Worker Engagement Brings Health And Safety Benefits


Christchurch-based maker of the Woodsman brand of log
fires, W.H Harris, sometimes had issues getting staff to
wear the correct PPE, says Operations Manager Mark
Streeter.

“But rather than go down the track of
forcing people to wear equipment they didn’t like, we
decided to involve them in choosing new PPE themselves,”
Streeter says.

To do this, the company engaged Sue
MacEwan, a HASANZ-registered H&S Professional with
consultancy Safe & Sound Solutions.

Sue worked
with a group of W. H Harris staff to find new eye protection
to replace the existing equipment that fogged up and
wasn’t comfortable to wear. She got the workers to test a
selection of new safety glasses and visors for two weeks,
then to recommend which ones the company should
buy.

Since the new eye protection arrived there have
been no further eye injuries at the company’s Christchurch
factory, Sue says.

“It doesn’t fog up and it’s
comfortable, so people wear it and their eyes are
protected.”

Joseph Mercado, one of W.H Harris’
assemblers, says he and his workmates appreciated the
opportunity to be involved in selecting the new
eyewear.

“It was great that we were involved because
it meant that the glasses and visors we got really suited
our needs,” Mercado says.

Streeter says involving
staff in health and safety decisions has helped the company
improve compliance and improve safety. He’d recommend
getting help from a health and safety professional like
Sue.

“We’ve found that four to six hours a week of
focused attention from a consultant has achieved more than
we could’ve ever dreamed,” Streeter
says.

“It’s been very, very cost
effective.”

There is an ACC subsidy to help SMEs
in construction and manufacturing gain access to qualified
health and safety professionals through the HASANZ register.
See more
here.

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