GHSL Update June 2020


GHSL Update - June 2020


The work done last year to review and extend the GHSL function and develop a Four Year Plan [PDF, 45 KB] has set a clear pathway and we have been steadily making progress towards these longer-term outcomes, particularly our five key focus areas including:


  1. Harm reduction – focus on common critical risks
  2. Building health and safety capability
  3. Helping lift sector performance and maturity
  4. Sector initiatives - proving benefits or results if driven at a sector level
  5. Positive and safe workplaces – supporting the Positive Workplace Cultures programme led by Ray Smith and Rebecca Kitteridge.


This update includes some recent achievements and information on upcoming new initiatives. It also includes information on 2020/21 GHSL agency contributions.

Included in this update:

  • Recent Achievements
  • COVID-19 support and guidance
  • GHSL Summer Intern Programme and NEW Graduate Programme for 2021
  • NEW Officer Development Programme
  • NEW De-escalation training
  • Health and Safety Representative of the Year Awards
  • New Sector Performance Dashboard
  • 2020/21 GHSL Fees and Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum (BLHSF) Fees
  • Looking forward – upcoming events


Recent Achievements

Below are some of our recent achievements (since the October 2019 Year Two Report );

  • HARM REDUCTION: Established a Social Sector Forum, running workshops for social sector operational and HR leaders and the PSA to jointly work on managing the risk of violence and aggression towards staff.
  • HARM REDUCTION: Ran workshops for agency health and safety leaders focused on mental health and wellness, identifying gaps and opportunities across the sector. Work is now underway to scope guidance and/or resources to support psychosocial risk management.
  • CAPABILITY: Ran bi-monthly forums for Heads of Health and Safety, small and medium-sized agency DCE’s and Health and Safety Practitioners, addressing common health and safety risks and issues and promoting sharing and collaboration. These forums moved online in March and are now supported by a Yammer network.
  • CAPABILITY: Ran our third annual Summer Intern Programme from November to February, exposing 20 more interns to government health and safety. From this cohort seven interns are now employed in the public sector (six in health and safety), and one in a private sector health and safety role.
  • PERFORMANCE: Continued to promote Safe Plus across the sector. 10 agencies have now completed the full (on site) assessment and eight have completed the online assessment.
  • SECTOR INITIATIVES: Released new Working from Home agency guidance with input from the PSR, Privacy functional lead and WorkSafe, incorporating health, safety, security and privacy considerations.
  • POSITIVE AND SAFE WORKPLACES: Launched the Positive Workplace Cultures Programme at an event at Parliament in December. An agency planning workbook and change framework was also released at the event.


COVID-19 support and guidance

During COVID-19 the GHSL has worked to provide agencies with support, advice and guidance, and to facilitate connections with health and safety leaders and practitioners by moving forums online and creating a new Yammer network. We’ve facilitated specific COVID-19 forums and have released agency guidance, including:

  • Working from home during COVID-19
  • Mental health at work during COVID-19
  • Transitioning to Alert Level 3
  • Preparing for Alert Level 2
  • Alert Level 1 information for agencies


We have also released more comprehensive working from home guidance for agencies that includes health, safety, privacy and security considerations.

These guides and any future COVID-19 related resources are located on our website.


GHSL Summer Intern Programme and NEW Graduate Programme for 2021

We have been taking agency expressions of interest for our fourth annual summer intern programme, to run from Nov 2020 to Feb 2021.

We are also taking agency expressions of interest for our inaugural Graduate Development Programme. This will be an 18-month programme for recent graduates of occupational health or equivalent, to start in March 2021.

Agency expressions of interest for both programmes were requested by 22nd May so if you have missed this deadline but still wish to participate, please let us know. 3


NEW Officer Development Programme

Work has been underway since late last year to develop a programme specifically for public sector executives who have officer responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. The COVID-19 workload has pushed the programme back slightly, but we are expecting to promote our pilot course shortly.

Now planned to start in August, the programme will include a series of modules, to be delivered 6-8 weeks apart. Final details are still under development however we are happy to receive expressions of interest early, so if you or others in your agency are relatively new to health and safety governance, or could benefit from a refresher, please contact us to discuss whether this programme might be right for you.


NEW De-escalation training

During our social sector forum workshops we identified tactical communication (de-escalation) training as an effective control in preventing an incident of verbal abuse escalating to physical assault. The GHSL has partnered with WorkSafe Reps to develop an online (webinar) de-escalation training package using a mix of content provided to us by agencies who already deliver this training, including MBIE, MPI, Justice, Education, MSD and Corrections.

The first (pilot) programme ran on 9 June and we received excellent feedback. We have worked with WorkSafe Reps to schedule two more courses and they are available to facilitate more courses as required (open or tailored for specific agencies). These are available to GHSL member agencies at a reduced rate of only $150 per person for the 3.5-hour course.


Health and Safety Representative of the Year Awards

Our annual Health and Safety Representatives’ (HSR) conference planned for 1 April was postponed and is now cancelled due to restrictions on gatherings and travel. We will however proceed with our HSR of the Year Awards – these will be presented locally and shared via email and our website. We will be in touch with relevant agency contacts to arrange presentations for the six finalists and overall winner.


New Sector Performance Dashboard

We are working to develop our first annual performance dashboard for the sector to include a range of measures and indicators that will help to benchmark and report on sector performance and maturity, health and safety capability, senior leadership engagement, health and wellbeing and serious injury rates.

Each agency has recently been asked to provide information to support the development of this dashboard and your cooperation with this is greatly appreciated. This will supplement information provided by ACC and WorkSafe NZ. 


2020/21 GHSL Fees and Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum (BLHSF) Fees

Ray Smith wrote to all agency chief executives on 9 June confirming that GHSL agency contributions for 2020/21 will be 20% lower than the last two years. This savings has been achieved by transferring over savings from the cancelled 2020 H&S Representatives’ Conference and cancelling conferences for 2020/21. The letter also advised that fees for BHSLF will no longer be managed via the GHSL. The BHSLF will contact Chief Executives to discuss direct membership.

Invoices will be processed via MPI in July.


Looking forward – upcoming events

  • Heads of health and safety – 18 June
  • Small and medium-sized agency forum – 25 June
  • Health and safety practitioners’ forum – 2 July