Spotlight on IRD Health and Safety Reps for World Day for Health and Safety 2024

On 28 April every year, The International Labour Organisation (a specialised agency of the United Nations) celebrates World Day for Safety and Health at Work. This day encourages us to focus our attention of the fundamental right to health and safety that employed individuals around the world should be shown.

In New Zealand, employers’ responsibilities to workplace health and safety are bound by legislation known as the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 2015. This replaced the Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995. Sections of HSWA refer to worker engagement, representation, and participation.

One way of providing this opportunity in an organisation is having Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs).

How does IR keep their people safe and healthy?

At the Inland Revenue (IR), they have representatives covering all their sites and workgroups across the motu, acting as advocates for all employees and offering advice on site-based health and safety matters.  HSRs are both trained and elected and show leadership in taking up a shared responsibility for health and safety within the organisation.

HSRs display the IR values which are Te Pou o te Tangata behaviours of Whanaungatanga, Manaakitanga, and Mahi Tika, working closely with their sites as part of their local health and safety committees.


What appeals to them about being a HS Rep?

Two of IRD's HSRs, Maarten Bazuin (Palmerston North) and Suzie Allum (Asteron) explain what it means to them to be a HSR.

Maarten chose to become a HSRs as he has always been passionate about helping those around him be happier and healthier in any possible way. He feels that HSRs are of utmost importance because they ‘observe where potential hazards might exist in the workplace that employers have not yet picked up on and encourage employees to use safe work practices’.

For Maarten, the most integral aspect of health and safety is an employee’s happiness. He expresses, ‘it has been proven that safe work environments tend to make employees feel happier, and this is significantly important to me’. He discusses that above all, whatever work you do, you want to be able to go home at the end of the workday safe and healthy and able to spend time with your loved ones. 

It was Suzie’s passion about the health and wellbeing of others that led her to become a HSR. The opportunity to be a HSR meant she has been able to learn practical actions that ensure she can influence the health, safety, and wellbeing of those around her. The most important aspect of health and safety for Suzie is creating an environment where IRs people as well as visitors and customers, are safe from harm and danger.

Suzie states that ‘HSRs connect and engage with staff across the organisation, helping to support staff who raise issues and concerns and escalate these where necessary’.  They ‘give staff a voice in raising any issues which enhances their feelings of being valued’.

Attending the Early in Careers Health and Safety Certificate?

Maarten and Suzie have both recently completed the Government Health and Safety Lead (GHSL) ‘Early in Careers’ health and safety training programme, to further developing their existing skillsets that they bring to IR as HSRs.

Maarten felt that after completing the training he now better understands areas we need to be aware of regarding health and safety and how to manage them. He also stated, "Employees and employers should exchange information and ideas about risks to health and safety, and measures that can be taken to eliminate or reduce those risks".

Picture of Nick Tomlin and Maarten Bazuin being presented a certificate

Nick Tomlin, HS Manager, Inland Revenue with Maarten Bazuin