On April 4 the new Health & Safety requirements took effect, reinforcing the obligations of employers to take concrete action to ensure the health and safety of their staff.
A lot of questions have been raised about what steps need to be taken by employers, including how they know if they have the right things in place, and who can give them advice.
This has been a particular area of concern in the construction industry which does not have a good track record by international standards.
Of all the things that can be done to eliminate or reduce accidents, perhaps the most important is to ensure people working on building sites have the right competence in identifying potential hazards and then knowing what actions to take.
Registered Master Builders, along with a broad cross-section of other industry associations, has been active in developing an important new tool to assess competence in Health and Safety for the construction sector.
Known as ConstructSafe, it is an easy online test that independently checks the competence of any worker, trade specialist, supervisor or manager on site. It seeks to provide assurance that those working on the site are competent and safe.
It is the first of its kind in New Zealand. Based on international best practice frameworks, it sets a benchmark for Health and Safety competency.
Tier One of the ConstructSafe scheme is being launched on April 4, aimed at general site workers. Further tiers for specialist trades, supervisors and managers will be introduced later in the year.
Tier One has been trialled with a number of businesses, from small residential through to larger commercial, with excellent feedback on the value and easy-to-use nature of the assessment.
Test centres will be established over the next few weeks for those who want to take advantage of it. For more information, visit www.constructionsafetycouncil.co.nz.