We don't always see stress and fatigue as being a safety issue, but it is.
Here's a statement worth reading from WorkSafe NZ;
"There is often confusion between challenge and stress in the workplace. While challenge at work can have positive effects on people, work related stress is a work-related health issue."
Here's a few thoughts to ponder on (most of these you will be aware of, but it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves).
Feel free to print off and hand to your manager/s to read over.
Is there adequate support around what is required for the job to be completed or is the employee being challenged enough? Low level of job control or when the employee is not consulted on things that involve them can also influence overall well-being.
Poorly managed changes such as downsizing, relocation, or the introduction of new technology or processes can contribute to increased stress and anxiety among your workers.
Treating employees fairly and impartially is vital for reducing stress levels. Avoiding bias, acknowledging their efforts, and clearly defining expectations can significantly contribute to a healthy work environment.
Strained relationships between co-workers or managers can be a significant stressor.
Remote or isolated work
Isolated work where there are no or few people around or communication is difficult is another stressor. Providing necessary resources, support and opportunities for social connection is important.
Hazardous working conditions not only pose a risk to employees' physical health but also impact their mental well-being.
If you would like any more information or support in implementing some strategies for these areas in your workplace, please don’t hesitate to be in touch, it's what we enjoy doing.
Theres still quite a bit of misunderstanding about PPE. I trust the following helps to clarify.
The definition of PPE is anything used or worn by a person (including clothing) to minimise risks to the person’s health and safety. This may include respiratory protective equipment, hearing protection, eye protection, protective clothing, and safety harness systems.
Duty of the worker under regulations:
Duty of the Business owner (PCBU):
There are various fines that can be imposed on the business owner for non-compliance.
One of the difficulties for the business owner is keeping a track of PPE - how often it should be checked and replaced etc.
We have a system to help you with this. Don’t hesitate to be in touch to discuss.
I read an article by Peter Nichol recently. Interesting to say the least. It is entitled "Recession? Not this year."
Heres the essence, of it;
· There's been a significant drop in energy prices.
E.g. Oil prices in July 2022 were around US$120 a barrel. It’s been trending down, currently around US $80 a barrel
· Container prices falling.
They skyrocketed in 2019 and peaked at around US $10,400. They're currently at around US $2,400
· The return of overseas tourists to NZ has exceeded expectations
· The US share market has risen almost 10% since its trough in October 2022, despite rising interest rates. This doesn’t happen when market participants expect a recession
· US inflation.
In the year to Dec 2022 it was 6.5%. While this is still well above the Feds target of 2%, it’s the lowest annual rate of inflation in the US for over a year. Fed spokespeople have already made statements saying that their next rises in interest rates will now be lower than previously forecast and the peak level of their policy interest rates will be lower too.
This latest picture from the US Fed should be good news for most other countries including NZ.
By reading just the above, it’s a little out of context. He provides much more information, background. See this link for the full article
Peter Nicholl joined the Reserve Bank of NZ where he worked for 22 years. He was chief economist for five years and deputy governor and deputy chief executive from 1990 to 1995.
In 1995, he became an executive director on the World Bank board representing NZ Australia, Korea, Cambodia, Mongolia and seven Pacific Island nations
There is a phrase used in the Health and Safety at Work Act that is sometimes misunderstood;
“So far as reasonably practicable”
It applies to many duties under the Act, but what does it mean?
Practicable : means if it is possible or able to be carried out.
Reasonably: doesn’t mean doing everything humanly possible to manage a risk. It means doing what other businesses would reasonably do, in the same situation.
E.g. It would be reasonable to expect a business, where their workers use a disc grinder, to have the guard in place and operators to wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.
It may not be reasonable to expect workers on a construction site to assemble all framing at ground level, before fitting the framing in place, at height. (Obviously working at ground level, reduces the possibility of a fall)
Although all businesses have different risks, what every business needs to understand is;
1. What its work-related HS risks are (especially those that have the potential to cause serious injury)
2. The likelihood of the risk occurring (e.g. falling from height)
3. The degree of harm that could result (e.g. extremely serious)
4. The options to eliminate the risk or if not practicable to eliminate the risk, to minimise the risk (e.g. Carry out as much of the task as practicable at ground level, then use appropriate edge protection while working at height)
5. The associated cost
Note: Consideration of cost should only take precedence over safety when the cost is grossly out of proportion to the risk.
The basis for the above is a WorkSafe document, available through this link;
Don’t hesitate to be in touch to discuss further.
With school holidays here, you may be going away. Here's some tips for keeping your home safe while away.
Secure all tools
Secure all ladders, axes, hammers and saws - anything that will help thieves break into your house.
Turn off all appliances
Make sure you turn off all appliances at the wall to minimise the risk of electrical fires.
