Tagged WorkSafe

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Now operating in Wellington

“EIAG is proud to announce that we have commenced operations in Wellington, New Zealand. The capital and surrounding areas are home to large amounts of historical buildings from a wide range of architectural movements across it’s more than 150 year history.  The iconic buildings within Wellington are predominantly from the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Interwar, Post-war and Modern eras. These styles are what help make Wellington stand out as a unique city. However, during Wellington’s past periods of expansion, asbestos was widely used in many products and applications for fire protection, insulation, and other uses.

As the predominant workplace hazard in Zealand with around 170 people dying to Asbestos exposure per year, the minimisation of preventable asbestos related diseases and death has been at the forefront for Worksafe to address in the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 and the ACOP: MANAGEMENT AND REMOVAL OF ASBESTOS.

Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 state that:
“(1) A PCBU with management or control of a workplace must ensure that—

  1. exposure of a person at the workplace to airborne asbestos is eliminated so far as is reasonably practicable; and
  2. if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate exposure to airborne asbestos, exposure is minimised so far as is reasonably practicable.”

The most important steps in minimising risk of asbestos exposure is locating the area of contamination, identifying positive samples through laboratory analysis and managing through asbestos removal, encapsulation or isolation. This is achieved through an asbestos management survey or asbestos demolition / refurbishment survey.

EIAG and staff have been heavily involved in supporting the Christchurch rebuild since 2013 and have vast knowledge and experience regarding asbestos and other hazardous materials and the steps required to minimise risk of exposure to workers and/or occupants.

If you require any further information, please contact us at EIAG. We look forward to working with you in helping make New Zealand’s homes and work places safe and healthy environments.”

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Worksafe targets poor asbestos record

WorkSafe is aiming to halve the number of deaths from asbestos, which were 146 last year and average 170 annually, within a decade.

But it will be doing it without any extra money for now from the government, in the face of a building boom and with doubts around Customs’ ability to stop asbestos at the border.

WorkSafe chairperson Gregor Coster said the government’s decision to ban products containing asbestos would be crucial to meeting the target in the agency’s new 10-year workplace health plan.

“We’ve been able to get the support of government to ban the importation of asbestos – that’s been a huge step forwards, that’s never been done in New Zealand before,” said Professor Coster.

The ban on any product containing asbestos would kick in from October, 13 years after Australia. In exceptional circumstances here, an importation permit might be issued.

Three years ago the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety said there was “paralysis” and a gaping data hole around how much illness and death was caused on the job.

Cancer expert Sir David Skegg has previously said this country is “unusually slack” about its controls on asbestos, and plenty of scepticism remains among unions who say fly-by-night builders would still put workers clearing out old asbestos at risk.

The data is still lacking and WorkSafe appears quite slow at filling it in.

Also, while asbestos accounted for the largest single chunk of the estimated 600-900 workplace-related deaths a year, vagueness surrounded the other two thirds.

Lawyer Hazel Armstrong, who has worked for the rail workers’ union, said she foresaw ongoing risk from imported asbestos and WorkSafe would be falling short unless the government stepped up.

“They’ve got to have border controls and they’ve got to equip Customs to check the products that are coming into New Zealand – including things like locomotives, but especially building products,” she said.

Research supported the idea it would be a grind – in a recent survey just 7 percent of construction companies, who are entering a sustained boom time, and fewer than a quarter of manufacturers said they had offered employees any health monitoring in the last 12 months.

Read the full article here. www.radionz.co.nz

 

New Health and Safety Association Launched

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.”

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