Time to thank those who kept you in one piece at work
Thursday 06 January 2005
As you enjoy holidays with family, relax at a campsite or lie on the beach - take a moment to think how lucky you are to have made it safely through another working year - and then consider who you have to thank for that.
Was it your elected health and safety rep, an inspired manager or business owner, the union delegate, an enthusiastic colleague, or someone else who vigilantly monitored potential hazards and made sure everyone was safe at work? Whoever it was, now is the time to show your gratitude and nominate them for an award.
Entries for the inaugural New Zealand Workplace Health & Safety Awards are now open and two categories focus on the commitment of individuals. The 'health and safety practitioner of the year' award is for people with formal responsibility for health and safety within an organisation; while the 'most influential employee' category recognises anyone who has been a champion of health and safety at work and had a positive influence on the culture of an organisation and the safety and wellbeing of workmates.
There are nine award categories in total, including awards focusing on small business, productivity benefits, design initiatives, health and wellness, industry leadership and employee involvement. Judges will select one overall champion from the category winners.
The judging panel includes judges from the Department of Labour, ACC, unions, business and 'Safeguard' magazine, so is representative of key parties involved in workplace health and safety. The Awards will be presented at a gala dinner as part of Worksafe Expo in May.
The Department of Labour awards judge Mike Cosman says he welcomes the opportunity for OSH to be associated with businesses and individuals that have recognised the benefits to be gained from improved health and safety management.
'Taking a proactive approach to health and safety leads to positive results from a happier, healthier and more involved workforce. We are delighted to have entered into this initiative and encourage people to put themselves forward or nominate others for the awards. It doesn't matter how flash or simple the action has been. What counts is that it makes a difference'
Fellow judge, Peter Bateman from 'Safeguard' says he is keen to celebrate the enthusiasm and ingenuity of people around the country who are working to improve health and safety outcomes.
'The Workplace Health and Safety Awards will give national recognition to good ideas, superior systems, great initiatives and hard working people who have made a difference in the workplace. The nationwide awards will reinforce how attention to health and safety can produce positive spin-offs in quality and morale.'
Entries for the awards close on 31 March 2005. A full list of award categories and details of how to enter are available on the web at www.safeguard.co.nz or you can contact Annette Vao - phone 09 360 3712 - to register your interest.
Each year, a significant number of New Zealanders do not make it home from work safely.
- In the year to 30 June 2004, ACC received 35,809 work-related injury
claims (costing $152 million) and managed a further 21,340 ongoing work-related
injury claims (at a cost of $296m.)
Source: ACC Injury Statistics 2004
- In the year to 30 June 2004, the Occupational Safety and Health Service
(OSH) investigated 61 workplace deaths. This includes the deaths of 14 bystanders
or visitors to workplaces. (2001-02: 73 fatalities, 2002-03: 73 fatalities).
Source: OSH Website
However, the number of fatalities investigated by OSH is just the tip of the iceberg:
- In November 2004, The National Occupational Health and Safety Advisory
Committee released its first report, The Burden of Occupational Injury and
Illness in New Zealand.
It states that occupational diseases are killing and harming far more New Zealanders each year than occupational injuries. The NOHSAC report estimated this at 700 to 1,000 deaths each year from occupational disease. The report also stated that there are about 17,000-20,000 new cases of work-related disease and about 200,000 occupational accidents resulting in successful ACC claims. These deaths and injuries cost New Zealand somewhere between $4.3 billion and $8.7 billion each year. Employers bear about 40% of this cost, injured workers bear about 30%, and the community bears about 30%.
Source: NOHSAC Website