Prevent leaks by turning off your water
Prevent leaks by turning off your water. Alternatively, have someone stay at your house or drop in regularly. They won't be able to stop a pipe leaking or bursting, but they can deal with it sooner.
Lock all doors (seems a bit obvious but worth the reminder)
Lock all doors and windows, set alarms and use deadbolts. Don't forget the garage.
Leave your curtains open
Leave your curtains open and your blinds up.
Clean out your fridge
Minimise the amount of food you keep in the fridge and freezer while you're on holiday. That way, less will be lost if there's a power cut while you're away.
Turn down the ring tone on your landline
Turn down the ring tone on your phone. Long loud unanswered rings are just another way of shouting out, "No-one's here."
Be careful who you tell
Don't advertise your absence on your phone answering machine, sites like Facebook or anywhere else that isn't secure.
Leave a number
Leave an emergency contact number with friends or neighbours.
Cancel your newspapers
Cancel newspapers and other deliveries, so they don't pile up on your doorstep and advertise that you're away.
Keep the garden tidy
If you are away for an extended period, arrange for someone to come and mow your lawns and tend the garden.
Ask a friend to help
If you're going to be away for an extended period, you may want to ask a friend to pop over once a week or a neighbour to park in your drive occasionally.
Ask your neighbours to help
If you know them well enough, ask them to check on your house for litter, branches that have blown down or pot plants that have fallen over - tell-tale signs you've gone away.
Tell neighbours you're going away
Tell trusted neighbours that you are going away and arrange for them to collect your mail. Nothing says, "No-one's home!" like an overflowing mailbox.
Have a great time away!
In the course of my health and safety work, I’m asked from time to time, “What sort of injury or event should be reported to WorkSafe?”
Meaning - how bad does it need to be, to report?!
To go back a step. Work related injuries or near misses (or health issues) need to be recorded, internally. It’s not just for the purposes of recording (or more paperwork!)
1) It’s to formally analyse what happened and why it happened and perhaps more importantly, “What we plan to do to prevent reoccurrence”.
This sort of investigation should be carried out impartially and without “blame”. In a small firm it would usually be the business owner or manager that carries it out.
2) It’s important to review incident and accident records on a regular basis. Is there a pattern emerging? E.g. Is the same event repeating? If so, it’s important to sort it.
So, at what level do I report it to WorkSafe?
There are some guidelines outlined on the WorkSafe website here. It outlines specific injuries, events, and health concerns.
This helps sum it up (from WorkSafe);
"All injuries or illnesses that require (or would usually require) a person to be admitted to hospital for immediate treatment are notifiable.
Admitted to a hospital means being admitted to hospital as an inpatient for any length of time – it doesn’t include being taken to the hospital for out-patient treatment by a hospital’s Emergency Department, or for corrective surgery at a later time, such as straightening a broken nose."
However, it’s important to read the webpage above (scroll down the page). There are circumstances where a person may not be admitted to hospital, that need to be reported.
Bottom line, if in doubt, report it. You can go online here and answer a few simple questions that will clarify if it needs to be reported, or not.
If you have a minute, go online now, and check it out. You will get a better idea.
The above is provided as a guide only. It’s not designed or intended to be specific advice. Please don’t hesitate to come back to us for specific advice
In the current climate, stress seems to be running high and with covid-related protocols, absences and mandates, some workplaces are running at beyond maximum capacity.
The topic of staff well-being can easily be put on the back burner with more pressing issues needing to be addressed. However, like any good health and safety controls, I’ve found this is a topic that is better addressed as a preventative measure rather than a reaction to an incident. It can save time and money and ultimately result in happier, healthier staff that remain loyal and give their best at work – doesn’t this sound like a dream?!
Check this out….
18 days annual sick leave
Self-rated performance of 3.7 out of 10
49 effective hours worked (full time) per month
2 days annual sick leave
Self-rated performance of 8.5 out of 10
143 effective hours worked (full time) per month
(taken from “A GUIDE TO PROMOTING HEALTH AND WELLNESS IN THE WORKPLACE” by Regional Public Health Wellington)
Did you get that last bit – that’s the difference of 94 effective hours worked in a month, that’s 1,128 a year!
Ok, so I’ve convinced you but now you’re thinking “how do I put this into place in my workplace?”
This quote is taken from the same resource;
“The level of control an employee feels over their work situation, the stress experienced and whether or not the employee feels valued in the workplace can affect work performance, absenteeism, workplace safety and staff turnover” (Department of Sport and Recreation et al., 2007).
Similar to the quote above, Worksafe NZ website breaks it down into three key concepts;
If you would like to look further at developing a plan around workplace well-being, feel free to get in touch or check out these resources below
(The Mentemia app is very good, it’s a free downloadable app to support wellbeing, could be recommended to staff or there is a paid option for businesses).
