Recently some of New Zealand’s biggest construction firms have announced their commitment to an agreement standardizing their approach to health and safety onsite.
Construction is one of New Zealand’s biggest industries, but it also has a high worker injury rate and the second highest rate of work site fatalities. The hope is that standardizing health and safety policies will mitigate this.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 sets out the principles, duties and rights in relation to workplace health and safety, but the detail of how businesses manage risks can vary from worksite to worksite. Naylor Love Chief Executive Rick Herd notes that main contractors having their own health and safety processes and policies can lead to confusion and frustration for sub-contractors and workers and is not conducive to a safe worksite.
The construction industry is also growing rapidly and there are many newcomers to the sector. Rick Herd writes that “with the current levels of growth in construction, there are large numbers of new recruits and relatively inexperienced people joining the sector, including immigrants who may introduce culture and language challenges.” Consistency across worksites should help these newcomers to avoid confusion and comply with safety requirements.
The agreement will cover key areas such as standard requirements for safety gear, prequalification, drug testing and high risk activities. The construction firms have also agreed to share health and safety performance information with each other and standardize how this performance is measured.
The agreement will be facilitated by not-for-profit group Site Safe. Visit Site Safe’s website here.