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Why Worker Health and Safety Participation Is Essential

A manager explaining workplace safety to his team Having workers participate in your health and safety programme while instilling a few simple day-to-day habits can greatly reduce risks at warehouse and business sites, as this WorkSafe New Zealand case study shows.

At Upper-Hutt based Real Steel, keeping the working environment safe for everyone is not a list of precautions posted on the wall. It involves each and every one of their 33 employees, and a few simple work habits.

Whiteboard Culture

Inspired by visiting Health and Safety Managers, Production Manager Charlie Davidson introduced a whiteboard best practise. This simple, straightforward tool has helped keep the focus on flagged issues on site and resolving them.

For example, the need for a safe and secure storage system should be addressed immediately.  In New Zealand, cantilever storage racking systems can help place bulky items since the arms can be adjusted to fit different heights and loads.  Workers can store these safely.

Engaging Workers, Awarding Vigilance

When Health and Safety legislation changes came into effect, management engaged workers in drawing up a list of ‘top ten risks’. Number one on the list was the high number of incidents where cranes dropped steel plates. Now their goal is to achieve zero plate drops.

By awarding individuals every quarter, the company recognises the responsibility of every individual when it comes to Health and Safety issues, not just the management and key personnel. It also encourages employees to raise concerns and suggest improvements with fellow colleagues. It could be as simple as a reminder not to manually lift anything that weighs more than 25kg.

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Too much happens in a warehouse or business work area throughout a typical day. Anything can start a chain reaction leading to an incident – a loose rivet, a dozing forklift driver, and so on. How do you manage the risks? You can get the best cantilever racking in New Zealand, and your production manager can check every detail on site every other hour. Or, you can increase risk visibility by getting every employee involved.

  • Posted on April 27, 2017