With the Health and Safety at Work Act coming into effect in April 2016, owners and employers of quarries and mines need to start turning their minds to how to best respond to the more onerous legal requirements, says CS-VUE’s WAYNE FISHER.
After spending over a decade helping local government, big infrastructure players and heavy industry manage and track their resource consents, Auckland-based software company CS-VUE is now turning its expertise to designing the same sectors world-leading health and safety software.
“CS-VUE is just responding to legislative change and providing the tools to manage it,” says CS-VUE general manager Wayne Fisher.
“Our environmental compliance software was a direct result of the Resource Management Act and to help some big entities manage their significant and often ongoing air, land or water consents.
“We’re now gearing up again, but this time on another front and one that sees the quarrying and mining sector under increasing scrutiny and pressure to get their processes right and ensure watertight compliance.”
CS-VUE was set up in 2004 when environmental consultancy Andrew Stewart Group was engaged by the Auckland City Council to devise some software to better manage the former council’s stormwater and environmental compliance activities.
Eleven years on and its existing quarrying and mining clients include Winstone Aggregates Perry Resources, and Oceanagold. Fertiliser giant Ravensdown is also on its books as is Meridian Energy, and Mighty River Power. The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association is one of its more quirky clients, says Fisher.
“Almost all of the environmental compliance clients we’ve picked up over the past decade, we’ve retained. They just pay an annual service fee and can forget about having staff trying to keep on top of a number of spreadsheets and hardcopy documents.
“What’s more being electronic and automated, there is a lot less opportunity for human error. One slip up resulting in a breach or negligence can seriously affect these big organisations’ bottom lines and corporate reputations. It also keeps the regulatory bodies happy by creating a comprehensive and lengthy audit trail.”
In anticipation of the Health and Safety Reform Bill being passed into law possibly by the end of this year, CS-VUE’s recently developed health and safety application is now being actively piloted and refined out in the field.
The new legislation will place greater obligation on those in the work environment who create and manage risk, put greater emphasis on understanding and compliance obligations, and introduce a more effective enforcement regime.
For CS-VUE the increased accountability and the drive to mitigate business and personal exposure will lead to a big upswing in compliance reporting and risk management around health and safety.
Fisher says if an accident does occur, having a comprehensive tracking system, and proof that employers have done all they can to identify, manage and eliminate risk, will certainly help with any inevitable investigation and potential litigation. The software will also enable the likes of quarries and mines to notify WorkSafe if there is an incident.
He says having workplaces understand and more actively manage their risks is long overdue given our country has a “pretty dreadful” record for workplace accidents.
“It will potentially deliver massive fines and or imprisonment on those found guilty of putting employees at risk without the appropriate training, safety gear, knowledge of hazards and for not carrying out proper risk assessments. So there’s a lot at stake.”
Fisher claims CS-VUE has little in the way of direct competition in the environmental marketplace and says what also sets it apart is the fact that the software has been developed and designed by industry experts for the industry.
“Our challenge now is to deliver some first-class health and safety risk management software out into the marketplace. It’s all about enabling businesses to not only identify and track, but actually help minimise and eliminate risks or hazards in the workplace.”