Newsletter: March 2020 Newsletter

In this Issue

  • Health & Safety in the Front Row Review
  • Who looks after your health?
  • Charter Communication Workshop
  • WorkSafe H&S Representative Survey Report
  • Workplace preparedness for Covid-19
  • Connect with the Charter on Linkedin
  • 2019 Business Leadership Survey
  • PSWG Reflections
  • Placemakers Monster Tool Sale
  • New Members
  • Events
March 2020/ ISSUE #65
Health & Safety in the Front Row…. 

The First Charter event for 2020 was a Leadership event entitled “Health and Safety in the Front Row”.  From a health and safety perspective, a rugby field is a very risky environment, and the front row is the riskiest.   In a broad sense, all health and safety professionals operate in the “front Row” of their work environments, and this can be a very challenging place to be. 
All Black scrum coach Mike Cron was our first speaker, speaking on the work he had undertaken to understand the nature of the risk to front row forwards from a biomechanical point of view, and the training methods and techniques now employed to reduce and prevent injury.
Two things really stood out for me from his presentation.  The first thing was that although he was the All Black Coach, virtually every night of the week he would attend a training somewhere, be it a school or a club, to pass on the knowledge and skills to players and coaches of all levels. This also includes coaches from other countries. The message this sends is very clear. Player safety is paramount, more important than the result of any one game. The second is that despite all the success of teams he has been involved with, which includes a couple of World Cups, the thing he was most proud of was the record of reducing injuries. By his estimation, at least a team full of players not having suffered life changing injuries.
The second speaker was Katherine Freeman-Greene, Placemakers.  Katherine shared a personal story about how changing our thinking can reduce risk in real life situations.  In this particular case, risk mitigation involved only having a small number of people ‘certified’ to carry out a specific and critical task. However, this creates another risk, in that if these people are not present, and the task has to be done, what happens? In this case, the result was a potentially serious injury and longer-term mental stress for a specific employee. By training all staff in the task, the overall result is a safer and more productive workplace.
Tania Palmer, Meridian then spoke about shifting the Health and Safety culture of an organisation using an ‘all of System’ approach. This involves engaging with the internal/invisible individual and collective beliefs, values, and attitudes in addition to the external (visible) policies and behaviours. She spoke of the use of ‘Learning Teams’ to discover the deeper truths about the causes of accidents, and how a ‘no blame’ culture can discover these truths and also engage with employees to provide the best solutions.
Our final speaker Kyle McWilliams applied evolutionary and behavioural principles to the examples given by the first 3 speakers. He took us on a journey through human evolution and yearnings to learn more about why humans do the things that they do, and the implications for health and safety. We learnt how much time of the day we are actually engaged, and how much ‘chatter’ exists in our brain to distract us from the task at hand. Kyle had a couple of interactive exercises which took us all out of our comfort zones.
Overall, the key message of collaboration of health and safety amongst organisations who would normally compete was strongly reinforced, as was the idea that leadership involves empowering others. These are central themes of the Safety Charter. The ability to have a diverse group of people in the same room sharing their stories is one of our great strengths. 
“The first job of leadership is to create more leaders, not more followers”

