Newsletter: November 2020 Newsletter

In this issue;
  • Psychology 101: Animals and vegetables
  • The evolving treatment of Risk – insurance industry changes
  • Legislation, Insurance and Empathy in the workplace
  • Safety at the forefront for Cathedral Project
  • Last Chance Registrations for ‘Still Under Construction – 5 years on from HSAW Act 2015’
  • Health & Safety by Design: Robinson Bay Wharf Project Video
  • WorkSafe – new safety campaign
  • New Charter Members
  • Charter Mentoring Programme
  • Let the Charter celebrate your H&S Champion
Charter November 2020 Update
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November 2020 Update
Psychology 101: Animals and vegetables

Anyone who believes that they can predict individual human behaviour given a specific set of circumstances is probably a bit mistaken. We all tend to believe that humans are rational beings who will follow logical thought processes and will act in their own best interests, especially where their welfare is concerned. Yet each day in the health and safety world we know that this is not necessarily the case. So the big question might be, how do we best modify human behaviour to get people to work safer? Does telling people to work safer, showing them how to work safer, and appealing to their rational mind, produce the best results? To explore this idea, we need to visit the world of psychology.

It turns out that our behaviour is determined by our thoughts, so we basically do what we think we should do. But it also turns out that our thoughts are most heavily influenced by our feelings. So how we feel about something determines how we think about it, which then determines how we behave. In short, this means that the best way to influence behaviours is through emotions, rather than the thought process. This is similar to the rule about the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. If you are interested in finding out more about this, I would recommend a couple of youtube clips by Dr Alan Watkins

Of course the advertising industry is way ahead of the health and safety industry. They discovered this principle when Adam saw his first apple. All advertisements appeal to emotions to influence your behaviour. You just need to look at all the subliminal messages in any advertising campaign, especially the imagery. And this approach appears to work, as the advertising industry continues to expand into more and more places. The recent elections campaigns both here and abroad are another example of voting behaviours being much more influenced by emotional responses than policies.

But can this work for health and safety? NZTA have invested heavily in emotional advertising campaigns to reduce driver speed, driver impairment and to promote safer cars. I do not know what effect this has had on crash statistics or the road toll, but I know that I respond emotionally to the ads. WorkSafe are also going down a similar track, with recent campaigns featuring animals and vegetables. It is relatively easy to find fault with these approaches on a rational thought level, but the reality is that they are in fact targeted at the emotions. I applaud any approach that engages with people and positively influences safe behaviour. But perhaps there is another way to achieve this aim.

The Charter has just begun a project with WorkSafe looking at Health and Safety Representatives, and the role they play in delivering health and safety outcomes at the coal face. We started with two workshops looking at understanding the key insights to the role of an HSR, and we were amazed at the level of interest from both Charter members and those outside the Charter. It appears that there is a real lack of resources and opportunities for HSR’s to connect and to engage with others in order to gain a greater understanding of their role and how to influence change within their organisation.

I think that HSR’s have the greatest potential to affect health and safety behaviours through their ability to tap into the emotional highway in the workplace. To do this effectively they just have to connect emotionally with the job and they people they represent. And to do this they need greater resourcing.


Paul Duggan, General Manager

The evolving treatment of Risk – insurance industry changes

Risk is a well-known feature and driver of the Health and Safety landscape – and even more so in the last 10 years. The ability to identify, assess, and quantify risk is part and parcel what we do as health and safety professionals. This is only the first step, and from there we go down the well-worn path of elimination, substitution, mitigation, administration and PPE. However, this experience is not unique to us. Many other professionals have to go through the same risk assessments as part of their normal day at work.

A key sector that deals in risk daily is the insurance industry. Risk is at the heart of all that they do. For them the second part of their journey is to work out a financial value of the risks ( exposure), and then to calculate what this means in terms of an amount to charge the client to carry that exposure. To us this is the premium we pay for that insurance cover.

Just as the Canterbury Earthquake Series was the catalyst for the birth of the Charter and significant changes in health and safety outcomes in Christchurch, the earthquakes were a catalyst for major changes in the NZ insurance industry. These changes were based around the individualised rather than collective risk.

In the good old days – pre quakes – everybody who had a similar house or building of a similar size pretty much paid a similar premium. It did not matter where your building was located, what it was built from, or how it was built. Broadly ‘riskier’ buildings were subsidised by the less risky buildings, and everybody pretty-much shared the load equally.

However, these days are now long-gone. Each residential building is now individually assessed for risk – with factors like flooding, erosion, sea level rise, earthquake zones, forest fire risk, and others possibly affecting premiums and terms (excesses, etc) of cover – sometimes significantly. The good news is that if you live in well-constructed property in a well-drained area, far from the coast and alpine fault, and not near large tracts of combustible vegetation, you can expect to pay a much lower premium. However, if the opposite is true there may come a day that insurance cover is not economically viable.

This more-granular treatment of risk also applies to commercial and business premises.

The lessons we can learn from insurance industry changes is that the better we can understand and quantify the individual risks of our individual sites and places of work, the better we can treat them and the better off we will be in the long run. By carefully identifying and dealing with individual risks the less time and money will be used in dealing with the adverse consequences, as they are much less likely to occur which is good for everyone involved.

