The ‘Swiss Cheese’ model

In 1990 James Reason introduced the world to the Swiss Cheese model of accident causation.  This now forms the basis of most risk modelling. In Reason’s representative framework each layer of cheese represents a barrier that can prevent an unacceptable event from occurring. Therefore, in theory, lapses and weaknesses in one defense do not allow […]

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Be SunSmart this summer at work

Protect yourself in five ways from Skin Cancer

Employers have a duty of care to protect their workers. With the recent changes to New Zealand’s Health and Safety legislation there is an increasing emphasis on minimising risk in the workplace. There are many ways that UV exposure in the workplace can be minimised. Collaboration between employers and employees is the best way to […]

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Measuring the cost of drug abuse

Close up of young people taking and tasting white pills

In 2016 the Ministry of Health published the first NZ Drug Harm Index. It is an attempt to quantify the damage caused by illicit drugs along three axies: personal harm, community harm and social cost. At first it may seem rather cold to see the findings presented in simple dollar terms. However, if you read […]

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Sleep Day

Sleep Day. Yes, that’s a thing now. “Approximately half of us never, or rarely, wake feeling refreshed in the morning.  We also have difficulty getting back to sleep when we wake in the middle of the night.  A third of us have difficulty falling asleep at night.”  This is according to Dr Karyn O’Keeffe, from […]

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Health and safety representatives

Health and Safety Representative Image

Is there a need for a Health and Safety Representative (HSR) in my company? Under Section 61 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (accessible here) the answer is yes: “A PCBU must have practices that provide reasonable opportunities for workers… to participate effectively in improving work health and safety… on an ongoing basis”.  Having […]

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111 for those with hearing or speech difficulties

Do you have difficulty hearing or talking on the phone? If so, then you are eligible to register for a text message system to connect you directly to emergency services. Hosted by the NZ Police Service, it gives text access to 111 Police, Fire and Ambulance services. Instructions on how to register are set out […]

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What really happened?

What caused the accident? A common problem with accident investigations is that they stop as soon as the immediate cause (eg an unsafe action) is identified. This produces endless calls for improved communication and/or better training. In many cases, we need to dig deeper than this; to identify the root cause. Of course, both factors are crucial if the […]

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Safety data sheets

Workplaces are required to have a safety data sheet (SDS – aka material safety data sheets) on site for each hazardous substance held, where the amount held is above a particular threshold (see Suppliers are legally required to supply SDS documentation and must supply them when requested. You can find out if a substance is […]

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What does wellness look like?

The world’s 3.2 billion workers are increasingly unwell, according to the Global Wellness Institute (more). 76% are “struggling” or “suffering” in terms of physical well-being and 38% say they are under excessive pressure at work. This has a demonstrable effect on business health as well. It is estimated that accidents, occupational diseases and other work-related […]

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