Tag Archives: employment

Suspending Over Public Misconduct

It has recently been in the media that two DJs at George FM were suspended after allegations were raised that they had ‘slut-shamed’ women on their Breakfast Show. While the conduct of the hosts in question is obviously reprehensible it raises an interesting question of how to balance an employee’s rights, the employer’s obligations and the employer’s desire to manage its image through public relations.

It’s not the first time an issue like this has arisen. In July this year two Ministry of Social Development workers were suspended following a racist tirade after being denied entry to a Taupo bar. In August Waikato District Health Board suspended three employees who refused to have flu shots or to wear masks.

Employers are obviously concerned about protecting their reputation when employees’ potential misconduct becomes public knowledge. However, whilst a public statement strongly condemning an employee’s actions and stating they have been suspended sounds good from a PR perspective, it raises serious issues with rights to fair process from an employment relations perspective.

Suspensions are not to be taken lightly. It should not be the employer’s first instinct to suspend an employee, the presumption should be in favour of the right to work. As a brief summary, the law relating to suspensions is as follows:

  • The suspension should not be punitive.
  • In all but unusual circumstances there must be a contractual provision relating to suspension.
  • The principles of natural justice must be followed, the employee must be given an opportunity to respond to the proposal and feedback must be taken into account.
  • Alternative options to suspension should be considered and put to the employee, such as paid special leave or working from home.
  • If the employee is suspended it should be a paid suspension in all but exceptional circumstances.

Fair process must be followed and the suspension must be justified in the circumstances. By announcing publicly that an employee has been suspended there is potential for significant damage to the employee’s reputation. If the matter is then investigated and the allegations aren’t upheld then the employee would feel justifiably aggrieved, people are likely to apply the adage “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. By announcing the suspension employers also run the risk of potentially showing signs of predetermining the outcome of an investigation.

The question then becomes, what should an employer do in this situation? The best course of action, if an organisation feels that a public statement is necessary, is to state that it takes the matters seriously and that they are being investigated. Saying any more runs the risk of a claim against the organisation for a personal grievance.

With social media becoming so prominent, news of employee misdeeds and misconduct can spread like wildfire, as two employees of a Christchurch insurance company found out when they were photographed and filmed having an after-hours office romp by patrons at a bar next door. Companies can scramble to protect their image and reputation, but the obligations towards employees and their rights must be carefully balanced when making statements to the media.

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BuckettLaw Bowls

Team-building encourages a more productive work environment. Work hard, play hard.

Team Buckett

Team Buckett

Bowlers Up...

Bowlers Up…

 

All smiles

All smiles

 

Winning

Winning

 

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A Weighty Issue

Weight bias and discrimination has the potential to become the new racism. Are you an “obesist”? Or a “fatist” (as they like to call it in my office)?

The reality is that around 1 in 4 New Zealand adults are classified as obese. Obesity is a worldwide epidemic which can have serious consequences for employers and employees. Example: what happens when a job candidate applying to wait tables at your crazy-busy street cafe has stellar credentials, but he is overweight and you worry he won’t be able to keep up with the frantic pace on his feet for 10 hours a day? Can you refuse to hire him because you think he is too large?  obesity

The Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1993 govern the grounds of discrimination in the workplace. “Obesity” is not specifically referred to as a prohibited ground for discrimination, but “disability” is. Thus it begs the question – is obesity a disability? Disability is defined as:

  • physical disability or impairment;
  • physical illness;
  • psychiatric illness;
  • intellectual or psychological disability or impairment;
  • any other loss or abnormality or psychological, physiological, or anatomical structure or function;
  • reliance on a guide dog, wheelchair, or other remedial means;
  • the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing illness.

While obesity may not be a “disability” per se, it may be a significant factor in finding that a person has a disability. Another thought to ponder: what if a person’s obesity is a symptom of a medical condition? Should we distinguish between cause and effect?

The UK judiciary have been faced with some difficult cases recently surrounding obesity issues in the workplace. While they have refused to accept obesity is a disability in its own right, they have concluded that an obese person may be disabled if their obesity has a real impact on their ability to participate in work.

In New Zealand, an employer can specify particular physical characteristics only if those characteristics are essential in order to perform the job satisfactorily, or in order to meet safety requirements. There must be a real and genuine reason for doing so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RISKY BUSINESS

safetyIn the past few months the newspapers have been inundated with stories of workplace accidents where employers have been ordered to fork out tens of thousands in fines and compensation.

