News Article

latest news in employment law


Published 01 Jul 2010

Let's Look At The Employees' Side
Being an employer brings on a raft of responsibilities. But if employers did not present the hazards of machinery, vehicles, the tools plus dangerous tasks and hazardous environments - then no employee would ever suffer work related injuries or require time off as a result. If we look at it in this light there are several points that arise.
  1. Five days sick leave might be considered ridiculously cheap given that some injured employees don't ever walk again. The accumulation after 4 years to 20 days sick leave won't bring a great sense of relief to the new paraplegic.
  2. Farmers trade the warranty of the new four wheel drive Quad bike for the life and limbs of employees because they fail to fit roll bars. The warranty is probably worth $2000.00 so the value of saving the warranty but risking a life might be considered unreasonable by a District Court Judge. In fact, one can rely on it.
  3. Great efficiencies and lower costs (therefore better profits) can often be gained by removing safety guards, barriers, signs, cutting corners or by encouraging bad practices. Often though, it is the person being paid to complete the tasks who pays the real price.
  4. Chances are the business will endure. People don't.
Several Reasons To Comply
There will be a significant drop in injury time off work (lost time), therefore a better continuity in production and efficiencies within the running of the business. This results in better profitability and easier management. While this benefit is difficult to quantify accurately, a reasonable figure can be readily ascertained through the statistics available on the time lost through injury of your particular industry.

The business will have a defence in place if an accident occurs and the manager or owner is less likely to be successfully prosecuted thereby saving stress, time and money.

ACC premiums can be reduced dramatically (from 10% up to 90%) with ACC accreditation approval. The savings in premiums are significant.

Occupational Safety & Health systems and procedures assist in preventing accidents thus saving employees from the pain & suffering of the injury. This acts as a nurturing benefit to the employment relationship because it evidences the employer cares.

When managers & directors realise they are personally liable for OSH programmes & accidents and then the programmes are implemented, the manager & director will be far more comfortable rather than considering a resignation and not having to fight for their personal wealth to be protected.

Why We Don't Do It ? (The Procrastinator's Club)
Most business owners and managers cannot complete OSH compliance alone. This is because it is not only daunting – it is comprehensive - and they do not have the resources or the time. They are totally immersed in other priorities; like financial survival.

Another reason we put OSH compliance off is the fear costs might interrupt cash flow (and we're already struggling anyway).

Most managers are unaware they can be held liable personally – unaware they can be fined $500,000 and have to pay awards & costs. Company directors are exposed to this as well. The liability is personal.

One main reason to put OSH compliance off is where the business doesn't have an issue on right now. Extending this situation is the reality of three different scenarios.
  1. If a company has put a comprehensive OSH programme in place but doesn't need to defend a prosecution - then things are fine.
  2. The second scenario contemplates the situation of the company who has no OSH programme at all and doesn't need to defend a case - that's fine too.
  3. But where a business has little or no OSH compliance in place, the third scenario becomes very ugly.
Given that business is about managing risk, then to not manage OSH creates an exposure to losing the business and the personal house. This evidences bad management and the risks are increasing.

It is illegal to engage Contractors who cannot prove OSH compliance and contractors that you use can have the systems implemented at the same time. The costs can then be shared and the discounts will be available. Help For Managers, Directors & Owners
Those managers and directors who would like help to put a case to their employers or the board to investigate what is on offer and why the business should comply See our OSH products and services