It’s almost been one year since the new Health and Safety Act changes came into force on April 4, 2016 and, predictably, in that time the number of fines have gone up for businesses. In fact the number has almost doubled from the same period a year earlier (April 2015 to 2016).
While this is exactly what happened in Australia when it introduced similar laws, to date in New Zealand these legislative changes have not had a direct impact on the number of workplace deaths – the exact reason why the changes were introduced.
Health and Safety expert, Sean McBride, has been consulting on the topic to businesses for several years and says there are a number of reasons why the Health and Safety Act changes are not having a downward effect on workplace deaths and injuries yet.
“Firstly, making these types of changes to the law does take time for businesses to understand them and the implications for their individual operations, but also to introduce the appropriate health and safety practices across their business(es) and encourage workers to follow the practices,” says McBride.
“Businesses can put all the right checks and safety processes in place, but encouraging their workers to abide by them is very difficult, you are effectively trying to change the safety culture among staff – which is no easy feat,” he says.
Making it as easy as possible for employees, contractors and individuals on site to follow new health and safety processes is key to achieving health and safety success.
Using simplified, easy-to-use and implement health and safety systems and tools is essential.
Forsite is exactly that says Forsite CEO, Simon Yock. “Our aim is to bring every employee, contractor and individual working in or on a Forsite monitored location home safely every single day,” says Yock.
“Because when it comes to safety, hindsight is always too late,” he says.