OSH warnings in wake of Pike River report

Royal Commission findings on the Pike River tragedy have important implications for companies involved in the Christchurch rebuild.

Stephanie Grieve, a health and safety specialist lawyer with Duncan Cotterill, says changes to increase compliance obligations are almost inevitable.

These are likely to require directors to have a much more hands-on role in implementing health and safety, especially in larger companies, in line with other countries.

The Christchurch rebuild is already a major focus for the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (formerly Department of Labour) and those involved will undoubtedly be affected by any regulatory change in the area of health and safety, she says.

However, research by NBR ONLINE suggests health and safety is already well to the fore in the quake rebuild.

Those involved in pipe, sewer and road repairs wear safety gear at all times and staff hold road signs that show cars whether to stop or go.

Office staff such as designers, communications practitioners and managers are also allocated safety gear – high-visibility jackets, boots and helmets.

No employees are permitted to feature in publicity photographs without such gear.

All employees are drug tested, even the receptionists.

Metal boxes are used to prevent trench collapses and sometimes solid fencing to prevent motorists and workers being distracted by roadworks.

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