An interesting comment came through to us from Gordon Anderson, principal of health & safety advisory Hasmate, on a bill currently before Parliament.
Gordon had been sent an industry alert that talked about the proposed Domestic Violence- Victims Protection Bill that is currently under discussion in parliament.
Gordon says that if you are a business owner and got some of your body parts in a tangle over the latest health and safety legislation then this Bill will really get you going.
Domestic violence is an unsavoury topic to many but it is something that is happening in all quarters of society. He suggests that what many business owners don’t realise is that they may have to be part of the solution if the pending Act of Parliament is passed that is currently under discussion.
He doesn't know if the NZ Qualifications Authority have any training modules or qualifications on employee counselling on the topic, but he suggests that you check it out.
Last week I attended a business conference and was talking to a rather sceptical business owner about health and safety and its benefits.
In his view, it was just another thing to do and made no difference to his business. I suppose, depending on the business this could be the case. We then discussed this at some length and I suggested that he look at the converse approach of what would be the impact on his business if something did go wrong. In effect, the what if approach for good risk management. So whats eventuated is that I will be attending his next managers and H&S committee meeting to illustrate the point through a simple yet effective group exercise.
Have you ever thought of applying the principle of “Caveat Emptor” when hiring a H&S advisor?
The other day I was chatting with a friend and he was telling me about a business associate who was rather concerned about the amount he was having to pay for his Health and Safety consultant along with the down time he was experiencing having being told that weekly H&S meetings were essential under the new Health and Safety at Work Act. Not to do so could see him incur expensive penalties.
What my freind could not understand was that a colleague of his, who is also a buisness owner, could get away with running just one H&S meeting a month.
It so happened that I was preparing an article on Caveat emptor and how important it is to take heed of this especially it in the area of health & safety. Effectivly he has no come back on the cosultant who prescribed the weekly meeting so enter Caveat emptor. Take time to work through the H&S swamp of nonprescriptive legislation with your consultant.
So if you are thinking of hiring an external H&S consultant or you already use one, I suggest you follow this link to my article. Hopefully you will gain from it.
|| A Hasmate release by Gordon Anderson | Wednesday 22 March 2017 |||
If the following is any indication then Gordon Anderson thinks there is room for improvement.
Recently I engaged Jim’s Test and Tag on behalf of a client to check out their electrical tagging as I had found a number well over due for retesting.
What Jim's Test and Tag team found was that was the client's contracted electrician had made all the electrical appliances in the staff room, shop, and office due for retesting on a 6-monthly cycle.
The Electricity (Safety) Amended Regulations 2011 testing schedule states that many only had to be tested on an 12 monthly or a 5-year testing cycle.
Electrical tagging has for many businesses been a contentious issue of why, do I have to do it? Well it is good risk management policy but no more frequent than the law stipulates. No need to pay every 6 months for what could be a 5 year requirement!
| A Hasmate release by Gordon Anderson | Friday 24 February 2017 ||
The changing of the Health and Safety legislation has come and gone (10 months ago,) and it’s been an interesting space to watch, Gordon told MSCNewsWire.
Apart from the wake up and realisation that WSNZ now mean business many business have been looking for quick fix solutions. The hawkers of the $3000 20th century paper based systems are still out there but its pleasing to see that many proactive businesses are now looking for software or 21st century solutions to manage this important. compliance responsibility.
Ironicaly this could be a health & safety issue in itself as the adding of more bulk to the already bulging files could cause these very shelves to tumble and fall! Not a good look and oh so hard to fight your way around!
| A Hasmate release by Gordon Anderson | Monday 13 February 2017 ||
I initially wrote this article in 2013, it’s scary how the time can creep up on you, especially when you are past the official retirement and are planning to sell your business. So what’s different and how am I addressing this challenge. A few thoughts to consider.
If you are in business and are nearing retirement did you, • Buy your business with the plan to build it and then to sell it? • Or did you buy it to keep it and for a better life style? • Or have you brought it and now only have a JOB = Just On broke • Or are you thinking of retiring or in the age group that is nearing retirement?
If you are, then I suggest you read the following as there are a number of considerations you may need to think about for the sale of your business.
Statistic show that there could be as many as 10 -15000 or more baby boomer businesses due to hit the market in the next few years. Unfortunately, many of these will run smack into what he terms the “baby boomer bulge” where there will be many businesses for sale in competition with them. You only have to visit a business sales magazine to see the coffee shops and trade companies for sale.
A point of concern is that many husband and wife teams who have worked in their business for 20-30 plus years in preparation for retirement. Many may have a greater expectation of value of their business than what may actually be realized. Too many people wait until they have to sell, rather than exiting their business when they want to. If you fall into this demographic, are you prepared or are you waiting for the day when you want to sell and hope for the best, unfortunately it may be too late.