As a business owner you may need to complete a risk assessment regarding the spread of Covid19 and work completed by vaccinated or non-vaccinated employees.
The government will introduce a new risk assessment process under public health legislation later this year. In the interim, WorkSafe has provided a guideline to follow.
When reading the following, think about the various main tasks that your staff carry out. You may want to identify each main area. For example;
1) Workshop floor.
2) Front of house (serving customers)
3) Delivery or picking up of goods etc.
Of course these areas will be different for each business.
Guidelines from WorkSafe :
· How many people does the employee carrying out that work, come into contact with? (very few = lower risk; many = higher risk)
· How easy will it be to identify the people who the employee comes into contact with? (easy to identify, such as co-workers = lower risk; difficult to identify, such as unknown members of public = higher risk)
· How close is the employee carrying out the tasks in proximity to other people? (2 metres or more in an outdoor space = lower risk; close physical contact in an indoor environment = higher risk)
· How long does the work require the employee to be in that proximity to other people? (brief contact = lower risk; lengthy contact = higher risk)
· Does the work involve regular interaction with people considered at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, such as people with underlying health conditions? (little to none = lower risk; whole time = higher risk)
· What is the risk of COVID-19 infection and transmission in the work environment when compared to the risk outside work? (equal to outside work = lower risk; higher than outside work = higher risk)
· Will the work continue to involve regular interaction with unknown people if the region is at a higher alert level? (no = lower risk; yes = higher risk).
Don't forget to record your results.
This needs to be completed in discussion with your employees and there may be other questions that need to be asked specific to your industry as well.
Some work is required to only be done by a vaccinated employee, more on this here
Further notes from WorkSafe :
· Employers can require work to be done by a vaccinated employee, if a risk assessment identifies this is necessary for work health and safety purposes.
· Your focus in the risk assessment must be on the role – the work being done – rather than the individual performing the role. If you want your employees to be vaccinated for reasons other than work health and safety that is an employment matter.
· Think about what the work tasks look like for a typical day or week. Identify the risk rating indicated alongside each risk factor. Where a situation is not black and white, a judgement call will need to be made. Advice from a health and safety professional may help you do that.
· If your risk ratings tend toward higher risk and you are not able to reduce that risk by implementing more controls, you and your employees should consider whether the work should be performed by a vaccinated employee.
Please read the full article here
If you need assistance in implementing this in your workplace, don't hesitate to contact me today!
You may be asking yourself should I be carrying out a Workplace Risk Assessment, due to Covid 19.
Simply, when any risk presents, an assessment should be carried out, including the possibility of Corona Virus in the workplace. We have a couple of templates that maybe useful to you. Flick me an email and I am more than happy to provide them for you.
Another question you maybe considering : “Should I carry out an assessment when non vaccinated employee’s may be working with vaccinated employees?”
Again we have information that you may find useful, let me know if this is a concern for you.
Finally, are you aware that the Resurgence Scheme is still open?
Extract from IRD website :A business or organisation must have experienced at least a 30% drop in revenue or a 30% decline in capital-raising ability over a 7-day period, due to the increased COVID-19 alert level.
Once activated, any business in New Zealand that has experienced a 30% drop in revenue over a 7 day period at the increased alert levels as a result of the alert level increase may be eligible (subject to all other criteria being met).
Full details here : https://www.ird.govt.nz/covid-19/business-and-organisations/resurgence-support-payment
Warm Regards for a safe month, bob
Risk ID is basic to effective safety in the workplace.
UNSURE ABOUT HOW TO APPROACH RISK ASSESSMENT?
The HAZARD is the threat to safety, Say a rotating gear, roller etc on a piece of equipment
The RISK is likely hood of an injury to a worker, (including the seriousness of the injury) if the worker comes in contact with the gear or roller while its turning
If there are no controls, most likely pretty high risk of serious injury.
The CONTROL is what I do to either eliminate or minimise risk
Risk ID can be carried out asking “What if” questions
What if someone tripped over that or fell off there?
What if that fell or burst or Leaked?
What if the hydraulics failed while someone was walking underneath?
What if a customers child wandered into the work area by themselves?
You can complete the exercise with your workers, as they need to be involved
Now enter your findings into your firm’s risk register (This register documents : hazards, risks controls) Make your findings part of your firms everyday safe operation
When deciding on controls use what’s called the hierarchy of controls
Go here for more information on the hierarchy of controls and how to use :
(This link is in relation to Hazardous Substances, but the same principles are used for any risk in the workplace
The above is general information only. Need help? Get the advice of a Qualified, Experienced Health and Safety Adviser here to edit.
Bob is passionate about good workplace Health and Safety. Hes experienced , qualified, easy to talk to and always available.