Craig Carlyle, MESNZ column
The Maintenance Engineering Society of NZ (MESNZ) committee must be doing something right, with membership cracking the 400 mark in July.
The record membership is the result of a lot of hard work getting out in the community providing networking opportunities and raising the awareness amongst industry of the society and its achievements. The society is looking to increase its profile in all regions, ensuring that all maintenance engineers have a voice and access to relevant tools that are going to help them in the workplace.
The worst-kept secret of the year is out, with the announcement of Bill Buckley as the society patron. Bill, an iconic kiwi identity made of the same stuff as Bert Munro, is a tradesman himself and readily identifies with the MESNZ support for the trades and apprentices.
The MESNZ Engineering Scholarship has been renamed the Bill Buckley Engineering Scholarship, giving this year’s applicants no doubts about the heritage and history they are aspiring to.
Talking of apprentices, MESNZ is considering taking the hugely successful network evening concept and applying it to apprenticeships by providing a forum for young generations and their parents to explore what a world of engineering can offer. Education spokesman Bill Sole is working up the concept at present so hopefully we can announce progress in the near future.
MESNZ attended the EMEX show for the first time in 2014, meeting and greeting the public and raising the awareness of the society. It was a surprisingly successful event for the society with a lot of interest generated.
Under the health and safety banner, MESNZ has been at the steering end of the formation of the new Health and Safety Association of NZ. This association of associations is the umbrella group created by the government to promote and influence excellent health and safety outcomes for all New Zealanders. It supersedes the original OHSIG group, which will wind up by the end of the year. MESNZ involvement in this new body will ensure a direct line of communication for engineering and manufacturing.
Readers in Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki should now be aware of the pilot inspection programme by WorkSafe NZ. MESNZ is closely watching the results, particularly with respect to guarding. With involvement in the health and safety reform process, MESNZ is keen to judge if the bureaucracy has delivered an improved pathway for employers or if we have just added cost and complexity. Inspectors are using 4 draft inspection tools covering machine guarding, dust, noise and forklifts. These tools are available on the MESNZ website here http://bit.ly/1l5lUdb as well as the constantly growing list of guarding practitioners under http:// www.mesnz.org.nz/resources/health-safety/guard-experts/
The new Health and Safety Act meanwhile continues its march through the parliamentary process. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is meanwhile busying itself developing the regulations to underpin the new act. The topics under review are risk, employee participation, asbestos, hazardous substances, and major hazard facilities. With some significant and potentially draconian changes potential being cemented into place, readers would be well advised to absorb the proposals at http://bit.ly/1wwFHaV.There is a submission period so be sure to check the dates and make your voice heard.