If this triggers a call to action before it is too late then what is needed it to take stock of what you have. The effectiveness of any business is not just about the annual balance sheet, although this will be one of the contributing factors in your business sale. The assets of your business are also the risk management processes, its documented business systems, its people, sales processes, clients, and its intellectual property, never discount these as intangible assets. Another key consideration is the ability for future growth of the business for a potential buyer. A switched on experienced business advisor will be able to assist you with this. Be prepared to swallow your pride and don’t take offence at the awkward questions, be very honest as it’s an important if you want to capitalize on all your years of hard work and sacrifice, you are not alone in this.
A word of warning. Don’t get hooked up with the warm fuzzy speak of a business advisor or business sales broker.
Why do I know this, we are now going through the very same process and have bitten the bullet to make what we have worked for 25 years work for us and for our future.
Our plan of action
Our first commitment was to set a goal with a year and a date for five years out. 2nd August 2017. This now happening sooner than expected as the timing is right. (Those who aim at nothing in life, will always hit the target with amazing accuracy)
For an understanding of the sales process, we researched and identified a checklist of what were the specific requirements for buying a business from the purchaser’s point of view. This process is an eye opener but well worth the effort as it can take you from to a closed mind or a demotivated position to a position of “here are the facts, so let’s get up and go for it”. A challenge you will encounter during this process is that you and your wife or partner were only accountable to each other, if agreed actions slipped they were often forgotten about. The answer, contract another party to sell your business for you
WHY: One of the biggest mistakes you can make when selling your business is to try to sell it yourself. You have to step out of this process as you are too emotionally involved. Be prepared to pay a commission but as long as you have the right person. We have invested in such a competent and experienced person who has “been there and done that” and also involved our accountant in a complete review of our position. Already, this is paying dividends with a greater piece of mind and potentially receiving a greater return on the sale than anticipated. Its early days but I can assure you that the horizon is looking brighter using a competent third party in this sales process.
Entering a third age So you have sold your business now what, mow the lawns, paint the house, hit the road and live the good life, these are one of the many questions you will have to consider. But what about the other investment that you may not have considered? The bank of accumulated life, trade or professional knowledge that is just sitting there to be reused. Have you ever considered that you may be entering your third age where you can capitalize on this and help others to succeed instead of retiring completely and to wait meet your maker? We may be grey, we may be silver but as they say, you are only as old as you feel. Age is only a number and the difference is the attitude what lays between ones ears. Health is a big factor and this may be an inhibitor for some things but there are other options. What we baby boomers have and banked over the years without realizing it, is all that experience and wisdom, now are you ready to spend it?
So how will you spend it, that’s the challenge when you should also be considering when you get ready to sell your business?
From the MSCNewsWire reporters desk by Gordon Anderson - Friday 2 September 2016
For all New Zealand businesses, taxation, GST, ACC payments and employment agreements are a non-negotiable responsibility of business owners.
The introduction of the new health and safety legislation in April this year has become a more robust, non-negotiable, no excuse compliance issue as well that is going to make businesses think twice about ignoring it.
The future of Health and Safety and compliance management will be an evidence based approach, based on the availability of records for a business to quickly prove due diligence, if and when the business is called to account. Many businesses still use a 20th century approach of hard copy record keeping that are usually filed in a myriad of different ways: spreadsheets, filing cabinets and record manuals, diaries etc. - does this sound familiar?
IS THERE A BETTER WAY? There certainly is - by using a web or cloud-based software management program. This will allow your business to store all its H&S and other records in a central hub with the ability to retrieve them quickly, in real time. There are a number of these types of programs available on the New Zealand market, all offering a variety of features and functionality.
If the business is planning to elevate its H&S systems into a 21st century model to meet the future challenges, then what attributes should you be looking for?
A credible program should:
¥ Filter and produce alerts, reports and profiles of your data, with photos and the ability to email and to assign actions.
¥ Record and produce personnel information with contact details and any other information for the engagement of the employee
¥ Provide PPE information, who has got what, cost, distribution date, size and replacement date
¥ Provide training records to show who is trained in what
¥ Produce hazard and control registers with a method to risk rate and prioritise the hazards
¥ A facility to record incidents and accident records, reports and associated costs
¥ Have a contractor/supplier management and selection process built in¥ Have a document management system
¥ Have a chemical management module for recording chemicals and to meet the requirements of the HSNO Act
¥ A key selection criteria should be the ability of any program to be able to produce a concise and informative report for the PCBU or the company’s management board.
