Canterbury business, Rangiora Carpets Limited has been sentenced to pay a total of $178,228 following an incident on 2nd June 2016.
An employee was pushing a box of files atop a mezzanine floor that was not consented, nor compliant with the building code. The worker lost her balance, and since no balustrade was in place, there was nothing to stop her going over the edge. She fell through a suspended false ceiling and landed on the floor, 2.5m below.
The victim suffered serious injuries, including a broken right arm, collarbone, and shoulder, a fractured pelvis and a laceration to the head. Fifteen months on, she has largely recovered from her injuries, though still suffers from some residual symptoms.
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.
Are you overlooking hazards in your workplace?
The very first step to effectively managing risks in your business is to identify your hazards. Unfortunately, over the years I've seen a LOT of hazards overlooked. That's because without a systematic approach, it can be really easy to miss them!
So here is an easy system you can use to robustly identify hazards in your workplace. It's as simple as choosing a context and asking your workers eleven easy questions.
See below for a printable version of the questions!
The safety culture of your business will directly impact on safety performance.
If you want to protect your business from the many perils of poor safety performance, such as lost productivity, accidents and injuries, prosecution and fines, reputation damage, high staff turn-over, and poor team morale, then working on your safety culture is key...
What is a Safety Culture?
Safety Culture is the way safety is perceived, valued and prioritised in your organisation. It reflects the real commitment to safety at all levels of the business. At the core of a safety culture is what people believe about the importance of safety, including what they think their colleagues, managers and leaders really believe about safety’s priority.
Note that your company's safety culture is not the safety management systems, policies or procedures you have; it goes much deeper than that. Without a positive safety culture, these things become dust-gathering paperwork.
Why is it Important to You?
In short, the safety culture of your business will directly impact on safety performance. A negative (immature) culture is likely to yield poor safety performance, whereas a positive (mature) culture will result in high performance.
What is Safety Culture Maturity?
The safety culture of a company is not static; it changes and evolves. Ideally this change is positive and the culture develops to achieve maturity. Safety professionals around the world have developed various models, matrixes and indexes to illustrate just this.
Maturity is a term commonly used to describe the progressive nature of safety culture. Here is my take on it:
How can I motivate staff to improve their performance?
Research indicates that positive reinforcement is critical to successfully improving safety performance.
Health and Safety policies are commonly built around rules, regulations, and legislation. Consequently, process often focus on enforcement. Although compliance systems have their place in safety procedures, positive reinforcement is a far more effective tool when it comes to motivating people.
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