NZ Health and Safety Newsletter No 4

Working in a Bubble

This month’s article is not about actually working inside a bubble but taking the rules, procedures and processes’ that you would normally work under in the branch/workshop or office with you, regardless of where you are working.

It is very easy to forget to take tools and equipment with you when you are off site. It probably happens to all of us at some stage but the reality is that when people do this, they will often take shortcuts to compensate and this is where accidents occur. Or the people whose site you are working at do not worry about health and safety to the same level as you

The message is very simple. The rules that apply when you are working off site are exactly the same no matter where you are.

In the last couple of weeks we have had Worksafe report on an accident in Christchurch where a worker was run into by a forklift at a new location the company was working from, and suffered horrendous injuries.

The following is an extract from Worksafes’ notifications:

WorkSafe’s Deputy General Manager, Investigations and Specialist Services Simon Humphries said, “When you're moving sites, or expanding into additional premises, one of the first things to take with you should be the elements that care for the safety of your workers.”

Cardinal knew the critical risk that forklifts posed to pedestrians and should have implemented a safe system of work before establishing operations at their new site. If they could do it at one site, they could do it at another. It should have been a priority – not a matter for once they were settled in.”

Cardinal Logistics has since implemented a practicable system of effective traffic management and the appropriate controls for the separation of pedestrians and forklifts.


  • A fine of $354,375 was imposed.
  • Reparations of $29,967.78 were ordered, in addition to a voluntary payment of $56,000 prior to sentencing.
  • Cardinal Logistics Limited was charged under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

The implications to a business of this type of accident can be devastating as well as the impact on the victim of the accident whose injuries and ongoing consequences are major.

It is a bit of a cliché but in this instance if it had been “safety first” the victim would still have his leg and the company would have $440,000 in the bank.

When you are having your toolbox meetings or discussing health and safety with staff, ensure to reinforce the point about “working in a bubble”. Different place - same rules. Treat every workplace as if it was your own because it is.

NZ Health and Safety Newsletter No 3

Hazardous Substances

The amendment to Health and Safety at Work act 2015 that was introduced last December flew under the radar for most people. In a nutshell what changed was the section of the Hazardous Substances and New Organism act (HSNO) regulations that was relevant to the workplace has been introduced to the HSWA as a whole new section. Further amendments are to be introduced in 2019 but as from December last year there has been a requirement for a PCBU to treat hazardous substances in the following manner.

You must:

  1. Have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for every one of the substances you hold.
  2. Have an inventory of the maximum amount of the substances you hold.
  3. Have a training register indicating everyone who uses the substances knows how to use them safely.
  4. Ensure that if the product is decanted into another container, that container is correctly labelled.

For most the number of items that will be in your list will be small but you need to think about what you may use including things like spray cans, glues, Petrol and diesel etc

Training and Instruction

Before your workers do or supervise any work involving hazardous substances or work around hazardous substances, make sure they receive training and instruction on: 

  1. the physico-chemical and health hazards of the substances they will handle (in other words, whether the substances are explosive, flammable, oxidising, toxic or corrosive, and what this means for the workers who handle them)
  2. any procedures for safely using, handling, manufacturing, storing and disposing of the hazardous substances
  3. how to safely use the plant (e.g. machinery, tools and equipment, including PPE needed to manage the hazardous substances)
  4. any other duties or obligations that they may have because of the substances they work with
  5. what to do in an emergency involving the hazardous substances or that could affect the hazardous substances.

You must also make sure workers complete a suitable period of practical experience in your workplace under direct supervision in the above matters.

Training needs to reflect:

  • the work that your worker will carry out.

Think about:

  • each task involved.
  • where and how your worker will do the work.
  • what you know about the risks involved with the work.
  • what risks do you know your worker is going to face?
  • how do you manage those risks?

From 1 June 2018, you must be keeping a record of training and instruction for each worker.

Do not leave things to chance on this matter. There is a process where an inspector can issue instant fines for breaches of this part of the legislation. If you are not sure where to start then give us a call.