SELECTION OF A PROGRAM When choosing a health and safety management program, ask the following questions,
¥ Is it just for health and safety or does it include any other management systems that will benefit the business?
¥ Does the provider have experience or credibility in H&S and other compliance management systems?
¥ Is it easy to use, with minimal steps to produce reports?
¥ Is the total cost or cost structure for the program easy? (No hidden surprises/charges)
¥ Are there other ongoing costs for updates or other modules?
¥ Does it have a robust and secure backup system?¥ Does the provider have the ability to service the program with a help desk?
¥ If it can be used on a tablet device or IPhone?
CONCLUSION We now live in a changing world of health and safety and it is now, more than ever, part of that change in the business arena. On line health and safety management programs are fast becoming the future for the security and the business owner’s peace of mind and for the protection of your business. If your business is not prepared or you are in denial about H&S in your business, I suggest you consider the risk of H&S non-compliance to your business.
For a review of a proven and cost effective health and safety software solution visit the free no obligation 30 day trial at www.Hasmate.co.nz
If you supply engineering or any other services you should be aware of what is on the horizon.
CONTRACTOR PREQUALIFICATION If you are thinking this is just another management buzz word that has a number of compliance fish hooks, you are 75% right but on the other side of the ledger, it can have a number of advantages.
What is prequalification? In the yester years of ISO 9001 this was called supplier appraisal, in this new age of the 2015 health and safety legislation, it’s called pre-qualification. This is a relatively new term to the NZ health and safety vocabulary. If you are a contractor suppling or intending to supply your services to central or local government, government departments, port companies, Electrical suppliers and other large industry players, I suggest you take note.
Why, if you are not on board with it, this well be a something that could prevent your business from trading with these organisations and other businesses in the very near future.
Why is it happening? As we all should now know, if you are the owner of a business owner or executive or director you are the PCBU, if you have a senior role in the business and the ability to influence change you are defined as an officer of the business and in many cases also the PCBU.
As part of your PCBU responsibilities you now have the responsibility to manage “Workers” in your business, this now includes contractors, subcontractors their employees and others.
In the past, the methods to do this and to ensure that contractors have all the H&S requirements in place was to either - 1. Do anything and take the risk. 2. ask them if they had H&S systems in place and to take their word for it, 3. to send them a letter setting out your H&S requirements, 4. to meet with them and to eye ball the and to view what they have, 5. to have them assessed by a third party
What’s is now emerging is that those days will shortly be over as the chain of responsibility is now starting to unravel.
So how does it work? Over the past twelve months a number of larger H&S providers had recognised that contractor management was an area that was not being well managed. Supplier assessment is a process that happens in the UK and Australia and has fast become a prerequisite to do business. With the now prescriptive PCBU responsibility for the effective management of contractors, this has now brought contractor management to the fore.
The assessment providers have established a number of different approaches whereby they are contracted to the larger companies to assess and to review the clients recognised contractors H&S systems against a given criteria.
The criteria will work on, 1. the size of the business or 2. The number of employees in the business.
From the presentations I have seen to date, the assessments will be based on the contractor registering and then providing paper based evidence for review against a given criteria.
From this the results will be posted on a software portal for the contractor and PCBUs to view and then. Where a contractor scores in a certain range will depend on what help they need to bring their H&S systems into an acceptable range of compliance.
The outcome will then provide the PCBU with an independent assessment to make an informed decision of what contractors they will employ in the future.
For many smaller contractors this may sound over the top but I suggest that if you have not addressed your H&S responsibilities then think again. Remember, Denial is not just a river in Africa. For many contracting businesses and others suppling services to industry, this will become a prerequisite to do business in the future and in the long term, can be beneficial for your business.
The ACC WSMP Workplace Safety Management Practices Program Where will this assessment (Audit) process fit with this recognised accreditation process?
An interesting question. From what I am hearing the businesses promoting the assessment process, they don’t appear to be placing too much credibility of the WSMP audit outcome.
This may be just a marketing ploy but having worked with the WSMP auditing process as an auditor and a HSE advisor for the past 24 years I really think this is an entropic view by the promotors of the assessment process.
WSMP has been proven to work as it has been around for 16 years and is proven to work with $$$ benefits for a business. It may not be perfect but what system ever is?
Having managed the H&S compliance with and for twenty businesses over the past fourteen years, all have achieved a tertiary level pass, will this assessment become just another cost to their businesses and for thousands of other NZ businesses?
There has been a lot of speculation about the future of WSMP and my sources tell me but no decision has been made about this even though one of the providers have stated it may be scrapped? If is scrapped as suggested, then I can imagine many businesses will be up in arms about this. I personally can’t see this happening as unlike the proposed assessment process, the WSMP and WSD programs are government approved assessment (Audited) systems that are offered as a financial incentive to improve their H&S processes.