  • Canpac was ordered to pay $35,000 to an employee who had lost part of her finger in a slitter machine.
  • Centrelink (Australia) was ordered to pay  compensation to an employee who suffered from an anxiety and depressive disorder after being told she was required to work between the hours of 8am – 4pm Monday-Friday.
  • The Court ordered Wealleans Groundspread Ltd to pay over $100k for failing to protect the safety of workers following the death of an employee who was operating a truck adapted to spread fertiliser.
  • Last year, 51 people were killed in workplace accidents in New Zealand.

Proposed changes to the law

Worksafe New Zealand was established to reduce our workplace injury and death toll by 25% by 2020. The incentive arose from the Pike River disaster, in which 29 of our men perished. The Health and Safety Reform Bill is a much-needed piece of legislation to protect the health and safety of our workers. The Bill allows for greater participation from all workers to get involved in health and safety discussions in the workplace. There will be higher legal requirements placed on managers and company directors to manage risk, and to ensure a safe working environment. At present the penalties for non-compliance range from $250k – $500k and 2 years imprisonment. The suggested penalties in the new Bill range from $300k – $3m and up to 5 years imprisonment – plenty of reasons to not be caught short of full compliance.

simpsonsThe Bill means that there can be no passing the buck, nor is there any room for ignorance. Directors and senior managers must be aware of the positive duties imposed on them and their obligations under the new legislation.

Similarly, employees should be aware of health and safety risks/requirements and should raise any concerns with their employer. A worker was recently fired from Top Energy for not following safety procedures. The Employment Relations Authority found that the employer was justified in terminating the employment due to the employee’s failure to follow safety procedures which resulted in a serious situation – his own electrocution. Therefore it is up to everyone in the workplace, not just employers/managers, to ensure safety comes first.

A Focus on Occupational Health

Worksafe also aims to focus on occupational health. You don’t need to be working in a dangerous physical environment for your health to suffer. Workplace hazards which need to be managed include physical, mechanical, biological, chemical and psychological. In particular, there are many psychological stresses on employees, such as:risk assessment

  • Long working hours
  • Large workloads
  • Tight deadlines
  • Work intensification
  • Poor work-life balance
  • Feelings of job insecurity
  • Ageing workforce
  • High emotional demands
  • Learning and adapting to new technology

Directors and managers must recognise and control potential hazards. Education and a broad knowledge of the legal requirements and duties imposed on individuals will be extremely important to avoid accidents or penalties moving forward. Liability will be based on the new standard set to kick in early 2015.

For further information or advice to ensure compliance, contact BuckettLaw – the employment law experts.

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Workplace bullying…how to deal

Lessons from Ron Burgundy – dealing with workplace bullies

Freddie Shapp: “You’re on the 2 AM to 5 AM slot.”

Ron Burgundy: “What? That’s the graveyard shift!”

Brick Tamland: “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!”anchorman2

It may take more than a ghost to scare Brick, he’s one tough guy, but he doesn’t cope so well when it comes to bullies. Workplace bullying is responsible for costing kiwi employers tens of millions of dollars every year. According to a joint university study in 2012 one in five kiwi workers suffer from workplace bullying. It’s no surprise bullying costs employers so much when you look at the effects on those targeted, some of which include:

  • high levels of stress;
  • reduced job satisfaction and commitment to the organisation;
  • withdrawal, leading to decreased productivity;
  • decreased concentration,
  • absenteeism and higher staff turnover.

Bullying affects everyone: the victim, their family, their friends, other employees and a business’s reputation. A bully can transform a pleasant workplace into a dreaded climate of fear, frustration and disconnect. Victims may reach out to co-workers to gain sympathy and support, causing a ripple effect throughout the workplace that may have the effect of normalising and enforcing the behaviour. 

Auzzie’s position on workplace bullying

In 2006 the tragic suicide of 19 year old Brodie Panlock in Melbourne spurred placing the issue of workplace bullying firmly on the forefront of Victoria’s legislative agenda.

bullyingBrodie was a waitress who sustained constant bullying from 3 male coworkers, (one of which she was formerly romantically involved with). The boss was aware of the bullying and did nothing to prevent it other than saying to the men, ‘take it out the back’. Among her list of torments she had fish oil poured all over her and in her bag, was spat on and called fat and ugly.

With no specific legislation dealing addressing workplace bullying at the time, the 3 workers pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons and the boss was found guilty of failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment.  All were fined personally and the boss’s company was fined an extra $220,000 – being $355,000 in total.