Further information can also be found on Worksafe,s web site:


NZ Health and Safety Newsletter No 2 July 18


This month we wish to focus on fatigue. Many people that work long hours in their businesses sometimes forget that they have a responsibility to themselves as well as their workers not to work excessive hours on an ongoing basis. That does not mean that if there is a push to complete a task people cannot be asked to work extra hours WITHIN REASON. There still needs to be consideration of people’s welfare when they are asked to work additional hours as a recent case in point where a worker died after working extremely long hours. The following is the extract from the Worksafe web site. It encapsulates everything that can go wrong, and did.

Tractor driver had worked almost 200 hours in the fortnight leading up to his death.

Fatigue from long hours of work must not compromise worker safety.

In October 2016, a worker for the company had been assisting with harvesting operations on a farm in Pukekawa. He logged a 16.75 hour day before departing the farm, taking a tractor home in preparation for the next day’s work. Our investigation found that the worker had worked 197.25 hours in the two weeks leading up to the incident. Fatigue was identified as the most likely cause of the accident. The worker was also not wearing a seatbelt.

The company had a health and safety document prepared for them in January 2016. It identified fatigue as a high rating hazard and outlined management steps including the monitoring of work hours and break times.

“This document had not been reviewed or implemented,” Mr Humphries says. “The warning was there and the company did nothing about it.”


  • The court indicated that a fine of $325,000 could have been appropriate. The court suppressed the reasons why a final fine of $10,000 was imposed.
  • Reparation of $80,000 was ordered. 
  • Costs of $2656.50 were ordered.
  • Micheal Vining Contracting Limited was charged under sections 36(1)(a), 48(1) and (2)(c) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
  • Being a PCBU, failed to ensure so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who worked for the PCBU, while the workers were at work in the business or undertaking and that failure exposed the workers to a risk of serious injury or death, arising from fatigue.
  • The maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $1.5 million.
  • This is the first sentencing for fatigue-related failings since the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

It does not need to be a manual job where these hours can be worked. Completing tenders, accounts, all types of other tasks can sometimes require lots of additional hours to be worked. If you have ongoing instances of yourself or your staff working long hours, take the time to review what you are doing or give us a call to discuss the issue.

NZ Health and Safety Newsletter No 1 June 18

Bullying and harassment

Welcome to our first monthly newsletter.

We want to keep these brief and to the point. Feel free to contact us should you want clarification on any matter.

We will also be keeping you informed of legislative interpretations and information from Worksafe that may be of interest.

Bullying and harassment is the hot topic at the moment. While it is an area that can be tricky to deal with it is often the most stressful matter that will arise in the workplace for not only the victim but also management who have to deal with it.

There is a difference in managers/supervisors bringing up poor performance or attendance, incompetent managers dealing with issues inappropriately, and genuine bullying or harassment. To the recipient though, the first time it happens it is real and intimidating. When this type of behaviour occurs it is often the culture within the organisation that is the cause rather an interpersonal issue.

There should always be a focus within a business of not letting issues of this nature happen in the first place. In your documentation there is a specific section in your policies that outline what your position is and should be and I would urge you all to read this and discuss it with your staff at your next meeting. Having an environment that does not threaten people who come forward with an issue will lead to a workplace that is seen to care about what happens to its employees and the resultant productivity increases will benefit all parties.

The Health and Safety at Work Act is about health as well as safety. Just because you cannot see a mental or emotional issue does not make it any less relevant than someone with a severe cut or a broken bone. As a responsible employer you need to be aware that if you do not deal with this type of issue promptly it could escalate to a point where people leave and/or take action thorough the employment court or lodge a complaint with Worksafe. Either way this will lead to stress on management and maybe significant cost to the business. Regardless of what may happen it is important that issues of this nature are dealt with appropriately and in a timely manner.

The last thing management needs is more stress so if you are concerned about a matter in this area, give us a call.

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