A new umbrella association for workplace health and safety professions in New Zealand has been established. The Health and Safety Association of New Zealand (HASANZ) was launched on 10 September 2014 in Auckland by George Adams, Chair of the Independent Forestry Safety Review and of the Occupational Health Advisory Group set up by WorkSafe NZ.
HASANZ aims to raise professional standards across the occupational health and safety sector to provide healthier and safer workplaces for New Zealanders.
It has been created in response to the findings of the Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety following the Pike River mining disaster. The Government’s resulting Working Safer package of reforms (2013) included a commitment to set up a representative body for health and safety professionals to help prevent serious harm and fatalities at work.
“Business wants clarity on how to deliver against the new accountabilities for workplace health and safety and on occasions where they need external advice, that will entail the ability to identify, select and to trust a professional or a professional organisation,” said George Adams. “Having a well placed and well known and effective body such as HASANZ, which is set up to do just that, will be vital going forward.”
“As an association of associations, HASANZ is a first point of contact for government on workplace health and safety matters and the “go to place” for businesses seeking support and advice,” said HASANZ and NZ Occupational Hygiene Society representative Suzanne Broadbent at the launch.
Founding member organisations include: the Australian/New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of New Zealand, Maintenance Engineers Society of New Zealand, NZ Institute of Hazardous Substances Management, New Zealand Institute of Safety Management, NZ Occupational Health Nurses Association, NZ Occupational Hygiene Society, New Zealand Safety Council, New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists (Occupational Group) and Occupational Therapy New Zealand.
“A step change in workplace health and safety in New Zealand requires us to work more collaboratively and to give as much emphasis to health as to safety,” said HASANZ representative and New Zealand Institute of Safety Management National Manager Tony Rigg. “HASANZ is committed to promoting excellence in workplace health and safety practice.”
A priority is improving access to quality advice for businesses by creating an online register of competent health and safety professionals.
“It’s important that people have confidence in the health and safety advice they receive,” said Tony Rigg. “It’s also important they know where to go for reliable information. Working together with industry and government, HASANZ will enable workplace health and safety professions to provide better guidance and support to employers and workers for the benefit of all New Zealanders.”