Newsletter: July 2020 Newsletter

In this issue:

Review of 1st Charter event post Covid
Board Editorial, Richard Holyoake
Safety Charter Annual Report
CHASNZ Road Show
Weathering the Storm Video Series
Charter Events
New Members

Richard Holyoake
July 2020 
Weathering the Storm
The first post lockdown Charter event was held at the Tannery on 30th June, featuring the Charter AGM and a discussion panel on Covid-19 responses in Canterbury.  The notable feature of the AGM was the standing-down of two long serving Board members, Chairman Rob Sloan, and Richard Holyoake.  Both have given  a great deal of time and expertise to the Charter, and their experience and wisdom will be sorely missed.  Rob has been with the Charter since its inception, and has been the driving force behind setting up the Charter as an incorporated society, as well as leaving a substantial legacy from the early days. Richard and Rob have been heavily involved with setting the future direction of the Charter through the new strategic plan, and providing oversight of the financial performance. Board members Steve Taw and Ian Campbell presented both with a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion.
The discussion panel featured Ivan Stanicich (Fowler Homes), Alastair Miles (Miles Construction), Stephen Esposito (Ravensdown), and economist Gareth Kiernan.  Each was asked about their organisations responses to the Covid-19  crisis, and what lessons were learnt along the way. Several common themes emerged, with one of the main outcomes being the increased awareness of how important health and safety can be in ensuring both the wellbeing of staff and the business as a whole. The changes made during the crisis have for the most part been retained, with the greater emphasis on hygiene and site access/management being beneficial for all.  The other common theme was the lockdown experience, with many finding it a strangely rewarding time. Family dynamics were often altered for the better, and a sense of “we are all in this together” reminded us of the earthquake experience.

The key learning's from our panellists were around greater levels of communication, greater client service in uncertain economic times, greater planning and information gathering, and keeping things as simple as possible. 
Finally, Gareth gave a presentation on the economic outlook for Canterbury construction over the next few years, and how these projections have changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The National GDP has taken a huge hit, but will rebound in early 2021 to be down around 5%. The labour market in Canterbury is predicted to shrink by 11%, but this will be somewhat offset by the increased infra-structure spend commencing in 2021, and increasing for 3-4 years.  The construction projections for residential and non-residential were both trending downward before Covid, and the hit to residential appears to be greater than to non-residential. The good news is that many on the ground report increased numbers of people enquiring about residential construction, and this could also increase due to low numbers of real estate listings at this time.  The key message from the floor is that Cantabrians are very resilient, and if everybody makes a commitment to “buy local”, we can have a positive influence on our regions economy.

Paul Duggan
General Manager 


I have recently stepped off the Canterbury Safety Charter board as I try and rationalise my various commitments, having been on the Board since its inception as an Incorporated Society in 2017.   It has been a pleasure to work with the board and management over that time, under the chairmanship of Rob Sloan as we came to grips with "who we are" and "what we do" as a charter. We have changed the name, changed the branding, appointed a General Manager, worked with Worksafe, and liaised with the Leaders forum and the recently established CHASNZ.

The Charter have lent our assistance to other regions as they look to replicate the benefits we have seen in Canterbury.  Most of all though we have continued to run workshops and events, champion initiatives such as Safety in Design, and worked to keep the conversation going. My personal view is that the latter is the most important thing we do – keep the Health and Safety conversations going.

The last few months have been very challenging for most of us as COVID-19 spread around the world and governments, organisations, and individuals had to react. As a consulting engineer, I was able to work from home during the lockdown, albeit there were quite a few challenges, not the least of which was the feeling of being attached to a computer every daylight hour and some dark hours too. That was not my biggest challenge though.

In the depths of lockdown, and as the result of a regular medical check (I have been having annual medicals by choice for several years now) I was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and 4 days later was operated on in a very empty hospital (thanks to COVID). I’d had no obvious symptoms apart from being tired which I put down to aging and a busy professional and personal life.  The operation was successful and I have now physically recovered, and in fact I feel fitter and healthier than I have for some time. No further treatment is recommended.

I have talked about the experience with many of my friends, colleagues and clients, and in particular of the realisation that a regular medical check-up resulted in timely medical intervention. The result could have been very different – in my case it would appear that the tumour was removed before it managed to wreak havoc with other organs and cause a very different outcome.  Initially it felt weird talking about it, it was a "private" issue and could be regarded as no-one else's business. On the other hand,it felt quite good and almost therapeutic to talk about it – in a way it helped me process what had happened. There is also the possibility that someone else might benefit from the story.

I won't quote the instant verbal reaction of most people when I tell the story, except to say that most are surprised, shocked or disbelieving that this could happen to someone who is apparently fit, active and healthy. I have also been surprised at how many people have opened up about their family history of cancer, their own close call, or of their (very) new-found intention of going to get a routine medical.

I have been shocked at how hidden bowel cancer is. Clearly there are awareness campaigns through social and mainstream media, but I suspect many take the stance that "it can't (or won't) happen to me".  It might happen to you or someone close. I consider myself lucky to be able to reflect on this as a good outcome, it could have been so very different had I not had a routine medical.

Reflecting on my experience, there are a couple of messages that I think are clear;

  • The first is that you may benefit from regular check-ups – maybe think about your body as a machine that needs maintenance and check-ups like any other machine.
  • The second message is that we need to keep the conversations going – just as the Charter is doing with health and safety, we need to share stories and learn from each other's experiences.
  • Take care and keep the health and safety conversations going.

Richard Holyoake



Safety Charter 2020 Annual Report
Annual highlights from the Safety Charter
CHASNZ Christchurch Roadshow
Wednesday, 29th July 2020 from 7.30am-9.30am at Russley Golf Club.
Learn about Tōtika, the BlackHat programme, Site Access Requirements and other initiatives CHASNZ are currently working on.  
Weathering the Storm Video Series
Episode 2 featuring the Covid story from the team at Taggart. 
Charter Events and Workshops
Mark the dates below in your calendar for the upcoming Charter workshops and event. 
If you would like the information sent to anyone else please send an email to the 
MARK IT IN THE CALENDAR:  'What if….' Planning for the worst
A Health & Safety Representative Breakfast workshop
Location: Venue and further details to follow
MARK IT IN THE CALENDAR: "Still under construction" 5-years on from the HSW Act
A Health and Safety Representative Breakfast Workshop
Location: Venue and further details to follow
MARK IT IN THE CALENDAR:  "Questions you are too afraid to ask"  Discussion panel with health and safety leaders
A Health and Safety Leaders Networking Event
Location: Venue and further details to follow

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences


Sign up to our Newsletter

The Safety Charter produces a Monthly newsletter that provides members with up-to-date and relevant health and safety information along with Upcoming Events and Workshops.

"*" indicates required fields

Scroll to Top