The state of Victoria recognized the seriousness of the issue and responded in 2011 by introducing legislation that made workplace bullying a crime punishable up to ten years in jail.

How to deal?

It is important to identify your style of dealing with conflict. In his recent book “Employed But Under Fire” Michael Smyth poses the crucial question, do you fight or flight? His book explains how to use your initial reactions in a positive way to deal with bullying. For some, their immediate response to conflict is to ignore it and walk away, while others stand up and fight. No matter your personality, if you are being bullied you are not alone, and there are options out there. Smyth’s book covers various ways to tackle bullying at work.bully1

Often people are nervous about seeking help, or they may feel their situation doesn’t warrant legal action. Specialists in employment law (such as BuckettLaw) deal with workplace bullies on a daily basis. Seeking legal advice will help you weigh up your options and assess the likelihood of a successful personal grievance claim.

Employers must keep in mind that workplace conditions may trigger or enable bullying. This can include workers knowing that senior staff ignore accusations of workplace bullying, and an overly excessive competitive or stressful work environment may also trigger workplace bullying. The employer DOES become culpable for the bullying once he becomes aware of the problem and will be liable for compensation if the allegations are proven correct. The most important thing for employees and employers to know is that once awareness is raised of a bullying situation, employers have an obligation to investigate the matter and do all they can to stop it. Employees should keep a diary of the incidents of bullying.

Ensuring the happiness and safety of staff ensures a more efficient and productive workplace … so all business should do all they can to combat bullying! We need strong bosses to combat this problem – creating an at work environment where it is very clear that bullying WILL NOT be tolerated.

The Law

Employers may be liable under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 for failure to address bullying allegations where stress is identified as a workplace hazard. If complaints are ignored, the employer is failing to take practicable steps to ensure a safe workplace environment.

It is important for employees to know that discrimination in the work place on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation etc. is prohibited under the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1993.sos bully

There are plenty of cases out there where judges rule in favour of the victims of workplace bullying. In Corbett v UDP Shopfitters LTD the Employment Relations Authority found the applicant was subjected to prolonged abuse by co-workers, which fell outside acceptable banter. This was based on the definition that bullying and harassment is “something that has happened that is unwelcome, unwarranted and causes a detrimental effect”. Corbett claimed his supervisor would swear at him and abuse him, and another supervisor also abused him making derogatory remarks about his Irish Nationality. The employer failed to take action after being told of the abuse, telling Corbett to “suck it up”.  The employer was ordered to pay Corbett $3,161 reimbursement of lost wages and $10,000 compensation.

In August 2012 the Business, Innovation and Employment Ministry’s labour group began consulting with a variety of agencies to create a best-practice guideline. This is the closest the government has come to directly addressing workplace bullying, without so far as to formally introducing a code of practice or amending legislation. We are desperately awaiting arrival of this guideline.

There will always be bullies – there will always be those who are jealous or feel threatened by the capabilities of someone in a lower position than themselves. There were bullies at kindergarten and there will be bullies at work. But awareness is increasing and people are not standing by and letting them get away with it. Make some noise, and help us at BuckettLaw help you.

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Minimum wage on the climb!

Exciting news for all of you struggling to make ends meet – the government has proudly announced an increase in the minimum wage is set to take place from April 1st.  Woohoo! 25 cents more an hour!  This takes our minimum wage from $13.50 to $13.75 an hour.  That’s a $2 increase per day, and workers will earn around $10 more a week.  This is before tax.  Can our lowest paid workers afford to live off an income of $550 (pre-tax) a week?

There are thousands of real people, doing real work with real responsibilities in our communities such as caregivers, security guards and cleaners to name a few.  These people have families to feed and bills to pay, purely for survival.  But what if they wish to go on a holiday, pay for a child’s school camp or dabble in a bit of Wellington’s culture? Maybe for people in minimum responsibility jobs, some might view $13.75 as a fair representation of their efforts.  When making a comparison to the UK minimum wage of £6.19, our $13.75 doesn’t look so bad. But Australia dishes out a grand $15.95, or a minimum of $606.40 per week.  No wonder so many young Kiwis are heading over the ditch.