Paul Duggan
General Manager 

I can’t quite believe that it is March already, the year seems to be racing by. This is probably due to the fact that I am getting older without being necessarily wiser. One thing is for sure, I am definitely not as bullet proof as I thought was even 10 years ago!
Some of you will be aware that 2020 marks the 5-year anniversary of the legislation changes of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. This change, amongst many other things, required workers to have greater accountability of their own health and safety. Like many of you, I have a tendency to view health & safety from a point of view as to how my actions or inactions affect others.
We commonly find ourselves striving for best practice in our workplaces in tangible ways, reducing harm from falls, trips, slips, dropped objects and the like – I consider this to be “safety” part. When I consider the “health” component, I look for things like dust, stress, mental health etc. Again, we seem to always refer to these things as to how they affect others, this is the selfless part of us that creates the strong team bond that we have with our workmates.
But who looks after your health? When I pose this question, I am not referring to what can harm you can manage in terms of risk, I’m referring to the things that you can’t see, touch and if you’re lucky feel. How many times have you heard others say, “nothing wrong with me….I never go to the doctor”?
Historically, the only time I went to the doctor was for the occasional sporting injury and colds, this is where my “bullet proof” comment comes from.  Unfortunately, my father passed away when I was 9 years old, I was told a few years later that it was due to a massive heart attack. From what I remember about my Father, he was fit, a hard worker and never seemed to get sick. So how did my Father die at the age of 43?
I felt totally ripped off. How was it that I was one of the very few kids at school who didn’t have a father? Why did I have to witness my father keel over while putting up a tent in the Coromandel on our first day of our family holidays? Why was I never going to be able to have the advice from my father and why did my mother then have to work so many hours so that she could provide the best start in life for me that she could afford?
It was this that motivated me to go to see my doctor in 2011, I was 43 years old, the same age as my father was when he died. As well as being the same age, it wasn’t just me anymore, there was my partner, my daughter and son then 18 months old and there was no way that I wanted him to go through what I had been through, if I could avoid it.
I went to my doctor without too many concerns, I was reasonably fit, never complaining about my health, nothing appeared to be untoward.   My doctor was very complimentary of my decision, “good on you for taking the initiative” he said whilst checking my almost perfect blood pressure. So off to my specialist I went to do an ECG stress test.  For those of you who don’t know what a ECG stress test is, you are hooked up to a heart monitor and then you jump on a treadmill for 10 minutes (if I remember correctly) while they increase the incline of the treadmill.  Apparently. I ‘smashed the test’ so I left quite happy, not really giving things too much thought, and not knowing that my world was about to be turned upside down.
Three days later I got a call from the specialist, they wanted me to come back for more tests to ‘check’ on something. So back to the specialist I go for an ultrasound. It was after the ultrasound that things began to speed up much faster than I care to remember.  I was admitted to Christchurch Hospital for more tests before being visited by a lovely bloke by the name of Dr David Shaw. I found out fairly quickly that Dr Shaw was one of the senior heart surgeons at the hospital…….hang about……surgery???
Apparently, my fathers ‘heart attack’ was a hereditary disorder that meant that my aortic valve allowed far too much blood to re-enter my heart because the one-way valve did not close properly. This problem is called regurgitation. Everyone has degrees of regurgitation but mine was not ‘acceptable levels’ so I was given the option of either a pigs tissue valve, or a carbon fibre valve.
Unfortunately, there was no other options presented. That’s not so bad I thought to myself as I asked the question, “so do you do this through the leg or under my armpit or what?”. “No’ came the reply, “we cut you open and go straight through your rib cage”.  “But that’s not all” Dr Shaw said, “ because of your severe regurgitation, your aorta has what we refer to as an aneurism which means that you are at risk from complete heart failure at any point in time and if it fails, you will die”.
I was told that I could go home for the weekend to be with my family before I came back to the hospital on Monday. To cut a long story short, after going home for the weekend, sitting in front of my video camera telling my kids how much I loved them, and how I hoped that they would grow up to be good human beings (the hardest thing I have ever done in my life) I went in for open heart surgery on the Monday, woke up in intensive care and then spent the next 3 months recovering….all from a check-up!
But… I am still here, because I made a decision to consider health and safety at a personal level and go and get a check.
So, what can you take from my story?
  1. No matter how young, tough or bulletproof you think you are, expect the unexpected.
  2. Avoiding the check-up because of the cost is not a good enough excuse.
  3. Fear of knowing you have a problem is much better than not knowing you have a problem at all!
  4. Don’t delay your decision to take care of your own health and well-being, time is of the essence.
  5. Health and safety is about others, but sometimes you have to look after yourself to do the right thing by others.
Steve Taw
Charter Board Member

Book NOW:  Communication that gets the job done
with Marina Shearer BSc. Psychology Diploma Coaching  
Friday, 20 March 2020; Breakfast workshop. 

WorkSafe Health and Safety Representative Survey Report 
WorkSafe recently completed a survey of Health & Safety Representatives from across industries in NZ.  Click to read the results 
Workplace prepardness for COVID-19 (Cornonavirus)

The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation regarding coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

Minimising the spread of infectious diseases in the workplace is important to keeping staff safe and well at work.  The Ministry of Health has provided a guidance of infectious disease prevention and control. 

Ministry of Health websites;
Workplace infectious disease prevention
COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Connect with the Safety Charter on Linkedin
2019 Business Leadership Survey
'Covering all the Bases' – Mental health and wellbeing at work.

Read the survey insights 
PSWG: Reflection on 2019, Heads up for 2020
PSWG is the Safety Charter’s Professional Services Working Group. Through 2019, our focus was Health and Safety by Design.
PlaceMakers Monster Tool Sale NOW ON
PlaceMakers are a key Safety Charter partner and invite you to attend their awesome BBQ events at each of their 5 stores.

At the BBQs, there will be heaps of 1-day only deals, giveaways and suppliers with all the latest tech to get your hands on!

Click here for BBQ Dates
FRIDAY, 20 March 2020
Register NOW:  Communication that gets the job done Workshop
Time: Breakfast Workshop, 6.30am – 8.30am
Location: The Tannery, Woolston
Safety Charter AGM
Time and Location details will be provided. 

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