Health and Safety in New Zealand
As New Zealanders, risks are entrenched in our DNA. When our ancestors arrived in New Zealand it was a matter of survival. Starting from scratch, we did what it took to set up a new country, most of it was risky, and our Health and Safety records are a reflection of this.
With the devastation of Pike River and no one held accountable, and the high number of work related injuries, New Zealand Health and Safety regulations have finally been given a shake-up, and us kiwis, are finally making it priority.
Changing the way we do things
Dougal Holmes, Health and Safety Manager at Maiden Group is responsible for Maiden Construction, Marbern Infrastructure, Base Level Foundations and POLiCON which sit under the Maiden Group umbrella. He has been working hard to create a cultural shift in the workplace, and reduce the number of work related injuries.
“We work in a high-risk industry. It’s all about getting the guys thinking about stuff – from not jumping on top of a three-step ladder, to putting on air muffs, glasses and a dust mask before touching a grinder.”
“My role is to put processes and procedures in place to prevent harm. Our steps include task analysis, breaking down everyday activities into sections, identifying hazards, and working out how are we going to minimise, mitigate and manage risks.”
“From toolbox talks, to staff and site inductions we are really seeing the change in the team – we have reduced our work-related injuries significantly”
Making sure we’re on the right track and keeping our workers safe
Maiden Group has achieved several Health and Safety certifications and awards in the past few years, something Dougal is very proud of.
“For the past two years, we been part of the Work Safety Management Practices (WSMP) programme run by ACC – we completed an audit at secondary level and passed with flying colours. We also scored 100% on our SiteWise assessment, and won Best Health and Safety Residential Contractor for Arrow Southern Response. We’re a member of Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter, and have three Health and Safety Champions on our team”.
“Awards and accreditations are not our priorities, but we’ll do what it takes to make sure we’re following best practices. Making sure our workers are safe is the main priority, but changing the way we do things, is the biggest, most rewarding challenge. There’s still a lot of work to be done in New Zealand. Many residential building companies in Canterbury still need to step up and make Health and Safety a priority”.