How the health and safety gravy train is sucking the productivity out of NZ manufacturing
Are you being suckered by the H&S gravy train? You can save money immediately by reading the following.
Test and tagging of electrical appliances and leads is NOT a legal requirement in NZ industrial plants.
If you Google it you’ll find any amount of references convincing you that it is a legal requirement, but follow those links and you will always come to the test and tag industry many of whom are cultivating this fallacy and who ultimately benefit financially from your confusion.
“In the view of the MESNZ this is but one example of the unhelpful ‘smoke and mirrors’ rubbish that gets seized upon and promoted by health and safety advisors and HR practitioners, particularly within larger organisations,” said Barry Robinson, Chairman of the Maintenance Engineering Society of NZ.
“What is happening is these misleading H&S processes become de-facto norms and get mimicked by the media and smaller organisations who think that because the big plants are doing it, then it must be the specified standard that needs to be adopted in all industrial operations large or small.”
Robinson, who has spent over 30 years safely and healthily running NZ’s largest hot forging and heat treatment plant, makes no apologies for his confrontational approach.
Other examples are: compulsory wearing of safety glasses, hard hats and hi- viz vests in industrial plants; proliferation of orange con es; stress-inducing bee person machinery; and banning of ladders. These things waste time, money, and productivity. Worse, in many cases they can actually expose us to greater risk.
“A common example of increased risk is the wearing of safety glasses: safety glasses detract from our natural vision and senses in several ways - fogging, limiting or obscuring of peripheral vision and immediate upper and lower frontal vision, irritation and pressure. By wearing safety glasses, we are imposing additional risks on the wearer – so we had better have a really excellent reason for forcing this increased risk on ALL our staff in our industrial plants.
“It i s infinitely better to simply wear safety glasses where there i s an actual risk to the eyes. When worn under earmuffs the glasses prevent the earmuffs from doing their job, thereby exposing us to real hearing damage over time, whilst looking like we are ‘ being safe’. You get the idea?’ said Robinson. He added “everything here has happened to me.”
“Don’t get us wrong”, he said, “at MESNZ, we are all for keeping people in plants safe and healthy – but we achieve far better results by using simple logic and keeping it real.”
So, in the test and tag example, portable appliance testing ( PAT) can be done in- house, and it does not have to be carried out by a registered electrician. PAT testers do need to be competent and trained, there needs to be a good standard of record keeping, and if faults are identified during testing or when undertaking pre- use checks, any unsafe appliances need to be taken out of service immediately. This is the standard, simple, basic stuff.
It is a lit tle bit like a pilot checking the aircraft before f light – just because the plane was checked yesterday doesn’t mean it is safe to f ly today. An extension lead unknowingly damaged this morning ( but still with a current Tag on it) could kill you this afternoon if the user does not give it a five- second check for obvious damage before use.
A company that just gets its gear tested and tagged every six months looks like it is doing a great job of H&S, but unless it also has RCD’s and does pre- use checks, the users are lulled into a false sense of security. It is just lip service with no staff engagement in real health and safety.
DON’T PUT UP WITH B SIN H& S!
Come to the MESNZ’s National Maintenance Engineering Conference in Hamilton this November 15 & 16, and learn of many other things that you don’t have to waste your precious resources on (www.nmec.co.nz).
Have your eyes opened by the enlightening presentation ‘ The Emperor is wearing Fluoro Clothes’.
Take the learnings back to your plant and benefit from immediate increases in staff H&S engagement and workplace safety.