Lifting the Bar Part II
Legislation, Insurance and Empathy in the workplace

The Professional Services Working Group (PSWG) develops resources and events for professional service organisations aligned to the construction Industry. In 2019 the What, Why, Who, When and How of Safety by Design were introduced. A year on, in October 2020 and with Covid-19 affecting all workplaces where design is carried out, this second Safety by Design event explored legislation, Insurance and Empathy in the workplace

Susan Rowe, Buddle Findlay explained how the H&S Act (section 39) sets out designer duties, summarising these duties and the design sequence into 6 design steps. Today’s last step used to be the first thing we did for people – hand out Personal Protective Equipment and send them out on the job! The designer is now right at the start, with responsibility to show at each step that the previous design step is implemented

It is important for designers to allocate resources – a big project needs to have people dedicated to Safety by Design and key information stored in one place. If there is an incident, Worksafe will come looking for this information (Worksafe want to see a risk management approach across the whole project). Cost is a consideration for what it is reasonably practical to do, but is the last consideration when all the other practical steps have been considered

Susan explained there are design expectations, but also limitations on the how far responsibility extends. For example, incidents that occur outside the ‘place of work’ or subsequent contractor incompetence do not necessarily implicate a designer or owner.

James Smith, Crombie Lockwood presented on the Insurance angle. How can risk exposure be reduced and can this impact premiums? James stated that New Zealand is one of the most insured countries but also one of the riskiest. Reduced competition from overseas insurers has led to increased premiums. We can expect insurance costs to continue to increase, and cover for large exposure may become hard to obtain.

Capturing sufficient information during the design process may be necessary if insurance is to be obtained at all. There is an opportunity for the Insurance Industry to take into account domestic design materials such as steel framing and how these might mitigate risk (eg earthquake damage in Christchurch) and therefore reduce premiums. Similarly, base isolation of structures might affect premiums in Wellington but not yet in Christchurch where insurance is still ‘cheap’ with not enough margin for reduction.

Hayley Fisher, Warren & Mahoney on Covid by Design. Responding to the imminent lockdown brought with it concerns about how to control a large business with people working from home. This however soon moved to how to stop people working. During lockdown boundaries blurred, people began to see each other’s lives beyond work. Trust was required, project goals needed to be shared. Isolation took a toll particularly on people alone or with small children

Mental wellbeing of the design team has now appeared on the project risk register. Covid restrictions pushed home, work and social places together and with reference to the theory of the third place, Hayley asked the questions – How does what we build value us? What will people in the future find out about us from our buildings (as we have from our view of ancient Rome)? A legacy of Covid is wellness rather than social spacing, buildings need to support diversity.

Ian McKenzie

PSWG Member

Safety at the forefront for the Cathedral Project

The project to reinstate iconic Christ Church Cathedral in the heart of the city is now well underway. Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Limited (CCRL) is managing project delivery.

The Cathedral is unstable and not safe to enter or work close to. Following the appointment of Naylor Love as the main contractor in May 2020, the first step was establishing the construction site and agreeing the protocols for how the team would access the building safety. Previous damage reports, investigations by crane and drone footage proved invaluable for understanding the condition of the building.

The ‘stabilisation’ phase began shortly after. Taking up to 24 months, this phase essentially entails stabilising the Cathedral, so it is safe enough to work on or near. As the building is stabilised (including decontamination and temporary weather protection), sections will become progressively accessible, enabling workers to go inside to retrieve items and carry out further investigations.

Collaboration is key to managing safety on this project. The stabilisation design benefited from engineers Holmes Consultants LP, and contractors Naylor Love working together with architects Warren and Mahoney, Heritage specialists HMS to ensure the stabilisation design methodology considers safety along with other important matters.

The Cathedral is a unique building that requires unique solutions to manage risks. At all times, the team looks for ways to eliminate or mitigate hazards that could put workers at risk. A recent example was choosing to assemble sizeable steel frames well clear of the Cathedral and then lowering them into place by crane. When the team does need to work beneath hazards and the task allows, there are two purpose-built steel cages to protect them.

The Cathedral project demands an unwavering commitment to safety by everyone involved, at all levels. Within the project team, opportunities for improvement are identified, actioned, and shared widely so the safety bar is being lifted for all involved.

Ngāi Tūāhuriri has gifted the following whakataukī to the project, which highlights the importance of people to project success. Safety is of course, key to this.

“Mā ō tātou ringa, ka rewa anō te tuara o tō tātou Whare Karakia Nui.”

With all our hands the roof of our Cathedral will rise again.

Matt Tippen

Christchurch Cathedral Reinstatement Project

Workshop – last chance registration.
Still Under Construction… 5 years on from the HSAW Act 2015

5 years on… since the introduction of HSAW Act 2015

In this workshop we will look at what changes have occurred in that time, how the courts have interpreted the legislation, and what major development have happened in health and safety since then.

Register Here
Repair of Robinson Bay Jetty
Health & Safety by Design

A video showing how Health and Safety by Design principles enabled the economic and safe repair of the Robinsons Bay Jetty by a team of volunteers

Watch Video
Safety just got fury
WorkSafe – You can sense it… you can stop it!

WorkSafe NZ say It’s not enough to solely rely on the rules to keep us safe.  They’re great for the basics, but we can’t write a rule for absolutely everything. Instead, we need to look out for our mates by listening to our inner-meerkats, which is the instinct to detect danger that we all have. If you sense something could go wrong, be a mate and say something. 

Read about the new WorkSafe campaign
Welcome to New Members
Safety Charter Mentoring Programme

Mentoring is free and allows members to have an informal discussion enabling the mentor to provide advice and support to the mentee.

If you are a Charter member, and are seeking some mentoring, or would like to offer your services as a mentor, please complete the form will be in touch.

Celebrating H&S Champions

Health and safety is full of unsung heroes who work hard behind the scenes to ensure we all work safely together. 

The Charter acknowledges those people, who have demonstrated leadership to improve health & safety. For more information follow
this link.

Canterbury Safety Charter

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New Zealand

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