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And the governments excuse for this pitiful increase? Labour Minister Simon Bridges claims our wage rates represent “a careful balance between protecting low paid workers and ensuring jobs are not lost as the economic recovery gains pace.”  Thus, we must consider reality. In a utopian world all employers would have the funds to comply with minimum wage requirements, no matter the economic situation. This seems to be the belief of writers of an independent report prepared for Service and Food workers union.  This report published two weeks ago identified $18.40 as a suitable ‘living wage’.  Wouldn’t this be amazing!  That’s an extra $186 per week – now that would be something to get excited about!  But in this economy, with job losses being a regular occurrence, this prospect is unfortunately out of reach.  Still, workers and employers need to stay positive.  25cents is better than nothing. And if recent trends are anything to go by, the minimum wage should continue its climb, taking you along for the ride.

And for all you employees on minimum wage, remember:

  • The harder you work, no matter what the pay, the more respect you will gain in and around the workplace;
  • A positive attitude goes a long way; and
  • Keep communication lines open between you and your employer.  If you are struggling to make ends meet, discuss your options openly.

Employers paying minimum wages, take note:

  • Most employees on minimum wage live from payday to payday.  If you want your employees to feel valued, offer them something special like concert tickets or a voucher for excellent performance.  Take a little time to show interest in your employees and keep them motivated.
  • If money is tight, simply praising employees on their performance creates a positive work environment.  
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Are We Killing Our Workers?

During one of the many, many, “How was your Christmas/ New Years/ isn’t this weather fantastic” chats that are par for the course in January, a friend muttered that she had the sneaky suspicion that work was getting in the way of her real life. I thought, you’ve got a point there, Sheryl*. Sadly, the New Zealand Government doesn’t agree with me.

Kiwis.. we think of ourselves as No. 8 wire innovators, Everest conquerers. We pride ourselves on our open-mindedness, our relaxed approach to life. Yet, in reality, we are dragging the chain behind the rest of the world when it comes to our work/life balance and the cracks are starting to show.

Everyone's favourite  Everest conqueror. Sir Edmund Hillary

Everyone’s favourite Everest conqueror. Sir Edmund Hillary

Despite advice from the powers that be (Aunty Helen and the UN), the New Zealand Government is sticking to its guns, refusing to introduce legislation to limit the number of hours the humble Kiwi can work per week. In doing so, we’re falling behind the rest of the world with workplaces that are stuck in the dark ages of arbitrary hours, set days and places, while others move towards flex-time (or less time) and a results-based approach.

On average we Kiwis work bloody hard, 1724 hours a year according to OECD figures. That’s 175 more hours than the Danes, 86 more than those in the UK and a whopping 380 than the Germans. While no one could accuse the Germans of being lazy, they’re sitting pretty with around 9 weeks more holiday than your average Kiwi.

100_pure_nz_brand_tops_international_survey_5254246064

So what’s it all in aid of? Health? Wealth? Happiness? There’s evidence a plenty to show that this isn’t the case. In fact, that ‘work hard play hard’ attitude can get us into hot water and we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to research to back it up.

You wouldn’t think it if you wandered onto New Zealand immigrations website. It lures off-shorers to our land of ‘easy living’ with “If you’re looking for a more balanced lifestyle, you’ll find New Zealand’s got the recipe just right.” Do we.. really?

A recent study in the journal PLoS ONE shows that people that work more than 11 hours a day have a more-than-doubled risk of a major depressive episode, compared with people who work the more-standard seven to eight hours a day.

drunk worker

Another from Otago University links long hours to alcohol addiction. The study found that those who worked a 50+ hour work week were three times more likely to take to the bottle.

The daily (and nightly) grind is taking a toll. A survey of nearly 1500 kiwis, released by Hudson Recruitment this week, showed that 41.6% of employees were feeling more stressed than a year ago and 77% were shouldering more responsibility and working longer hours.

And those findings join a host of others suggesting a link between clocking serious hours and heart disease, heart attacks, higher blood pressure, lower life expectancy.

sleep-deprivation_main

If that wasn’t enough reason for you to rethink burning the midnight oil at the office consider the added extras- sitting all day is linked to a higher likelihood of developing a chronic disease such as diabetes.

Lack of sleep is also a kicker and can lead (to name but a few) to decreased memory, increased weight gain, a higher chance of having a car accident, diabetes, irritability, serious cardiovascular health problems, and possibly cancer (no  biggy). According to The National Sleep Foundation we should be shooting for at least 7-9 hours. So get home, keep work out of the bedroom and get some decent shuteye.

