WorkSafe New Zealand estimates that deaths, accidents and illness in the workplace cost New Zealand close to $3.5 billion per year. The Ministry of Businesses, Innovation and Employment says that between 700 and 1,000 workers die because of work-related diseases every year. Roughly, 30 percent of those deaths are cancer. In addition, some 17,000+ new cases of work-related diseases appear each year.
- There are about 100 deaths from work-related injuries each year.
- Most deaths are a result of motor-vehicle accidents, machinery-related incidents, falling objects or people falling.
- Every year 200,000 on-the-job injuries occur, with the manufacturing industry taking the top slot for the number of work-related injuries.
To help reduce the number of accidents, deaths and injuries in the workplace, WorkSafe NZ have introduced a new “Safety Star Rating Scheme”. This plan will tie in with other protocols to help meet the government’s goal of a 25 percent reduction in deaths and injuries in the workplace by 2020.
What is the proposed Safety Star Rating Scheme (SSRS)?
The purpose of the Safety Star Rating Scheme is to provide businesses with an opportunity to get an independent assessment of their safety and health practices. The system is ideal for medium to large businesses (which make up about 80 percent of the workforce and 68 percent of all accidents, illnesses and deaths in the workplace.)
While participation in the full program may be too expensive for some businesses, particularly small businesses, the proposed program will allow for partial participation in the pilot phase. This means that a company could participate in the self-assessment stage and go no further, but still receive information pertinent to improving their health and safety conditions.
This program is not designed for small businesses due to expense, particularly in the maintenance phase. Small business owners are encouraged to look at other products like Workplace Safety Discount, Safer Farms, and Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter for options that would work best with their company.
The Safety Star Rating Scheme specifically targets high-risk industries like construction and manufacturing for maximum impact. By focusing on larger companies in high-risk industries, the scheme can effectively reduce the number of workplace related accidents, illnesses and deaths while maintaining high standards and comprehensive assessment tactics.
What are the standards in the Safety Star Rating Scheme?
The proposed program will focus on several different standards including:
Risk Management: Risk management will identify risks in the workplace, assess each risk, identify how to control risks, monitor controls and provide regular reviews of risk management in the workplace. Companies will be required to show that they understand the risks inherent in their field and demonstrate how they access each risk, and control health and safety risks.
Leadership and Engagement: This standard will focus on ensuring that leadership has the skills and qualifications to do their job. All employees should be able to complete the job requirements safely. Companies will also demonstrate proper licensing and certifications. In addition, they will have to show that the workers are competent.
The scheme consists of a two-part process:
- Self-Assessment: During the initial stages, businesses will complete a self-assessment online before they receive a full assessment. This initial stage helps the business decide whether they are ready to move forward in an attempt to receive a Safety Star rating, or if they could improve before undergoing a full assessment.
- On-site assessment: During this phase, businesses will receive a thorough look at how their company manages risks from the leadership down to the site workers. An assessor will review their self-assessment before visiting the business for interviews with employees at every level. The assessor will review records and observe daily tasks. The assessor will then identify specific risks and follow the process through each stage of the business operation.
Each company will receive feedback about which areas they excel at and suggestions for improving health and safety areas that need attention.
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By Angela Brown for myosh Safety Management Software