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June 09, 2021 2 min read

Here at HarmLess NZ we have mixed views about the relevance of health and safety standards in practice. On the one hand, health and safety standards can be very helpful because they provide a level of guidance about what to cover in your health and safety strategy. Things like

  • What to consider,
  • Who to include,
  • When to review.
In New Zealand, the current Health and Safety Standards are AS/NZS ISO 45001. It says its purpose is to “provide a framework for managing OHS risks and opportunities”. 
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On the other hand, we find many businesses forget the reason they are implementing any of the recommendations found in health and safety standards and instead get bogged down into a never-ending cycle of dreaded paperwork.

Before engaging in any health and safety strategy, we think every business needs to inherently understand why they are implementing their health and safety strategy in the first place. All to often we see businesses so bogged down by paperwork that they have forgotten the reason why Health & Safety exists as a business function. Let’s take a quick back and remember it is to simply:

send all workers home

safe and sound

at the end of each, and every

work day.

If your strategy focuses on satisfying compliance requirements, following health and safety standards, ticking boxes, crossing “t’s” or dotting “I’s” you’ll likely find yourself getting tied in knots and not achieving the outcome that should be your number one priority.

Good health and safety practices are good for business. Implemented well, they have been demonstrated to increase team cohesiveness, improve communication, lower turnover, improve productivity, and most importantly, ensure your workers are kept safe and healthy while they are working. Good health and safety practices can also help to develop safe practices outside of work, which in turn can reduce absenteeism. We love good health and safety practices because they can improve attitudes, foster collaboration and improve team dynamics. 

The trick is to keep the end goal in mind and ensure every task you do is focused on achieving it:

send all workers home

safe and sound

at the end of each, and every

work day.

Barb Hutchinson
Barb Hutchinson



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