06 June 2017 / 12:02 pm

Rethinking Health and Safety


Our specialist H&S consultant, Carole Peterson has just returned from last week’s Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference titled “Better Conversations”.  She shares a couple of key messages around health and safety and gives an update on the Safety Star Rating system including incentive systems to reduce ACC.


Nicole Rosie, CEO of Worksafe NZ, gave a clear message to employers:  “The heart of health and safety at work is caring about people”.  She challenges employers to focus in two main areas:


  1. Understand your critical risks – focus on the 10 – 30% that could result in death or serious harm then intervene and control these risks. Also look at your own organisation – how do you communicate or discuss these controls within your business?
  2. Engage your staff – employers need to encourage discussion, leaders need to role model safe behaviour, safety conversations need to happen – any way to get your people talking about safety!


The key message from this presentation: If you think keeping your people safe and healthy is all about compliance to the Act, you are missing the point!!!


Dr Todd Conklin was inspirational in challenging us to find out the real cause of accidents by asking better questions.  “Safety is not the absence of accidents, safety is the presence of defences” says Dr Conklin.  He believes that workers are constantly balancing safety with the need for efficiency and are often getting  mixed messages about safety and productivity.  He suggests we need to shift our questioning from “why and accident occurred” to “how it happened” and stop thinking of people as a problem to be fixed.  Think of your people as having the  solutions to be harnessed. Dr Conklin also talks about  moving our thinking from “if this fails” to “when this fails” and put in controls to fail gracefully.  Refer to Dr Todd Conklin’s podcasts and his book “Pre Accident Investigations – An introduction to Organisational Safety” for more information.


Safety Star Rating update

Hon Michael Woodhouse presented an update on the progress of the SSR system, and pilots that have been occurring over the last year or so.  He announced that a decision has been made and a toolkit (it will be branded but not called Safety Star Rating and no rating result given to employers) will be available as follows:


  • Toolkit resources and guidance available on Worksafe website in September 2017
  • Independent onsite assessments by accredited assessors available from September 2017. These assessments will occur at the workplace and cover:
  • Observations of behaviour, attitude, practices and culture
  •  Interviews at all levels
  • Review of systems, practice and perception
  • Tracing 3 key risks (including health risks)
  • Online self assessment will be available around the middle of 2018.


As previously suggested the Minister confirmed that the Workplace Safety Discount (WSD) and the Workplace Safety Management Practice (WSMP) incentive products are no longer available.  There will be no levy discount for participation in the announced  assessments.  This is because ACC are leading the shaping of incentive programmes in New Zealand through their co-design workshops that I have previously encouraged you to participate in.  Click here for more information on how you can have your say on the design of future incentives and discounts.


For more information or a chat about health safety and wellbeing in your business please contact Carole Peterson on 027 600 44 48 or carole.peterson@brannigans.co.nz.