Better Questions are Now Being Asked – The Charter is here to help you to answer them
In recent months I have noticed a significant increase in the level of conversation about duty holder responsibility and what the White Island court case means for companies that engage multiple contractors and trades in New Zealand.
The high volume of pre-qualifications that I have personally been assisting businesses undertake, suggests further that industries with overlapping PCBUs are now tightening up their control measures and ensuring that each have an adequate safe system of work in place.
The 13 companies and individuals charged by WorkSafe over the deadly eruption will be appearing in the Whakatāne court a little later this month.
The hearing follows an adjournment from the Auckland District Court in March to give the defendants time to consider WorkSafe’s case against them.
At the time the charges were laid, WorkSafe chief executive Phil Parkes said an investigation into the parties found they did not meet their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 when taking tourists to the island.
“As a nation we need to look at this tragedy and ask if we are truly doing enough to ensure our mothers, fathers, children and friends come home to us healthy and safe at the end of each day.
“It is now up to the judicial system to determine whether they did or not.”
The top advice I can give business leaders right now is what my good friend DeAnne Brabant, (past Senior Solicitor WorkSafe, Associate Teaching Fellow Massey University and Mediator) told me in an interview at the time of the first hearing:
“Business owners should be aiming for the path of least regret, to double check, to second guess yourself and make sure you get the right things in place…”
From what I have seen and heard, many executives and boards are becoming increasingly comfortable to ask for greater quality of information from their management teams and more consistency from their prequalification processes, to provide confidence that their duties are being met.
The timely arrival of Totika, the single framework that brings all health and safety pre-qualifications together under one umbrella, will arguably make the process of pre-qualification not only, cheaper, and quicker for everyone but also of higher quality and standard.
The challenge for managers and advisors now will be the requirement to keep up to speed with the latest insights, industry good practice and digital solution options.
That is why I am so proud to be a part of the Canterbury Safety Charter as it continues to provide such critical support and guidance to industry and individuals throughout the region and beyond.
Matt Jones, Charter Board Member