New member-led health and safety representative group launches after national meeting

March 25, 2022

NZNO health and safety (H&S) representatives will form a national member-led group to build an organising and support network.

Ben Basevi
Ben Basevi

The decision to launch the group was made at a national online meeting of H&S representatives.

Auckland DHB H&S representative Ben Basevi said the decision would see the group aim to provide a member-led NZNO voice “specifically on health and safety in the workplace”.

He said it would:
• Develop and promote workshops for NZNO H&S representatives and delegates in using the Health and Safety at Work Act to improve workplace safety and worker well-being.
• Share experiences and knowledge to develop nationally-consistent approaches, escalations, and strategies under the Act.
• Empower, advise, and support individual H&S representatives when exercising their functions and powers to resolve a workplace H&S matter, under the Act.
• Establish a robust working relationship with the independent regulator WorkSafe, both nationally and regionally.
• Ensure that H&S work is fully supported by fellow NZNO members and staff and is always a collective, member-led effort that builds union power.
• Link up with other union H&S groups.

Advertisement
Enhance Your Career

Pike River law

Last year, H&S laws were used as a tool to improve staffing levels and hospital security in district health boards (DHBs).

The Health and Safety at Work Act was passed in 2015 in response to the Pike River mining disaster. It allowed H&S representatives to issue provisional improvement notices (PINs) to employers.

The PIN includes a description of a possible breach of the health and safety law and could include possible remedies and a fix-by date.

At the time, Basevi said the notices pushed management to deal with problems as under the law, the DHB board, the CEO and senior officers were legally accountable for any problems.

Rather than dealing with patient safety, the PINs focus specifically on staff safety in the workplace.

Advertisement
Thank you from Summerset

Last year hospital H&S representatives issued PINs in Auckland, Wellington and Palmerston North hospitals. The incidents covered staff security and low staffing numbers.

Now, Basevi said the first step in establishing the new group would be to connect via a national NZNO WhatsApp group, “which is now in place”.

At the time, Basevi said the notices pushed management to deal with problems as under the law, the DHB board, the CEO and senior officers were legally accountable for any problems.

“All NZNO health and safety representatives are invited and encouraged to join the national NZNO health and safety representative WhatsApp group.”

Basevi said the group aimed to set up a single source for members to access health and safety documentation including downloadable templates and/or forms such as a letter of recommendation, request for information, and PINs.

Advertisement
Capital and Coast DHB

The group would aim to provide copies of issued PINs with a brief commentary of how that PIN was progressed – or not.

Representatives would seek formal NZNO recognition as a group with a home under the NZNO umbrella, he said.

NZNO health and safety representatives can apply to join the WhatsApp group by emailing John.Howell@nzno.org.nz.
Enter the email subject as: Application – NZNO HSR WhatsApp
Please provide your NZNO membership number and your mobile phone number.