We’re burning out our employees, the long hours+ill-health combination also means lost labour in the long-term and higher medical costs for employers, the government and you ( the tax-payer).

man-sleeping

But doesn’t working harder make you richer? Nope.. it turns out productivity fuels wealth, not hours worked. Hence why so many companies overseas are turning to flexible approaches (more on that next week).

While the hours=results mentality works for robots in a production line, surely we’ve moved on. Germany (the powerhouse of the EU) and their extra 9 weeks holiday proves this if nothing else.

In the corporate world, staying at work late amongst the underlings is almost a competitive sport; does it change the work output? Invariably, no. people can only pump out so much good work a day, outside of this is when mistakes occur. These mistakes can be dangerous. A recent study of hospital interns found that young doctors who worked longer shifts made almost 36 percent more serious mistakes, like giving the wrong dose or the wrong medicine altogether to patients.

businessman_on_the_beachBut why not just work hard, play hard? (Says the Government) To that I say, what use is the working if you don’t have the time or energy to do the playing? And where’s this work-life balance recipe you speak of?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating the life of a sloth, but ask yourself.. is work getting in the way of your life?

10 hours plus.. it’s not healthy, it’s not making us wealthy.. go on workaholics, go home, have dinner with your family, sleep for eight hours, take that holiday… maybe one day we will be as powerful as the Germans.

** names have been changed to protect anonymity

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Lessons from Lance

As we drag our slightly more tanned (and slightly less toned) bodies back into the office, the year stretches out in front of us and the cogs slowly start churning into gear.  New Years resolutions aren’t quite banished from our minds. In fact, it all seems quite do-able at this stage. You were at the end of your tether (and practically ran out  the office door) come Christmas. But after a few weeks of R&R (G&T’s, coronas & limes, left-over Christmas ham sandwiches) those little niggles aren’t quite so niggly, the inbox mountain is climb-able and office morale is at an all time high.

corona-beer-lime-squirt

The question is, how do we keep this up?  As an employer, how do you keep your team on an even keel? As an employee, how do you ensure you keep your eye on the prize without losing your integrity?

We could learn a thing or two from Lance Armstrong  and his doping denial/admission roller coaster , apparently the only news worth reporting in the post holiday media haze.

Lance-Armstrong-lying

If Lance had spent less time lying he might not be needing new artwork

Once the golden boy of racing, Lance has taken a spectacular tumble from glory and the implications spread far and wide. In the court of Oprah he has confessed to being a drug user, a bully, an ”arrogant prick”; but not a cheat.

As he sees it, the system made him do it, Lance was merely doing his best to level the playing field. What is remarkable is the parallels that can be drawn between Lance and your run of the mill, stock standard workplace bully. Blaming others, taking credit where its not due, claaaaasic bully moves. As for the system, when such behavior is ignored or disregarded by HR and management, it tends to serve as implicit acceptance of the behaviour.. the moral of the story, it’s not so different, problems need to be addressed at both the individual level and the systemic.

Aside from the bullying, most employment issues that come through our door could have been resolved by going back to the basics. Employment law isn’t rocket science, it is generally common sense with a healthy serving of understanding and compromise. Lance didn’t compromise; by launching defamation claims against anyone who tackled him he burned a lot of people and eventually he got burnt himself.

While Lance’s reputation lies in tatters that even Oprah hasn’t been able to sew back together we could all remember a few things that Lance forgot..

fiction1

Humor from down under, an Australian librarian sees the lighter side of the Lance debacle

Own your mistakes.. whether you cut a corner or just forget, in the workplace you will make mistakes aplenty.  It’s how you deal with it that matters. Time for another cliche.. honesty really is the best policy. If you face your mistakes quickly, honestly and with minimal fuss you might just avoid digging yourself into a Lance sized hole. If you cut corners and hope that no one will see you might slip below the radar once or twice but at some point it will come back to bite you.

Reputation is everything... be it in day to day life or in business your reputation is your brand, use it wisely, protect it, once you’ve lost it you may never get it back. Integrity matters.. winning is great, winning at all costs, not so great. The power of a brand relies on goodwill and name recognition earned over time.. while Lance has plenty of the former, even the Big O hasn’t managed to scrape back much of the latter from the general population, recent polls showing that the masses aren’t going to forgive or forget anytime soon.

798165-130116-armstrong-oprah

Even the big O couldn’t put Armstrong’s reputation back together again

Remember that old adage “there’s no I in team”.. there’s a reason for these cliques, darn it, they’re usually on the money. Think of the bigger picture- not just yourself. Try not to step on too many people as  you climb up that corporate ladder.

