A new tool avail­able to busi­nesses to en­hance the health and safety of your work­place is SafePlus, a Gov­ern­ment de­vel­oped and en­dorsed health and safety toolkit which was launched in Novem­ber last year.

SafePlus pro­gramme man­ager Mal­colm MacMil­lan said at the launch that New Zealand has an un­nec­es­sar­ily high rate of se­ri­ous work­place ac­ci­dents.

“The so­cial and eco­nomic cost of this in New Zealand work­places is con­ser­va­tively es­ti­mated at $3.5 bil­lion each year and in­flicts an enor­mous emo­tional toll on the peo­ple af­fected. We need a change in our work­place health and safety cul­ture and SafePlus pro­vides an im­por­tant toolkit to achieve that change.”

The toolkit cur­rently con­sists of three prod­ucts: Re­sources and Guid­ance, the mar­ket de­liv­ered On­site As­sess­ment and Ad­vi­sory Ser­vice and the On­line Self-As­sess­ment Tool.

MacMil­lan said it digs deep into a busi­ness to as­sess work­ers’ prac­tices, be­hav­iours, at­ti­tudes and cul­ture to­wards health and safety. “This be­havioural ap­proach helps them iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties and strive for ex­cel­lence.”

Jess Maccagno, the se­nior com­mu­ni­ca­tions and en­gage­ment ad­vi­sor at Safeplus, told Man­age­ment that the tool has a unique mar­ket­ing propo­si­tion in that it is a joint agency ini­tia­tive between Work­Safe, ACC and Min­istry of Busi­ness In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment. Busi­nesses can feel as­sured they are in­vest­ing in the right places with a Gov­ern­ment en­dorsed ini­tia­tive.

It also of­fers a new ap­proach for busi­ness to help to im­prove their health and safety out­comes by show­ing them how to im­prove the cul­ture of the busi­ness from the top down.

The web­site ex­plains that it is dif­fer­ent from other prod­ucts on the mar­ket in that it is a vol­un­tary per­for­mance im­prove­ment toolkit. “Its pri­mary value is the qual­i­fied, in­de­pen­dent ad­vice and guid­ance to busi­nesses to sup­port their con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment. It uses a be­havioural eval­u­a­tive as­sess­ment with a heavy fo­cus on ob­ser­va­tion and in­ter­views with work­ers.”

Maccagno says SafePlus cur­rently has 45 ac­cred­ited as­ses­sors around New Zealand and stresses they in­ter­view and ob­serve right across the busi­ness, not just within se­nior man­age­ment teams, to as­sess how ro­bust health and safety prac­tices are.

It’s seen as a cred­i­ble, na­tion­ally recog­nised and au­thor­i­ta­tive def­i­ni­tion of what good health and safety looks like – over and above min­i­mum le­gal com­pli­ance – and pro­vides ad­vice and guid­ance on how to im­prove. It can pro­vide a busi­ness with tai­lored rec­om­men­da­tions on what it needs to do to im­prove and tai­lored ad­vice and best prac­tice guid­ance on how an or­gan­i­sa­tion can im­ple­ment these rec­om­men­da­tions.

Be­cause the SafePlus On­site As­sess­ment and Ad­vi­sory Ser­vice uses a be­havioural based ap­proach SafePlus says it is dif­fer­ent from a num­ber of other prod­ucts that look at doc­u­ment man­age­ment sys­tems and pri­mar­ily fo­cus on writ­ten poli­cies and pro­ce­dures.

“Even in the best of busi­nesses there is al­ways some­thing new they can do to im­prove work­place health and safety,” says Maccagno.

If on­site as­sess­ment is too ex­ten­sive for smaller busi­ness she says a free on­line self-as­sess­ment tool will be avail­able by mid year. It iden­ti­fies gaps in health and safety; aware­ness of is­sues and takes 360-de­gree in­put from man­agers, work­ers and con­trac­tors. It also of­fers ad­vice and guid­ance on how and where to im­prove.

Maccagno says that as more busi­nesses use the on­line tool, it gath­ers more and more in­tel­li­gence, so busi­nesses can use it to bench­mark them­selves against other busi­nesses.

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