GHSL Update October 2018

Mental health has been a major area of focus for the public sector this year, following the sector conference on 28 August and culminating in Mental Health Week, 8-14 October. You can find more about the conference and sector resources here.

With 1 in 5 New Zealanders experiencing mental illness in any given year*, this topic is vitally important in the workplace. This year there’s been a noticeable increase in awareness and initiatives around mental health and wellbeing. If you missed our coverage of what some of the agencies did for MHAW you can check it out on our news page.

Work programme 2019

We have just finished consulting over our 2019 work programme. This is for a six month period to 30 June 2019.

The work programme has a particular focus on activities that create long-term, sustainable change in the sector.

Instead of seven areas of focus, we have refined our work programme to six areas of concentration. Areas that we feel have a good base for agencies to take the reigns have made way for new areas of focus, such as health and safety in social sector Not-for-Profit Agencies, leadership competencies, home worker guidelines and driving.

Work programme to 30 June 2019

We have also released a summary of our progress against our 2018 work programme, which you can also view on our website. [PDF, 506 KB]

Review of functional lead

The original mandate from the State Services Commission was for the GHSL to run through to 30 June 2019. We are looking at a targeted assessment of the sector’s health and safety system capability to be undertaken in early 2019. This assessment will inform a fuller review of the GHSL’s mandate and role prior to the end date of 30 June 2019.

Move to Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)

The Government Health and Safety Lead will be moving to MPI, as Ray Smith takes up his role as Chief Executive.

Vince Arbuckle, Deputy Chief Executive Government Health and Safety Lead, will move to MPI in November, and operate between MPI and Corrections until the rest of the team moves into MPI’s new building in January 2019.

For now, administrative support for the GHSL will continue to run out the Department of Corrections, meaning that email addresses, the website etc will remain the same.

Offsite safety services

In late 2016, ACC went out to market and put together a list of offsite safety services. The services aim to mitigate, as far as practicable, the risk of harm to agency workers while carrying out agency business off-site, and make it possible to identify exactly where staff are located in the event that assistance is required.

This is an open syndicated contract with a term of 3+2+2 years.

The services in scope for offsite safety services include:

  • personal mobile duress alarm solutions for use by agency workers carrying out business off-site, including travelling
  • a monitoring service to field alarm activations and take the necessary steps to initiate an emergency response (or optionally the ability for agencies to self-monitor)
  • assistance to implement the solution, e.g. integrate it with other IT systems
  • training on the equipment, either to end-users or on a ‘train the trainer’ basis
  • the ability for agencies to select more than one solution to meet their needs
  • the ability for agencies to conduct low volume trials prior to committing to volume purchase.

If you would like to know more about the offsite safety services read the buyer’s guide [PDF, 992 KB].

Remote Working Guide

Many agencies have workers who work remotely regularly or from time to time. A Good Practice Guide has been developed for agencies to use a reference point when setting policies and processes to ensure the safety of remote workers.

Treasury Guidance for Annual Reports

In July, the Treasury released its annual guidance on End-of-Year reporting and Annual Reports. The guidance covers both Crown Entities and Departments.  This year the guidance has been updated to include reference to health and safety reporting.  You can find the guidance on Treasury’s website.

Crown Entities(external link)

Departments(external link)

Health and Safety Summer Intern Programme 2018/19

This is our second year running the Health and Safety Summer Intern Programme.

Last year, nine interns were placed with nine agencies. This year, 22 interns are being placed with 21 agencies.

In addition to public service agencies, several agencies from the wider state sector are taking part, such as WorkSafe New Zealand, Transpower New Zealand, the Environmental Protection Agency and New Zealand Post.

The interns will have an induction on 26 November, and will then work with their agencies over the summer. During this time they will also take part in off-site agency visits to gain a view on the wide range of work places and risks associated with the public service and state sector.

The photos on the right show the 'speed dating' style interviews we recently ran for applicants to the programme, as well as Ellie Rowe, who completed the intern programme last year speaking to the applicants.

Field Trips

On 6 November, the first in a series of ‘field trips’ to different agencies will take place at the Department of Corrections’ National Learning Centre (NLC).

At the NLC, attendees will take part in discussions on mitigating the risks of offender violence, building design, training and tactical framework. They will also be introduced to trained instructors who will describe and demonstrate tools used by staff members such as on-body cameras.

The field trips will give interested health and safety professionals a broad view of how different organisations manage their critical risks. The next trip is being planned for early 2019.

Study Grant (closes 31 October)

There are still a few days left to apply for the Public Sector OHS Professional Development Study Grant.

The Study Grant will fund tuition fees and/or associated costs up to the total value of $5,000 across 2019 and 2020 for a student who has been accepted into the Postgraduate Diploma in Workplace Health and Safety at Victoria University of Wellington. It is open to anyone who wants to further their knowledge capability of OHS within the public sector.

Applications close 31 October.

Safeguard free trial

Thomson Reuters, publisher of Safeguard magazine and Safeguard Update newsletter, is offering all members of the Government Health and Safety Lead a free trial of Safeguard Update – New Zealand’s fortnightly  update of health and safety. People on the trial will receive the newsletter via email every Monday for four weeks, and a recent print edition.

If you would like to continue to subscribe after the trial preferential subscription rates are being made available.

Click here to request your free trial or free sample of the hard copy magazine.(external link)

There is also a new, free Safeguard online Forum(external link) for anyone interested in health and safety in NZ to connect and share ideas all over the country.

*Ministry of Health