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Winners in workplace health & safety awards

Winners announced at first ever national workplace health & safety awards

Auckland-based on-hire labour company Coverstaff was the big winner at the inaugural New Zealand Workplace Health & Safety Awards, announced tonight at a presentation dinner in Auckland before a packed audience of 350 at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre in Manukau.

Organised by Safeguard magazine with the support of the Department of Labour, the awards attracted more than 160 entries from around the country, competing in nine categories. The overall winner was chosen from the category winners.

Coverstaff won the award for best overall contribution to improving workplace health and safety in New Zealand, for its CoverSafe initiative. The prize is a five-day holiday for two in Brisbane, including air fares and accommodation, courtesy Air New Zealand.

The company also took out the category for best industry leadership, and its CoverSafe champion Roana Carran won the health and safety practitioner of the year category.

Coverstaff has launched formal health and safety training for its on-hire employees under the brand CoverSafe, encouraging them to work towards qualifications which, for many, are the first formal qualifications of any kind they have attained. It has also involved its client companies in its health and safety management system to ensure that working conditions for its staff are as safe and healthy as possible.

Peter Bateman, editor of Safeguard and a member of the judging panel, said that Coverstaff was chosen as overall winner for a number of reasons which, taken together, made for a compelling case.

"Coverstaff operates in a high-risk industry where staff go out to work in all kinds of workplaces and work conditions. Its development of CoverSafe as a more or less independent training body within the company, with the aim of not only protecting its staff but enlarging their career and life potential, is a bold and inspiring initiative."

Coverstaff has recognised, he said, that investing in health and safety offers broad business advantages and, in this case, an opportunity to show leadership in its industry sector.

The awards, said Bateman, are a chance for people to remind themselves that workplace health and safety is a good news story for everyone.

"Health and safety usually only surfaces in the media following a death or injury at work. But behind the scenes there are thousands of dedicated people working to prevent injuries and illness."

"They work for organisations which recognise that successfully managing health and safety boosts productivity, enhances product quality, and lifts morale."

"Despite the occasional headlines, we shouldn't forget that workplace health and safety is actually a good news story."

The nine categories, and the winners of each, are:

Department of Labour best productivity gain from a health and safety initiative

Carter Holt Harvey Penrose Mill (Auckland)

Employment Today best initiative to improve employee health and wellness

Switzer Residential Care (Kaitaia)

Air New Zealand best system to encourage employee participation in health and safety

Norske Skog Tasman Paper (Kawerau)

Air New Zealand best health & safety management system implementation

Vector (Auckland)

SICK best design or technology initiative

Transfield Services NZ (Auckland)

Boise best health and safety initiative by a small business

Training & Quality Services (Napier)

Prize: a Dawell Delta Capri Ergo 2300 office chair, a Microsoft wireless optical desktop keyboard and mouse, and a Uniden DSS 2465 digital cordless phone and extra hand set, courtesy of Boise Office Solutions.

ACC best leadership by an industry or industry body

Coverstaff (Auckland)

Safeguard health and safety practitioner of the year

Roana Carran of Coverstaff (Auckland)

Prize: a Mystery Weekend for two, courtesy Air New Zealand

NZ Council of Trade Unions most influential employee

Anesrita Narendra of Vincentian Home and Hospital (Wellington)

Prize: a Mystery Weekend for two, courtesy Air New Zealand

The five members of the judging panel were: Mike Cosman from the Department of Labour's Workplace Health & Safety group; Karen Fletcher from the NZ Council of Trade Unions; Phillip McIntosh from ACC; Fran O'Keefe from ACI Glass Packaging; Peter Bateman from Safeguard.

© Scoop Media

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