Health and Safety on New Zealand Construction Sites has always been a headache, but with a few easy “fixes” you can sort out a number of critical issues that our auditors find often.

1.   Ensure the Hazard Board is updated daily.

Probably 90% of the boards we see are completely out of date and irrelevant to the site. This a big concern for us, as the Hazard Board is a key part of the Hazard Communication process, and updating the board can help fulfil your and the contractor’s legal duty to communicate hazards.

Fixing this is easy and can be as simple as ensuring that you keep a whiteboard marker / pen inside the site Safety kit or beside the SSSP. Change the documentation template (if you use one) to include a reminder to update the board on the Sign in Page.

2.   Make sure the SSSP is in an easily accessible location

15% of sites we visit have no SSSP onsite, or at least none that the contractors could find! During the work, it’s not uncommon for the site documentation to be scattered throughout the site – not a good look if Worksafe turns up.

Simple fix – attach the SSSP to the front door using Velcro dots, or place it always at the same location, such as the kitchen bench. If you need to move it, note this on the hazard board. New builds should use a weatherproof site box attached to the fence in a location visible to new arrivals onsite.

3.   Have a system in place to ensure all personal to site are inducted

All contractors, visitors to site, and the homeowner / client + family should be inducted to site to ensure that they’re aware of the risks when they arrive. A common mistake is that the homeowner is not inducted – they absolutely must be, especially if they’re living onsite during the renovations.

Print off A3 signs and affix them around the site reminding people to be inducted. Designate the site Forman and an assistant as responsible for inducting new comers when they arrive.

4.   Ensure all Contractors are Pre-Qualified before they turn up

Pre-Qualification is a great tool to ensure that Contractors are aware of your site requirements before they turn up. This reduces the number of awkward “No, I haven’t got a high-vis” moments and the need to send away key contractors.

Write up an email template which you can attach to works orders / job sheets. This should explain your requirements for sites and include a list of Risks and Hazards that will be present onsite when the Contractor arrives.

5.   Put the break location in a place where people will mingle and talk to each other

Half of the problems onsite can be simply solved by different trades just talking to each other! Sometimes this can be easily fixed by designating a communal break area onsite. All PCBUs have a duty to consult with one another under the HSWA and should be communicating their tasks and associated hazards on a regular basis.

Chris Brosnan

Chris Brosnan

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