The Registered Master Builders Federation has set up a Health and Safety working group with a view to coordinating work already being done by various groups in this field and provide clearer guidance to members.
Ultimately, the aim is to further improve workplace practises and bring down the injury accident rate that continues to haunt the construction industry.
The residential, self-employed sector is one that has been slow to pick up on the provisions of the Health and Safety in Employment Act, and a focus will be made in this area.
In an attempt to get a wide cross section of the industry covered, the group set up for the inaugural meeting that we held in June was as follows:
Ashley Hartley (Chair),
Peter Mayow, Fletcher Construction Ltd,
David Fabish, David Fabish Ltd,
David Baker, Amalgamated Builders,
Darrell Trigg, Darrell Trigg Builder Ltd,
Simon Barber, JD Barber Construction Ltd,
Ian Shepherd, BCITO business development manager,
Neil Shaw, RMBF in-house counsel,
Peter Philipsen, RMBF regional service manager, and
Pieter Burghout, CEO, RMBF.
To set the scene as to what’s happening across the construction sector, updates were received from the following organisations:
Workplace Programmes manager Caroline Jonsson and construction industry programme manager Chris Swanson gave the group a good overview of ACC’s approach to working with industry around accident reduction, including incentivising improved behaviours. They offered to continue to work collaboratively with the RMBF.
Department of Labour
National support services manager Irene Keane gave an overview of the strategic approach the department was taking to H&S. Some information was shared around their proposed enforcement approach, and they also intend to continue to work with industry and the RMBF on reviewing and rationalising codes of practice.
Iris Clanachan told the group where Site Safe is at, and shared some of the positive results being achieved. The big gains have largely been in the commercial sector, and Site Safe recognises the need to work more closely with the residential sector to get better results.
Site Safe and the RMBF have discussed opportunities around a closer strategic relationship, with the main early opportunity being the development of a residential H&S strategy for RMBF members.
The RMBF’s strategic objectives in the H&S area centre around:
the Federation’s role, given the current roles of ACC, Department of Labour and Site Safe — ie, how we can best add value for our members,
what the RMBF’s initial priorities should be, and
how the RMBF best responds to policy issues (eg, ACC changes, Codes of Practices, definition of serious harm, and scaffolding requirement).
The RMBF will seek agreement on initial key priorities and action as necessary, as follows:
Department of Labour: Codes of Practice — get a listing of these, assess the status of them and initiate prioritised reviews where appropriate.
BCITO: Integration — the RMBF should continue to advocate integration across qualifications, unit standards and associated training.
ACC: WSD programme — the RMBF should continue to advocate merits of participating in the WSD programme to members.
Site Safe: Communication — the RMBF should consider continuing to channel relevant information to members.
Strategy: The RMBF should work with Site Safe to improve the range of products and services offered to the industry.
1 To develop/adopt a simplified H&S system for promotion to members. Advocate to ensure Site Safe passports are recognised as CPD-rated training for licensing renewal purposes.
2 To promote “best practice” value of members being associated with Site Safe and its programmes (including the fact that RMBF members get a good percentage discount on Site Safe membership fees).
3 To work with Site Safe around a review of its residential programme, and advocate it accordingly to members.
4 To look to clarify “H&S best practice” levels for members.
5 To continue to engage in relevant policy issues (ACC, Department of Labour and others) which would otherwise have a material impact on the construction industry.
Overall, the RMBF H&S working group recognised the merit of the RMBF taking a leadership role in the Health and Safety area, alongside (but not instead of) Site Safe.
We will work collaboratively with Site Safe to achieve positive outcomes for members and the industry as a whole, and continue to advocate improved policy outcomes in the H&S area.
It is intended to continue to use this grouping of RMBF members for further input into the H&S area.
Watch this space!