Everbody's talking about it

Everyone's talking about health and safety. It's a good conversation to have because, with the advent of the Health and Safety at Work Act, it's imperative that everyone is ready for the new regime.

One of the biggest benefits of the new legislation is that is has raised awareness of the need to change New Zealanders' thinking about how to make work safe and healthy. The key message is that everyone has a part to play. That applies at every level in a business – from the Board to the boss to the workers at the rock face.

Something that concerns HASANZ is the scaremongering that can accompany a major change such as this. Small businesses might feel especially anxious about what they need to do to meet their new obligations. The good news is that it can be relatively simple. Sit down with your staff and identify the critical health and safety risks in your business and how you can manage them.

In some cases, you will need to bring in an expert. HASANZ member associations can point you to specialist advice in their area of expertise. Obviously, every business is different and the approach to health and safety needs to be fit for purpose; a large organisation in a high risk industry will require a more detailed plan for an effective health and safety management system than a small enterprise in a low risk sector. It's important to gear your system at the right level – not too much or too little.

Craig Smith