kiwiNew online tool highlights health & safety ‘red flags’ for Kiwi engineering firms

An estimated two thirds of New Zealand engineering firms still have no idea how their health and safety system is performing, despite new laws having been introduced more than a year ago.

Nationwide health and safety consultants, Securo, says many engineering businesses remain in the dark about how their contractors, regional branch offices or even their own workplaces rate in terms of the new health and safety requirements.

“We’ve seen a lot of businesses step up their activity since the new Health and Safety Act came into force in April last year which is great. But the majority of businesses need to go much further, otherwise they risk exposing themselves to substantial fines or even imprisonment under the new law,” explains Securo’s senior advisor Frank Taylor.

“If you’re engaging contractors for example, you are liable for their health and safety performance also. Have they got public liability insurance? Is it adequate? Do their workers have the necessary training and qualifications? What’s their health and safety record? If you’re about to embark on a contract with someone, you need to know these things and too many New Zealand engineering firms don’t have a system in place to assess that properly.”

To address the problem, Securo, in association with Omni Risk, has now launched a new online safety audit which helps companies to identify their strengths and weaknesses in this area.

By inputting information such as hazard registers, training records, certifications, licences, and permits to work, an independent health and safety expert can then assess how robust a business’ health and safety system is and issue a risk rating across different key areas.

“This online system produces a high-quality report which tells you what you’re doing well and where there’s room for improvement. It will throw up ‘red flags’ to help you prioritise health and safety areas that need further work.”

Mr Taylor says the new online tool is ideal for senior managers who need to present a health and safety report to their board, or for engineering firms who need to pre-qualify contractors before they hire them.

“At the end of the day it’s about ensuring people come home safely from work. New Zealand companies should be doing their utmost to protect their staff.”

The new online audit has taken 18 months to put together to ensure it’s as robust as possible. In addition to being independently verified, a Securo consultant will also visit engineering businesses on site for two hours to help input the relevant information and offer any necessary advice.

“A big part of the new Health and Safety Act is that senior management and owners are now responsible for health and safety in their own companies as well as companies they contract with,” Mr Taylor explains.

“This new online system will provide a very good understanding of where either they, or the companies they contract to, stand in terms of health and safety.”