Plea for you to make sure you reach Christmas safely

New Zealand’s largest Health and Safety professional organisation is asking Kiwis to keep an eye on safety at work in the rush up to the Christmas and New Year holiday to avoid injury that ruins their time off.

The advice comes as the country gears up for the last five weeks of finishing projects and getting prepared for the festive season and then heading off for a well-earned rest.

However, statistics show it’s not uncommon for more accidents to occur at this time as people become tired and lose focus – accidents are 30 per cent more likely because of fatigue, a known work related health risk.

Greg Dearsly, President of NZISM, cautions it’s easy for people to have so much on their mind they lose concentration and that can result in an incident:

“Our aim is to grow awareness of the heightened risk so everyone gets to the holidays safe and sound – injuries ruin holidays, and it’s no fun for you, your family or friends, or they can be longer term and have more serious impact,” he says.

The warning comes almost a year after four people died in workplace accidents across the country in just three days in December 2017.

At that time Hon. Iain Lees Galloway, Minister for Workplace Relations, commented on the “especially risky time of year.   It’s the end of a long year, there’s fatigue combined with pressure to finish jobs before the holiday break, and there are a lot of distractions on the minds of many workers”.

Greg Dearsly continues:

“The best approach to improving health and safety in any workplace is to involve those doing the work in discussion, feedback, sharing of ideas and proposals – taking more time and less haste, leads to more safety.

“I would also encourage anyone who is unhappy with health and safety in their workplace to speak up so something can be done.  Employers need to have regular discussions with their teams about health and safety so it just becomes a normal and regular topic.”

Other factors that can have an effect at this time of year is workplaces being understaffed or overworked, which heightens the need for employers to ensure all people are fully aware of specific health and safety processes, especially if temporary workers are being employed.

Certain high risk industries need to be even more vigilant such as agriculture, construction, forestry and fishing.

The New Zealand Institute of Safety Management is the professional organisation responsible for raising competence and providing accreditation for health and safety practitioners in New Zealand.

It is the largest and most established independent New Zealand health and safety professional association.  Founded almost 40 years ago it has 13 branches, more than 1600 members made up of professionals and practitioners working across a broad range of industries and sectors, and over 60 corporate supporters.