Welcome to the February 2020 edition of the Bedrock Solutions’ newsletter. In this edition, we detail how to evaluate staff work practices without having review meetings, give a timely reminder in ensuring contractor's capabilities and give an overview of B-Compliant (video). As always if you have any questions about any of the information in the newsletter or about your health and safety obligations, in general, please be in touch.

How to evaluate staff work practices without having review meetings

On an annual basis, it is quite common for managers to arrange meetings with individual staff to discuss standard operating procedures (SOPs) related to their work. Then to sign them off as continuing to be competent.

Although this process gives an opportunity for managers to reiterate good work practice, and generate an audit trail to show such discussions have occurred, there are a couple of assumptions made, which significantly diminish the value of this process:

Assumption 1: staff are following the SOP’s as discussed at the meeting.
Assumption 2: staff have understood and retained what has been discussed.

Let's now improve the process:
Introducing Bedrock Solutions competency evaluation and verification process. Steps as follows:
  1. Manager supplies staff with SOP/s related to their work along with a competency evaluation smart form (smart forms can be enabled on smartphones, tablets and computers).
  2. The manager sets staff a timeframe to collect and submit their information that aligns to job-related SOP’s.
  3. Staff submit their information using the smart form.
  4. The manager verifies the information submitted.
  5. The manager prints and completes the competency verification form.
  6. The manager updates the staff record of learning details in B-Compliant.
  7. The manager uploads the evidence (completed evaluation and verification forms) into B-Compliant.
Summary of the improvements realised from Bedrock Solutions competency evaluation and verification process:
  1. Staff must read the SOP/s to collect information to confirm their understanding.
  2. Gaps identified by the manager (if any) results in targeted training.
  3. Evidence is transparent, centralised, contained in a PDF document and available for third party audit requests, tendering applications, etc.
  4. Productivity gains are made through increased staff awareness and alignment to SOP/s in everyday work activity leading to fewer mishaps.

Ensuring Contractor's Capabilities

WorkSafe is reminding companies to ensure the contractors they employ are competent for the job at hand.

This message follows after Central Siteworks Limited (in liquidation) was sentenced at the Waitakere District Court for failing to ensure a worker was safe while felling trees. Central Siteworks engaged a crew to undertake forestry work at their Waitakere site. In April 2017 one of the crew was cutting down a tree when it fell on him, causing significant chest injuries.

WorkSafe’s investigation found that the worker did not have any forestry or arboriculture qualifications and none of the crew could demonstrate that they had received any training. The crew had experience in undertaking small scale tree removal but had not undertaken forestry work or extraction and removal of a large scale woodlot.

WorkSafe’s Acting Chief Inspector Investigations Danielle Henry said it’s up to the hiring contractor to ensure the workers they engage are capable for the job at hand.
“The health and safety plan for the site was incomplete and workers were only informed about some of the hazards after work had already commenced. Safety should be embedded in the job plan – not an “add on” once dangerous work is already underway.”

Central Siteworks was voluntarily placed into liquidation prior to being sentenced. WorkSafe sought and was granted by the High Court permission to continue proceedings against the company.

In considering WorkSafe’s application to continue proceedings, Judge Smith noted a previous comment by Justice Venning in an unrelated case in which he said: “…companies facing prosecution by regulatory authorities should not consider that they can avoid prosecution or penalty by voluntary liquidation. Liquidation should not be seen as a means of escaping or avoiding the consequences of criminal activity.”

At sentencing, Judge Jelas considered that Central Siteworks’ offending was serious, and noted that a fine of $405,000 for this type of offending would have been appropriate.

Introducing B-Compliant

A cloud-based tool centralising and integrating your operational activities seamlessly.
“Working safely may get old, but so do those who practice it.”