We are all for health and safety here at Contrafed so please read Netta Burnside’s comment with a grain of salt, as the old folks used to say, or don’t take it too literally.
Netta may have written tongue-in-cheek but many of us share her view that when it comes to health and safety issues we don’t want a remedy (or a new industry) that makes the workplace impossible to function. I have said this before: our workplace safety issues are really cultural issues and we are not a risk averse culture. You only have to look at ACC stats to see we are, by nature, a reckless lot. It is not going to make us less reckless by just concentrating on the workplace. I personally think there is now a general lack of discipline in our society created through a quixotical pursuit of libertarian rights and political correctness. We are becoming a ‘fool’s paradise’. Our tolerance of youthful drunkenness and boorish delinquency under the Bill of Rights, for instance, just makes a mockery of expecting the same folks to turn up at work and behave themselves.
On a more industry focus we have two perspectives in this issue on new regulations that came into force in December last year. Les McCracken, CEO of MinEx – the Mining Industry Safety Council, covers mining under those these regulations, while Andy Loader looks at them from a quarrying perspective.
Les also answers a couple of questions I proposed in my last editorial on recorded quarry accidents. As he explains in his piece, his statistics were obtained by the AQA from MBIE in May of 2013.
“I think that the debate around the statistics presented demonstrates that some operators in the mining and quarry sectors need to examine their own commitment to the health and safety of their employees,” he says. “The take-home message is that we as a sector have work to do to improve our performance in health and safety to meet both New Zealand industry and mining and quarrying industry goals: a reduction of workplace deaths to zero by 2020; and a 25 percent reduction in workplace serious injury rates by 2020.” Fair enough, and wouldn’t that be a great mission for the country as a whole? Meantime, if any of you readers would like to contribute a comment piece for this magzine, please don’t hesitate to contact me and talk it over. We are always looking for reflections on our industry.
Keep on digging for a better future.
Alan Titchall, Editor