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 email@example.com