In more basic terms.. Just be nice to people– on your way up, on your way down, whether youre in a position of power or at the bottom of the heap. 

And here’s the biggy, the secret to work place harmony and lifelong happiness..

Don’t lie, as I said earlier, its not rocket science. In the highly connected digital world the truth has a sneaky way of coming out.

 

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California’s Next Top Lawyer..

Ahh reality TV, the fierce competition, the sweet victories and crushing blows. Tears, tantrums and humiliation… Sure, it’s entertaining (with the exception of the Ridge saga), but is it the best way to hire employees?

A Californian Law firm seems to think so, with eager young legal beagles auditioning to be the “Next Top Associate.” The recruitment process (see ad below) brings the budding NTA’s together, armed with laptops and pits potential employee on employee. Assignments are dished out and one young hopeful is eliminated each day for two weeks until one remains. The last man (or woman) standing will … (cue Ryan Seacrest) Have what it takes to be Mellen Law Firm’s Next Top Associate. A Hunger Games-esque fight to the (metaphoric) death.

If you saw a job advertisement that suggested you audition for a professional position as if you were a contestant on a reality show would you? How much does this say about the slim pickings job market in the USA.. or here for that matter?

“It’s brutal, but everyone knows it’s going to be brutal, so nobody’s feelings are hurt” says Matt Mellen, the firms namesake and serial lover of reality television. It’s not all bad though- the applicants get paid for the pleasure, around  $25 NZD an hour, and in doing so, gain litigation experience in a short, sharp blast. It also “perks up” existing employees with the cold hard realisation that it is a dog-eat-dog world out there and the competition for jobs is fierce.

Sure, competition is healthy in the right dose. It can drive results and prevent a worker from reverting to sloth-mode, where just enough that needs to be done, is done, no more no less. But depending on your workplace you’re likely to have a mixture of personalities. Those who hide away from competition and those who thrive on it.  A seemingly innocent office sweepstake or game of monopoly can turn into all out war for those with the competitive streak. While competition in the right quantity is beneficial, too much can turn toxic. By pitting employee on employee, bullying can emerge. Watch this space, we have a few yarns on bullying up our sleeve.

So while debate rages in the twittersphere as to whether New Zealand does, in fact, have talent (still up in the air), the Ridge novelty fades and facebook groups are formed for the sole purpose of expressing a desire to hit Thomas from My Kitchen Rules with a frying pan; we now are being asked to fight tooth and nail for the privilege of a job.

One wonders whether maybe, just maybe, the obsession with competition based reality shows has gone too far.

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A Rugby Yarn

Q: How do you get a message home to a nation of gun ho kiwis who grew up with a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to safety?

A: A rugby analogy

So… We fill Eden park right, four times.. For the sake of the story let’s say four Rugby World Cup matches, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  The stadium is full to the brim. Thousands of fans, all there to see the boys in black.

But, during each game, around about the point when the crowd is thinking “Oo that’s a bit close for comfort” and ponders if the ABs can make it through a World Cup without choking, something goes horribly wrong. Panic spreads, mayhem ensues.

At the end of the weekend 100 people are dead, 25,000 have been hurt severely enough to be off work at least a week,  370 have been admitted to hospital and diagnosed with a life threatening condition  and more than 190,000 are hurt badly enough to send a claim off to the folks at ACC. Every single man woman and child that went to watch those games has been hurt. The cost of the carnage, $3.5 billion.

It’s front page news, worldwide, Thousands Maimed in Rugby Disaster, New Zealand’s Darkest Day. 

OK, so it’s a little far-fetched, no analogy is perfect, but it gets the message through. That’s how many people get injured in the workplace each year, according to the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety, the job in hand, cutting that number by 25%, one full Eden park. No mean feat.

Likely outcomes? A large-scale cracking down on those at the top, meaning heftier fines and penalties for companies and directors. Even our biggest fines fall far short of Australia‘s. ( And we all know how much we hate falling short of anything particularly when it comes to the ‘strayans).

So while we look across the ditch and ramp up our fines your company might get caught in the spotlight. The spotlight will be expensive.

Check your health and safety policy before it’s too late. Be proactive, check with us if you need help with the nitty-gritty.

Want a few more details?

Click the link below.

http://www.buckettlaw.co.nz/Site/articles/2012_Health_and_Safety.aspx

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