The health and safety reform bill has been passed by parliament and will come into effect on April 4th 2015. This act and associated regulations will mean a change in obligations to business owners in New Zealand.
Broadly speaking, under previous legislation if the director of a company in New Zealand was not aware of a risk of injury or death to one of their workers then they were unlikely to be held liable in the event that an incident occurred. The implication of this legislation was directors may have been better off to actively avoid knowing about possible issues. This legislative framework obviously does not lead itself to creating safe working environments for our workers.
Under the new legislation, business owners have a duty of care to ensure as far as reasonably practicable the health and safety of their workers. It is no longer good enough for a business owner to say that they weren’t aware of a potential issue. This can only be a good thing, whilst there is more work involved for business owners setting up these systems, no business owner wants to see an injury or death to one of their employees.
One of the challenges for organisations who have potentially dangerous equipment or are lifting heavy equipment (which itself can be an inherently dangerous process) is how to manage the thousands or hundreds of thousands of items you may have across your organisation.
A tagging system is the primary defense to this, workers should know that they should only use equipment tagged with a certain color.
Also critically important is an equipment register such as Core Inspection. This equipment register should let you know what equipment is at any site at any given time and should also notify you when equipment is out of test and needs to be inspected again.
Many companies will outsource the inspection of their equipment to specialised testers. If your organisation does this then you should ensure that they provide you with online equipment register sofware that you can easily access that also notifies you when equipment is coming due for inspection.
The new health and safety regulation can only be a good thing for New Zealand and help prevent the high level of work place accidents we have every year.
Core Inspection is used by some of the largest companies in the world for maintaining information on equipment in the Oil, Mining, Marine, Construction Industries and more.