate's story. This poignant video was produced by Jacobs following the tragic accidental death of one of their civil engineers in the UK, whilst completing what should have been a simple stop at an apparently low-risk site. The company have waived the copyright on this film, so that it can be widely viewed and people may choose to act upon its message.
It's just the right thing to do
Adhering to HSWA is not just a legal obligation – for which non-compliance can result in imprisonment and fines of up to $3,000,000 – it's a moral obligation too.
If you'd like to know how My Health & Safety could help you look after your team and meet your HSWA requirements, please don't hesitate to get in touch.