Health and safety – here's what you need to know

Who would have thought that Health and Safety would suddenly be the latest buzz word at work? It's always been pushed to the back of everybody’s mind hasn't it? However, now it's what everybody is talking about and if they're not, they should be! Our Health and Safety specialist, Monika Wakeman, explains why. 

As you probably know, we've recently had a change in legislation with H&S receiving an upgrade in focus that it so desperately needed. However, in New Zealand, H&S has not been our strong point and the 'she’ll be right' attitude isn’t going to cut it anymore - regardless of how big or small a company is and what it does.

The key point is, that it’s not just for bigger companies to stay on top of H&S - small and medium size companies are subject to the same legislative requirements. All organisations need to think of their key risks so that they can put in place the right measures to deal with these. 

H&S is about providing a safe work environment, so that your workers don’t get hurt, ill or sustain life-threatening injuries. It’s important to realise that every employer has a role to play whether you are an office-bound company, delivering a service, hiring contractors or being hired as a contractor. 

The key point is, that it’s not just for bigger companies to stay on top of H&S - small and medium size companies are subject to the same legislative requirements.

So where do we start?

It’s not as scary as it sounds…it’s actually a simple path that requires a change in the way you look at your business and think about H&S. 

Consider the following

  •  What are the key activities my workforce undertakes? For example: working on a computer, driving, meeting clients, interacting with the public, using chemicals and working in noisy environments.
  •  What are the key H&S risks with these activities?
  •  What controls do we have to manage these?  Have we tested them and do we know if they are effective?
  • How are our people feeling regarding their H&S and are they following appropriate H&S practices? Do we have indicators which provide us with feedback on this?
  • If we hire contractors, do we review their H&S management and practices?
  • If you don’t know where to get this information, the best thing to do is start by asking your workers. Once you start on this path, you will see that H&S management isn’t so scary after all!

    If you'd like to learn more, contact Monika to make make sure your business is up to scratch and your people are protected.

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Monika leads Deloitte’s Health and Safety practice. She has more than 16 years experience in Health and Safety and has worked for various global organisations. Her key areas of expertise are the development and implementation of Health and Safety governance arrangements as well as reporting, strategic planning and management programmes. She also specialises in risk frameworks and control analysis, designing reporting structures, performing system audits and conducting safety analytics.