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


Don’t Be Scared Of WorkSafe

The latest PR exercise from WorkSafe NZ encourages businesses not to be scared of WorkSafe and to fully engage with assistance offered from them.

They cite an example from a Masterton based printing firm where an experienced staff member cut their finger when clearing out a machine waste gate during a busy shift. The employer found out the next day that the hospital had to amputate the end of the employee's finger and as such immediately reported it to WorkSafe.

WorkSafe consequently investigated this and decided that a Duty Holder Review (DHR) was to be undertaken.

A DHR is where WorkSafe will ask a business to do a self review of policy & procedures after an incident has occured. It is usually after a serious harm incident but falls short of the prosecution threshold. The aim of course is to stop an incident of a similar nature from happening again. The intention is not as a punitive measure but preventative for the future. A Duty Holder Review Officer (DHRO) from WorkSafe may work with the business to assist in the process but at a minimum will certainly review and oversee the DHR. They do of course have the enforcement authority. Not engaging with a directive like this from WorkSafe is not wise and from their website: "non-involvement will be noted on your file and it will be taken into account when making decisions regarding future workplace assessment visits."

A workplace incident resulting in harm to a worker should be investigated internally in all instances anyway. A DHR is simply WorkSafe asking the business to do so in an official way.

We agree, you shouldn't be scared of WorkSafe, they provide a lot of resources and support for industry with the intention of keeping our people safe in all respects. We need to do this. They are also however, the police, when it comes to workplace accidents and enforcement is their mandate, and although a Crown entity they do need funding.

In the last three years alone enforcement actions (non prosecutions) have quadrupled. In August 2019 WorkSafe's statistics show 1264 actions for the month, compared with 336 for the same period in 2016.

Severity of prosecutions have of course also increased.

  • Hellars meat manufacturer in Christchurch recently prosecuted for a worker losing 4 fingers in a processing machine - more than $250,000.
  • Otago Polytechnic agreed to an enforceable undertaking with a minimum spend of $275,000 on health and safety measures and initiatives after a student partially amputated a finger on a saw.
  • Canterbury Concrete Cutting NZ Limited was also fined over $250,000 when a worker lost 3 fingers at work in Christchurch
  • Alliance Group was sentenced at Invercargill District Court on Thursday and fined $331,875 for a worker who lost the tips of their fingers.
  • Oriental Cuisine Limited in Wellington - $260,000 for serious hand injuries from a pastry rolling machine.

It's not necessarily that the South Island is over represented in these statistics, but the common theme is machine guarding seemingly the major cause of serious workplace injuries and the Courts taking a very dim view on such incidents.

But in terms of a DHR, if you receive such a request letter from WorkSafe, don't be scared, you are probably already past the risk of major prosecution enforcement, of which the penalties can be severe.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


RNZ: Porirua Most Expensive Region To Rent, According To Trade Me

A rental website shows this town is now New Zealand's most expensive region to rent a house, ahead of Wellington and Auckland cities. More>>


Stats NZ: Nearly 1,000 More Big Businesses Now Than Two Decades Ago – Media Release

There are now 2,690 big businesses in New Zealand employing more than 100 staff – nearly 1,000 or 58 percent more than 20 years ago, Stats NZ said today. Over the 20 years to February 2020, the total number of enterprises in New Zealand increased ... More>>


RNZ: Housing Boom Could Get Worse, Economist Warns

Economists are calling on the Reserve Bank to reinstate lending restrictions, warning the housing market is spiralling out of control. More>>


Westpac: Sets Out Plan To Go Cheque-Free

Westpac NZ has announced details of its plan to phase out cheques, after signalling in May that it would be supporting a move to other forms of payment. Cheques will cease to be available as a means of payment after 25 June 2021. Westpac NZ General ... More>>


NZTA: Major New Zealand Upgrade Programme Projects Go To Tender

Two major New Zealand Upgrade Programme projects are beginning tenders for construction. The New Zealand Upgrade Programme is a $6.8 billion investment to get our cities moving, to save lives and boost productivity in growth areas. The first Auckland ... More>>

Reserve Bank: RBNZ Seeks To Preserve Benefits Of Cash

The Reserve Bank – Te Pūtea Matua is taking on a new role of steward of the cash system “to preserve the benefits of cash for all who need them”, Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby told the Royal Numismatics Society of New Zealand annual conference ... More>>


CERT NZ: Malicious Computer Virus Targeting New Zealanders

CERT NZ, the government agency which supports organisations and individuals affected by cyber security incidents, says a recent surge of increasingly sophisticated malware attacks is affecting everyday New Zealanders as well as large organisations. The ... More>>


Economy: NZ Small Business Recovery Continues In September

Xero, the global small business platform, today released its Small Business Insights (XSBI) for September revealing an uptick in small business jobs and year-on-year revenue growth in New Zealand. Nationwide, the average number of jobs in the small ... More>>


Courts: Businessman Eric Watson Sentenced To A Four-Month Jail Term

New Zealand businessman Eric Watson has been sentenced to a four-month jail term in the UK for contempt of court, TVNZ reports. More>>

OECD: Area Employment Rate Falls By 4.0 Percentage Points, To 64.6% In Second Quarter Of 2020

The OECD area employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – fell by 4.0 percentage points, to 64.6%, in the second quarter of 2020, its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2010. Across the OECD area, 560 million persons ... More>>

Spark: Turns On 5G In Auckland And Offers A Glimpse Into The Future Of Smart Cities

Spark turned on 5G in downtown Auckland today and has partnered with Auckland Transport (AT) to showcase some of the latest in IoT (Internet of Things) technology and demonstrate what the future could look like for Auckland’s CBD with the power of 5G. 5G is ... More>>

Stats NZ: Monthly Migration Remains Low

Since the border closed in late-March 2020, net migration has averaged about 300 a month, Stats NZ said today. In the five months from April to August 2020, overall net migration was provisionally estimated at 1,700. This was made up of a net gain ... More>>