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EPA wins the WriteMark award for Best Plain English Document

EPA wins the WriteMark award for Best Plain English Document

4 December 2013

The Environmental Protection Authority has won the award for Best Plain English Document in the 2013 WriteMark Plain English Awards. These awards are held every year to encourage clear communication and improve government and business documents so that all New Zealanders can understand them. The EPA’s entry was a Hazardous Substances Tool box document titled Your Practical Guide: Working Safely with Hazardous Substances.

The challenge to EPA staff was to bring together a large quantity of highly technical and legal information in a way that is straightforward, clearly structured and easy to read.

The judges for the Best Plain English Document category had this to say about the EPA’s document: “The toolbox was a challenging assignment because there is so much content and all of it is essential. Many guides on technical issues talk past their readers. Your Practical Guide engages them. The language is simple, appropriately informal and direct.”

Our Chief Executive, Rob Forlong, says: “We are delighted to be recognised by the WriteMark Awards. Our entry, the Hazardous Substances Toolbox, is at the heart of the EPA’s efforts to demystify the safe management of hazardous substances.

“At the beginning of the project, EPA staff interviewed a range of small business owners who use hazardous substances in order to fully understand their information needs. Business owners were clear that they wanted a single place to find plain English information about safely managing their hazardous substances.

Your Practical Guide: Working Safely with Hazardous Substances is supplemented by a web site, animated videos, a web based calculator, a workbook, an emergency flipchart and posters giving businesses all the tools they need to safely manage hazardous substances at their workplaces.

“High demand for the toolbox and enthusiastic feedback from our target audience confirms that we achieved what we set out to do. One business owner went so far as to write to our Minister praising the toolbox and saying that his workplace is safer and workers are more informed about the dangers of working with hazardous substances.

“During my career in government, getting fan mail for a government publication is somewhat of a rarity.”

You can read more about the WriteMark New Zealand Plain English Awards here:

2013 WriteMark Plain English Awards


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