The real interesting point is that from what I have heard is the proposed assessment tool is similar to the lower level ACC WSD program, sent in the paper work and we will check it against a given criteria and give you a mark that will also be made known to the primary business.
The assessment will also a number of other questions like, insurance coverage and information of who the business uses for external H&S assistance and the providers qualifications and more.
It’s my opinion that prequalification is overdue, but I believe that the WSMP achievements of businesses must be taken into account in the assessment process and in the final decision by the contracted assessors.
Interesting times ahead, what this space if you are and accredited WSMP Company.
An article prepared by health & safety expert Gordon Anderson owner of Hasmate Ltd
Last week I was asked to visit a small company that manufactured and installed kitchen bench tops and to discuss their future health and safety (H&S) requirements.
Napier, 5 May 2016 - The company had been in business for eight years, they operated out of an old orchard pack house, had a very good reputation in the building industry and were very busy. The company had three employees.
No H&S systems were available. Like so many SMEs I visit, the business owner had very few management systems in place.
In the owners opinion H&S was a dirty word but he was now receiving many enquiries from his key clients stating if he wanted to continue to supply them and to work on their building sites he would have to have his H&S systems into place. His insurance broker had also asked him to address the issue.
After getting over the initial introductions and hearing his opinion that H&S was all B-S and nothing more than common sense and that he had never had an accident, we got down to business of identifying what and how he made bench tops.
It was during my observations that I noticed an employee approach the glue spraying booth, pick up a respirator off the work bench, put in on and then proceeded to spray the adhesive onto the laminate. When I asked the business owner if that was the normal process he nodded and then proceeded to tell me they have always done it that way and in my opinion was anything wrong with the way they did the spraying.
Here’s how the discussion went: Q - How often is the spray booth used during the day? A - Continually by all the staff, including myself
Q - Where is the extraction system turned on and by whom? A - We don’t have one as it’s too expensive to install. Q- Do you carry out annual medical checks for your employees? A- No why should we, do we have to?
I then proceeded to explain why this has to happen and especially with the type of exposure that he and his employees have to highly toxic solvent based glues. I then asked him if he had trained his staff in the safe use and application of the glues according to the Glues material safety data sheet. (MSDS A- What’s an MSDS?
Another explanation followed.
At this stage I picked up the respirator that was laying on the workbench and asked. Q- Do all the employees use this respirator? A- Yes, what’s the problem with that, they only use for a few minutes at a time?
I then proceeded to fold back the Latex face mask and showed him the sweat, spittle, MDF dust and other nasties trapped inside the mask. Q- Do you also use this? A- There was a stunned silence for a few moments and then he said shaking his head, not any longer.
He then said, I see what you mean but the cost of buying a respirator for each employee would be expensive, I can’t afford to do this. A- You can’t afford not to.
Q- What do you mean? A- If one of your employees was to come to work with the flu or a chest infection or worse and he, as well as all the other staff used the respirator, then there was a very high risk of all the staff and yourself contracting the flu resulting in all of you being off work for 3-5 days.
Q- What financial impact would that have on your business lest alone your clients and your business reputation? In addition, you also have a legal obligation under the Health and Safety at work Act to manage and to monitor the health and safety of your employees.
Q- How often do you clean the respirator or change the filters? A- Never, I have never really thought about it. It sounds like I really do have an H&S issue, how do I fix it?
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR? If it does then here’s an action plan
1. Ask your glue supplier to send you the latest copy of the MSD sheet for the glue. 2. Discuss the MSD information with your employees, especially the use of PPE and the emergency procedures. 3. Have an extraction system installed in the spray booth to remove any surplus glue spray in a controlled manner. 4. Consult with a specialist supplier and purchase a respirator for each employee. 5. Ask the supplier to train your employees in the safe use, cleaning and the replacement of the filters 6. Purchase four plastic Click Clack containers , put their names on them and mount them on the wall near the spray booth 7. When not in use, the respirators must be • Cleaned after use and or on a weekly basis with sanitizing wipes. • Placed in a zip lock plastic bag • Stored in a snap lock plastic container. • Depending on the type of filters used, they can work 24/7 when exposed to the air. Read the manufactures instructions. • Change the filters on a scheduled basis.
And lastly, I recommended that YOU identify and engage a qualified Occupational health nurse to undertake the health monitoring assessments for yourself and your employees.
Gordon Anderson is the managing director of Hasmate Ltd of Napier. Since 1993 he has worked extensively in the area of health and safety as an adviser, systems development, auditing and management training. He works with a wide range of industries in Hawke's Bay and in other centres.