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NZISM Welcomes Acceptance of the Taskforce Recommendations

Media release

The NZISM Welcomes the Governments Broad Acceptance of the Taskforce Recommendations.

GETTING GOOD ADVICE IS PART OF THE PERFORMANCE PUZZLE

The Government intent to establish a health and safety professional’s alliance (HaSPA) to improve the capability of health and safety professionals has been warmly embraced by the NZISM.

But, says Rigg, all those proffering health and safety advice must be made equally accountable for demonstrating competence – whether they are consultants, advisors, managers, auditors or inspectors. Advice is advice.

Rigg cautions against focusing only on “dodgy consultants” saying “this is about ensuring good quality advice is provided by all practitioners – whatever their role. As we have seen, low capability within the inspectorate can be just as detrimental to performance.” Rigg says the NZISM is looking forward to working with MBIE and subsequently Worksafe NZ, alongside professional colleagues in related disciplines as part of a peak body to drive the development of a HaSPA.

BUSINESS MUST DEMAND COMPETENT HEALTH AND SAFETY ADVICE

The NZISM have long advocated the need for competent and capable health and safety practitioners – but industry and Government have to want this too.

“Our members put themselves through accreditation voluntarily – they take pride in their profession, care about the people in New Zealand workplaces, and realise that maintaining their knowledge and skill is critical to their effectiveness. There are some practitioners out there providing health and safety advice who do not share these values, and for those people the message needs to be clear – working in health and safety is not an option for you” says Rigg.

The reforms are a clear signal from Government that practitioners have a key role, and the NZISM anticipates an increasing business demand for health and safety practitioners to be affiliated with the NZISM. The provision of competent health and safety advice, while not a panacea for all health and safety woes, is a key part of the performance puzzle.

NZISM members are already one step ahead of the changes. The announcement is a welcome signal that they are leading the profession.

NZISM MEMBERS LEAD THE WAY FOR BUSINESS

The olden days of unqualified, unregistered people providing health and safety advice is over. Says Tony Rigg, National Manager of the New Zealand Institute of Safety Management. Workers and workplaces deserve better from the health and safety profession.

NZISM members are already leading the way to a brighter, safer, healthier future. Businesses wanting competent health and safety advice can find accredited health and safety professionals through the NZISM website.

NZISM WILL BE RIGHT THERE IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALL

The NZISM are going to be right there in the middle of the change programme says Rigg.

Our members have already made more than a step change towards progress. They have taken a huge leap of faith that Government would “come good” and realise what practitioners have known for a long time – that our current system isn’t working.

Our members provide health and safety advice to workplaces. They are instrumental in effecting longterm sustainable change. We will make sure their voice is heard loud and clear throughout the planning and implementation of the changes.

WORKING SAFER – WORKING HEALTHIER: A FOCUS ON OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH

The NZISM are cautiously optimistic that the Government are paying more than lip service to occupational health. The insidious nature of occupational health makes it an area ripe for resource erosion if the Government commitment to improvement is not long term.

“Without the occupational health unit recommended by the Taskforce, there is the potential that occupational health could remain fragmented, undercooked and ripe for resource erosion and reallocation in the future – when the Government or Worksafe NZ thinks no one is looking” states Rigg.

“This is exactly what has happened in the past, and we may well be having the same conversation in the next 30 years that we have been having for the past 30 years – I am hopeful that Government actually understand that this is an issue that must be addressed and cannot be sidelined yet again – as demonstrated by the appointment of a person with occupational health expertise to the establishment board – but time will tell”.

Occupational disease kills more people than acute injury – but aside from the recent asbestos cases in Canterbury, the deaths of 600-900 people per year in our communities from occupational disease rarely make it into the media. Occupational health is the “poor cousin” of occupational safety. Acute injuries are a greater political priority because they are more visible, easier to identify and the public is more aware of them than the many more deaths from occupational disease - which go quietly under the radar.

WE ALL NEED TO BE PART OF THE CHANGE AGENDA

A more comprehensive legal framework, coupled with a stronger and more capable regulator, backed by a comprehensive data and research programme and competent capable practitioners will substantially strengthen and improve health and safety performance in NZ.

The NZISM believes one of the key challenges that will be faced is the requirement for closer more collaborative working at a Government, industry and professional body level. There are certainly challenging times ahead – but we are all working towards a common goal – a reduction in the number of people harmed at work, says Rigg – and the NZISM members are here to help. Our members are willing to do whatever it takes to make New Zealand workplaces safer – and healthier.

Notes The NZISM is the leading professional body for health and safety practitioners in New Zealand - with over 800 members nationally. The NZISM provide support to health and safety practitioners, and assurance to industry of practitioner competence.

The NZISM operate a professional membership pathway in New Zealand in conjunction with IOSH, the world’s largest professional body for health and safety professionals.

NZISM is a voluntary not for profit incorporated society which was founded in 1972. It is the only credible professional body for health and safety practitioners in New Zealand, with National coverage through an extensive and growing branch network.

ENDS

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