The following Health and Safety Strategy has been developed by industry under the auspices of the Electricity Engineers' Association of New Zealand (EEA).
The Strategy outlines the industry health and safety vision and aspirations to 2025. The strategy identifies focus areas for actions to fulfil these aspirations. The Strategy is a living document that will be regularly reviewed and the EEA welcomes comment or suggestion from industry, regulators and other stakeholders with a view to better realising the health and safety vision for the New Zealand electricity supply industry:
The EEA's strategy for workplace health and safety was last reviewed and updated in 2017 to include Government targets health and safety. The context for the review included that New Zealand's attention to health and safety had been snapped to a steely attention as a result of the Pike River disaster, and that regulatory reforms were underway.
The Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety recognised that good outcomes are not achieved simply by helping people to understand risks and how to control them - understanding is only one driver of behaviour. It's essential to understand and influence the other drivers if you hope to ensure the right people to do the right things at the right time.
The regulatory reforms coincided with a general increase in Government's focus on regulation. This has highlighted the need for increased maturity, improved engagement, and better coordination between regulators in areas of overlap.
We are also seeing the long-term impacts from regulatory reforms of vocational education in New Zealand. There is increasing competition for New Zealand generated capability and increasing emphasis on overseas recruitment to fill a widening shortfall in local talent supply.
Over the last 5 years, we have focussed on embedding a preventative health and safety culture across the industry. Our goal for this period was to eliminate fatalities, and significantly reduce severe accidents from work-related activity and serious harm from work-related diseases and ill-health.
To achieve this, we -
Our collective efforts that we can sustain high-performance in health and safety, although there is still room for improvement. We have reduced our fatality rate to zero and sustained this1. We have also already reduced our lost time incident rate by 33% from the 2009 baseline 2. These drops mainly coincide with the aftermath of Pike River and have recently plateaued, which may relate to a cultural shift. We can lock-in our progress and potentially reduce harm rates further by increasing the maturity of our health and safety leadership, culture, systems, capacity and capability toward excellence.
In 2009 the electricity industry was on average experiencing 9.53 fatalities per 100 000 workers per annum, which was twice the national average across all industries. There have been no fatalities of workers since 2013.
In 2009 the lost time incident rate was 1.5 per 100 000 hours worked, in 2019/20 it was 1 per 100 000 hours worked.
1. In 2009 the electricity industry was on average experiencing 9.53 fatalities per 100 000 workers per annum, which was twice the national average across all industries. There have been no fatalities of workers since 2013.
2. In 2009 the lost time incident rate was 1.5 per 100 000 hours worked, in 2019/20 it was 1 per 100 000 hours worked.
"Achieving excellence as an industry"
We need to build on our existing efforts to establish a preventative health and safety culture and set our sights to system-level changes that support the industry to thrive in a quickly changing environment.
Through excellence we can be assured that we are doing everything we can to keep people safe and healthy at work.
"Will it make the boat go faster?" - Sir Peter Blake, veteran of ocean sailing and racing, was renowned for focusing his team on this one question with everything they did. This focus made many complex decisions much simpler. The legend being that it was unacceptable to not know whether or how something would make the boat go faster. Under the leadership of Sir Peter Blake, Team new Zealand to successive and decisive victories.