GHSL Update October 2017

The Government Health and Safety Lead has been functioning for almost eight weeks now, and we have identified a work plan and resources for 2018 which we are getting feedback on from key stakeholders and health and safety experts.

Over the past eight weeks, Vince Arbuckle has met with nearly all chief executives, heads of health and safety, many tier 2 deputies with responsibilities for health and safety and all major stakeholders. The support for the establishment of the functional lead in this area has been very strong.

Our Practitioner’s Advisory Group and our Expert Advisory Panel have had their first meetings and have agreed their Terms of Reference and provided us with some good feedback on the work plan.

Our Expert Advisory Panel is made up of some of New Zealand’s leading companies such as Air New Zealand and Fonterra, leading academic institutions like AUT, as well as several unions. They bring a different and external perspective to the health and safety discussion, and I am very pleased they are on board with what we are doing across the public sector.

The Senior Stakeholders Group is meeting on 13 October, and the first Chief Executive’s Leadership Group meeting will be on 1 November, where the work plan and strategy for the lead going forward will be agreed.


SafePlus, a new safety performance toolkit, will be launched at the end of this month.

SafePlus is a joint initiative developed by WorkSafe New Zealand, ACC and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

As a sector we will be encouraging all agencies to adopt SafePlus. There are three different levels of service available; from free guides and resources and online self-assessment, through to an in-depth independent onsite assessment and advisory service. Agencies’ engagement with SafePlus will depend on their size and the nature of their particular risks

We are putting together some session times in November for practitioners and managers responsible for health and safety to learn more about SafePlus and how it will benefit the sector as a whole. Keep an eye out for invitations to the sessions – it will be well worth attending.

Physical Security

The Physical Security Knowledge Base is planned to go live in October.

The Knowledge Base will provide shared access to good practice guides for those interested in improving physical security across government service delivery areas. This is an important area of focus particularly for those agencies that provide client services; the balance of physical security and customer service is critical to the work many government staff carry out.

The Government Health and Safety Lead will have oversight of the Knowledge Bank and will continue to grow the range of resources and guides available to agencies, reflecting best practice and emergent sector risks.

We are also working on a guide for government staff which lays out some practical steps you can take to maintain your personal security. This guide will be available at the end of October on the Knowledge Bank.

Brokering advice and support

In the relatively short time that we have ben operating, we have begun to assist agencies to connect with each other to access resources and share good practice.

We’ve also helped agencies to promote vacancies and new roles.

This brokering and advice service will continue as part of the 2018 work programme. If there are any ways that you feel we can practically assist you in these or other ways, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing us at

Summer intern programme

We have had a great response to our Health and Safety Intern Programme, with ten agencies agreeing to take on an intern, and over 70 applicants

Applications closed last Friday. To streamline and simplify the process we will pre-screen all applicants via telephone interviews, and then hold panel interviews with a selection of preferred applicants.

Each agency will then be provided with a summary of the interviews and candidates to choose their preferred interns from. The interns will start their employment on 27 November.

Health and safety sessions 17 October

On 17 October we are running two sessions for chief executives and health and safety practitioners.

Our original guest speaker, John Green from Laing O’Rourke, is unexpectedly needed in the UK at the time of the conference. Steve Carden, CEO Landcorp will speak at the chief executive session about changing the company’s health and safety culture after three workplace fatalities in six months. Francois Barton from the Business Leaders Health and Safety Forum will speak about Safety II at the practitioner’s session, followed by talks from four agencies showcasing initiatives that have shown good results.

We still have spaces available for the practitioner’s session; if you haven’t already RSVP’d contact Please feel free to pass this onto any of your colleagues who may find this session relevant.