Taking a lead in H&S!

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The Government has made a strong statement about the importance of Health and Safety (H&S), and set a bold target of a 25% reduction in injuries by 2020.

With building and construction in the top 5 high risk industries, it’s no wonder that WorkSafe NZ are taking more than just a keen interest in us.

So, what’s the position that the Registered Master Builders Association is taking on all of this? We absolutely support the focus on improved H&S in the workplace and the desired goal of reducing workplace accidents and injuries.

The RMBA is fully committed to taking a lead role in the education and engagement of the industry around the new legislation and achieving a safer workplace, and in working with WorkSafe NZ and other government agencies on their enforcement regime.

As such, we are partnering with BRANZ, MBIE and WorkSafe NZ in the delivery of a nationwide road show to present the upcoming changes to the Building Act and H&S legislation.

I encourage every RMBA member to get along to these presentations so you can understand the changes and, more importantly, the implication on you and your business.

There has been a high degree of discussion recently about the enforcement focus that WorkSafe NZ has had on falls from heights, some of it critical. The bottom line is that falls from height is the largest single cause of serious harm.

Yes, WorkSafe NZ are going to target residential builders. Yes, there will be fines and prosecutions. And, yes, we all need to lift our game in this area with scaffolding, safety nets and harnesses.

So far, since the falls from height programme started, there has been a 25% reduction in serious harm from falls.

If everyone has these minimum safety measures in place then everyone is on a level playing field regarding the associated costs. And aside from the productivity gains associated with having these safety requirements in place, there is also the productivity of having fit and healthy workers on-site.

To be a Registered Master Builder you have to be professional, of good standing, and have the desired level of workmanship. There is now also a requirement to have appropriate H&S policies and practices in place.

All of us must do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure healthy and safe workers. This applies to staff, contractors and subcontractors. We can’t contract out of our responsibilities!

For more information on H&S, check out the new H&S page on the RMBA “Offsite” web page. We will be updating it regularly with new information about changes to the legislation, guidance notes from WorkSafe NZ and a host of other relevant information.

H&S will now form part of the RMBA membership application process. Our RSOs will have discussions about this during their site visits.

I implore you to lift your standards, meet the requirements and encourage others to do the same. Let’s have a really strong H&S culture. Let’s get off the WorkSafe NZ radar as soon as we possibly can.

Let’s provide the best possible opportunity for every single construction worker to get home healthy and safe each and every day.