DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - CONTENTS -

Changes to the reg­u­la­tions with re­gard safety at work are con­tin­u­ing with New Zealand adopt­ing ‘Aussie rules’ for ma­chine guards. Call­ers to the Demm of­fice have mixed re­ac­tions to the changes. Some think ev­ery­thing is okay as it is (it isn’t), and there has been some kick-back about us­ing reg­u­la­tions that were drawn up in Aus­tralia. Like it or not, the health and safety of people at work has been too far down the list of pri­or­i­ties for too long. And it’s not as if com­pen­sa­tion for an in­jury re­ally helps the in­jured per­son. For ex­am­ple, one man lost four fin­gers on his right hand in a ma­chine back in 2013 – be­cause there were no guards on it. His court-awarded com­pen­sa­tion? Just $8000 (about two months’ pay). Guards have since been fit­ted to the ma­chine. While no amount of money can com­pen­sate for an ac­ci­dent, the in­jury suf­fered by this worker did not have to oc­cur in the first place. There’s his lost in­come to take into ac­count, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, and pos­si­bly re­train­ing for a new job. As for the em­ployer, it was fined $32,500 and no doubt had a new per­son do­ing the in­jured man’s job within hours of the ac­ci­dent. Frankly, New Zealand’s health and safety rules can’t get tight­ened up fast enough as far as I am con­cerned. Loose ‘guide­lines’ are no match for clear rules and strict li­a­bil­ity.

Steve Hart edi­tor@demm.co.nz

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