Did you know that asbestos-related disease is the leading cause of work-related death in New Zealand? This sobering statistic is being addressed as part of the recent health and safety reform.
On the 4th April 2016 the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 came into effect, with the exception of a handful of regulations covered by transitional provisions. On the 4th of April 2018, the transitional provisions will expire and the remaining regulations will come into force, affecting a significant number of NZ organisations - including many PCBUs that don't work with asbestos as part of their operations, but that do own or lease buildings that may contain products containing asbestos.
It's important to note that PCBUs who own or operate in workplaces that may contain asbestos containing materials (ACM) already have duties under the regulations in Part 2. Additionally, from 4th April 2018, all PCBUs that own, lease, or work on buildings that were constructed before the year 2000, will need to be aware of further duties under regulations 13 and 14.
The rules around managing hazardous substances that affect human health and safety in the workplace are about to change. Legal requirements for the management of hazardous substances are presently set out under the HSNO Act 1996, but from 1st December 2017 this Act will be replaced by the Hazardous Substances Regulations.
What are hazardous substances?
You may think it's obvious, but many businesses aren't even aware that they have hazardous substances in their workplaces, let alone that the company has obligations to manage them. It's important to understand what is classified as hazardous and know if you have any of these products in your workplace.
The judge set the starting point for the fine at $400,000 - $600,000, however the final amount was reduced by mitigating factors and the defendant's inability to pay a fine exceeding $100,000.
It's not often you get something useful for free... but today you do! You can give your employees life-saving information on how to deal with workplace emergency scenarios. Their quick response can mean the difference between life and death.
Alsco has created a set of FREE first aid resources, including useful first aid illustrated guides, posters and signs, to guide you on how to respond quickly and correctly during workplace emergencies.
All the resources are high-resolution, ready for you to print and use - FREE! Browse and download them here.
Businesses must immediately take action to manage their known risks - identifying and listing them is not enough, says WorkSafe New Zealand.
This follows the first sentencing under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 of Budget Plastics Ltd for health and safety breaches after a worker’s hand was dragged into a machine while he was pouring recycled plastic into it on 6 April 2016.
Budget Plastics Ltd appeared in the Palmerston North District Court on 23 May 2017 for sentencing, and in a judgment released yesterday the court fined the company $100,000 and ordered reparation of $37,500.
Employers must actively manage risks to ensure workers go home healthy and safe according to WorkSafe New Zealand.
On successive days in March 2016, two different workers sustained severe injuries to their hands while using a bench saw. Neither injury was notified and WorkSafe only became aware of the injuries when one of the victims complained to WorkSafe nearly two months after the incidents.
Today in the North Shore District Court, Quality Kitchens NZ Ltd and Quality Construction NZ Ltd (which have the same sole director) were fined a total $78,000 for health and safety breaches. Quality Kitchens was ordered to pay reparations of $21,828.89 and Quality Construction was ordered to pay reparations of $30,083.84.
Failure to adequately assess and control the risks of working near live electricity left a trainee worker with serious burns, says WorkSafe.
Wellington Electricity engaged Northpower to carry out maintenance work on roadside transformers in the Wellington region. Two Northpower employees were working in Karori on 27 May 2014 when a bracket fell onto live contacts causing an electrical short, resulting in a flashover. The victim sustained serious burns that required specialist treatment from the burns unit.
Providing the right tools for the job is paramount for workers working at height to avoid life-changing injuries, says WorkSafe New Zealand.
Two workers were doing fire alarm installation work for Ask Metro Fire Ltd when one fell from a ladder and is now a tetraplegic. They were shifting wires previously installed by their company.
In the absence of the right tool for the job, the victim placed a 6-ft ladder on top of a mobile scaffold and in doing so ended up above the limited protection of the basic scaffold guard rail and fell less than three metres to the concrete floor.
Poor risk management, emergency planning, and training for confined spaces work put an electrician’s life in danger and threatened the safety of 14 others who went to his aid in a grain silo incident, says WorkSafe Chief Inspector Keith Stewart.
The electrical company Austin Bros (1980) and the farming partnership Mark and Sonia Dillon appeared in the Gore District Court for sentencing on 14 June 2017 and in a reserved decision, the court has fined the company and the partnership for their roles in the incident.
In March 2016 two electricians were wiring up motors in a newly commissioned grain silo on the Dillon’s property. The electricians were working on top of the grain without harnesses and with no power isolation. A truck arrived to empty the silo and the grain outfeed auger was turned on.
The critical importance of following industry guidelines and adequately assessing hazards and risks in the workplace was highlighted in today’s judgement of a large drainage contractor after an employee was run over by an excavator.
Hydrotech Limited pleaded guilty to one charge under section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act (1992) for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees.
WorkSafe New Zealand’s investigation found that the company failed to carry out an adequate hazard and risk assessment for the task and did not identify appropriate control measures and communication systems, exclusion zones and a spotter
WorkSafe New Zealand says businesses must actively identify and control risks that could kill or maim their workers.
In the Christchurch District Court, Sullivan Packaging Ltd was fined a total of $52,000 and ordered to pay $20,000 reparations after a worker was trapped unconscious in a machine he was carrying out maintenance on after an unlocked metal plate collapsed on him. The company pleaded guilty to two charges under section 6 (failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees while at work) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act (1992).
The worker died the next day after a coronary episode.
Disregard for employee health and safety left a worker a tetraplegic, and resulted in a total of $386,300 in fines and reparation for a horticultural company and its director in the Pukekohe District Court today.
Wai Shing Ltd and its director Franklin Wai Shing were each charged under section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act (1992) for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employee while at work. This followed an incident that left an employee paralysed from the neck down and requiring 24-hour care.
The victim lay undiscovered and unable to move for several hours after he was struck on the back of the neck by part of a harvester - used to collect pumpkin and squash - while he unloaded it from a truck in a remote location.
Sub-optimal demolition work of three residential buildings placed workers and neighbours at significant risk of asbestos exposure and landed the home owner with a large clean-up bill.
The dangers of asbestos have long been recognised which is why the extensive failings of P&M Demolition Specialists Ltd and its sole Director, Jade Ngaha, are so disturbing.
WorkSafe’s investigation found that P&M Demolition Specialists and Mr Ngaha had been told of asbestos containing material on site. Despite this, there was neither a risk assessment nor a comprehensive survey to establish the location, condition and quantity of asbestos containing material. Instead the demolition work proceeded with no safety controls in place, exposing workers and neighbours to asbestos fibres and asbestos containing dust. Asbestos dust was found well beyond the boundary of the worksite.
WorkSafe New Zealand has accepted an enforceable undertaking from the St Kentigern Trust Board following an incident in which two students were injured during an April 2016 school production of Sweeney Todd.
WorkSafe’s investigation found that the Board breached the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) by failing to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of students was not put at risk from work carried out as part of the business or undertaking.
This is the first time WorkSafe has used an enforceable undertaking, a provision under the HSWA, which can be considered as an alternative to prosecution.
The trouble is... it doesn't actually tell me anything. What's happening right now? What real risks could I be exposed to? What controls do I need to know about?
There are several trades around, busy going about their tasks as I walk onto the site. Nobody stops me. Nobody inducts me. So, I report to the site box to sign in and check out the "Site Specific Safety Plan" provided by the principal contractor.
The SSSP is where it really starts to unravel, and here's how...
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