Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Rural contractors need to bone up on employment obligations

Rural contractors need to bone up on employment obligations

Agricultural contractors need to ensure they are on top of their all employment and health and safety obligations, according to Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ)

“Our industry is working hard to encourage and attract good people into the sector,” says RCNZ chief executive Roger Parton. “It is all very well having a top-of-the-line tractor, but it is not much use if there is nobody to drive it!”
He says one way of ensuring that both employers and employees have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and obligations is to have written employment agreements in place.

“It is actually a requirement of employment law to have EAs and these should be signed before any work begins.”

Mr Parton says the last thing the rural contracting sector needs is to have rogue operators treating staff poorly or putting staff at risk through unsafe work practices – earning the entire industry a bad name.

“That’s why RCNZ spends a good deal of its time and resources on ensuring we are involved with and working alongside others to improve and enhance the safety of both our members and their staff,” Mr Parton adds.

“Our organisation’s governing body recently established a health and safety sub-committee, because we recognise the growing focus on health and safety matters and want to ensure rural contractors’ views are included in any new legislation or guidelines.”

He says an example of this is the work RCNZ currently doing – alongside others – with WorkSafe NZ to ensure the opinions of rural contractors are part of any new codes of practice now being developed for the new Health and Safety Reform Bill for work done on and around farms.
“Correct employment procedures and safe workplace practice are an essential part of doing business nowadays. This is as important to the success of rural contracting today – as having the right gear to do the actual work.”
Under the HSE Act, both employers and employees must take all practicable steps to provide and keep a safe work environment.

“One way of ensuring this is to have an operating health and safety plan in place – not sitting on a shelf gathering dust,” Mr Parton explains. “Such a plan doesn’t have to be complex. It just needs to identify existing and potential hazards and put “controls” in place to manage any hazards.”
He adds that employers also need to train and/or supervise employees so they can do their job safely. Employees have a responsibility to keep themselves safe, as well as their fellow workers.

“It is not a bad idea to get an experienced worker to supervise new or untrained employees. Training helps people share knowledge and develop skills. It can also help influence behaviour and improve health and safety.”

The law says employers must also take all practicable steps to make sure employees are safe at work. This extends to providing reasonable working hours and shift patterns to reduce risks of fatigue and decreased mental and physical work tolerance.
“While the rural contracting environment can be challenging – needing long and irregular hours at certain times – employees still have a right to regular breaks and rests,” Mr Parton says. “Well-rested employees, contractors and others help make the work environment safe. It can also help you significantly reduce the personal, social and financial costs of accidents.

He adds that employers must limit workers’ shifts to a safe number of hours, ensure staff are taking regular rest breaks during shifts and, where appropriate, make food and suitable drinks available.

“RCNZ is able to provide support and help to members looking for advice on employment law and/or health and safety matters – much of this information is on our members’ area of the RCNZ website or can be obtained from me,” Roger Parton concludes.

[Ends]

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Strike: Lyttelton Port Workers Vote To Escalate Dispute

Members of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMTU) at Lyttelton Port today voted to escalate their industrial action. Around 200 RMTU members have been operating an overtime ban since 17 December and today they endorsed a series of full withdrawals of labour at the port. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Dollar Falls To 3-Year Low As Investors Favour Greenback

The New Zealand dollar fell to its lowest in more than three years as investors sold euro and bought US dollars, weakening other currencies against the greenback. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: NZ Govt Operating Deficit Smaller Than Expected

The New Zealand’s government’s operating deficit was smaller than expected in the first five months of the financial year as a clampdown on expenditure managed to offset a shortfall in the tax-take from last month’s forecast. More>>

ALSO:

0.8 Percent Annually:
NZ Inflation Falls Below RBNZ's Target

New Zealand's annual pace of inflation slowed to below the Reserve Bank's target band in the final three months of the year, giving governor Graeme Wheeler more room to keep the benchmark interest rate lower for longer.More>>

ALSO:

NASA, NOAA: Find 2014 Warmest Year In Modern Record

Since 1880, Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet’s atmosphere. The majority of that warming has occurred in the past three decades. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: New Zealand’s Reserve Bank Named Central Bank Of The Year

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s efforts to stifle house price inflation by using new policy tools has seen the institution named Central Bank of the year by Central Banking Publications, a publisher specialising in global central banking practice. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news