Myths about the NEW Health and Safety Law
With little over 5 months away April the 4th is coming around quick (psst that's the date the Health and Safety Reform Bill will come into effect) and there are still so many of you that don't know myth from truth.
Because we care, here are six myths we've heard and busted just for you.
6 myths about the new Health and Safety law
- The new law won't apply to small businesses
- Some people think it's been so watered down so much that small businesses won't be included in the new law, that is false! All businesses in New Zealand, no matter what size are included in the law. Now a big business may have a few more things to do compared to a small business but no matter what you are, all businesses have got to do whatever they can to keep people safe.
- Does this mean you have to hire an expensive safety consultant for your small business? Not at all. What you need to have is well thought out safety plans for the big risks in your business and have an environment where people think safety is important.
- Paper cuts are now a big deal
- "The new law is going to make every injury the same level of seriousness, so when people handle paper they have to wear gloves in case they get a paper cut and other crazy things like that." That is well and truly false. The new law talks about dealing with risk, with a focus on finding your big risks and taking practical steps to manage them.
- So while paper cuts may be still be a risk, is it a big risk? If it's frequently causing some pretty bad cuts then maybe, but that's unlikely. Find your big risks, the things that could really hurt people, that's what you need to focus on.
- It will be expensive to comply
- To make sure you are following the law you are going to have to spend a lot of money. Again, that's false. You could spend lots of money if you wanted or you could get your staff together and talk with them about the things that will keep people safe. Talk about the big risks, get their suggestions and create some practical safety plans, that's really easy and is almost free!
- I need to sort all my safety stuff now or I will get fined lots of money!
- Work safe are coming and if they see you haven't done everything to do with safety then they will fine you and take all your money! Definitely false. High fines only come into play if you recklessly or persistently don't do things safely or have no safety plans.
- If you don't fall into those categories then don't panic. But if you have no safety pans, then maybe start using PeopleSafe, find the big risks and then with your staff create some safety plans. You don't have to do everything at once, just start doing something.
- If someone gets hurt in my business, I'm going to jail
- If someone gets hurt, no matter what it is you are getting fined and going to jail. You guessed it, false. Big fines and prison are for pretty extreme cases where safety measures have intentionally been ignored and someone has died or gotten a fairly serious injury.
- For example, if WorkSafe comes in and has a look round and says, "this risk over here needs dealing with, here are some tips to help." And then you go, "na, stuff that." and don't do anything, and then someone gets a really bad injury from that then WorkSafe are more likely to hand out some fines or possibly prison if it's super bad.
So listen to what WorkSafe says, create safety plans for risks and don't say "na, stuff that."
- All it means is that there will be lots of paperwork
- More rules and laws just mean more paperwork that I have to do. For the last time, false. Paperwork does not equal managing risks. Safety is not about having filing cabinets full of useless reports and stacks of paper with things that people never read. Safety needs to be practical and part of the work we do.
- Paperwork is only needed if it is the best way to minimise the risks in your business. You may also want to write down and record safety plans so that everyone can read and know what they are. It's also really useful in proving that you are doing things safely in your business. But instead of using paper for that, why not use some cool software called PeopleSafe which makes recording the important things and knowing whats going on really easy.
So there are 6 myths about the new Health and Safety law that are well and truly false. Overall the new/proposed law makes a lot of sense and is not there to catch you out and make your life misery and full of high-vis. It is there to help you be safe in your business so you don't get hurt and so you get home at the end of each day unharmed. After all who doesn't want that?
That's another Workshop Wednesday. See you next week.
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