A VOLUNTARY PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT TOOLKIT
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.