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Latest news 31 March 2016 | ACC and WorkSafe New Zealand recently launched a series of television advertisements centred on health and safety in the work place. The campaign called ‘Home Time’ is designed to raise awareness about health and safety, and challenge Kiwis to make our workplaces safer and healthier for everyone. The advertisement showed workers returning home healthy and safe at the end of the day. It is a powerful message. As an organisation with over 6000 staff, CM Health takes health and safety very seriously and while safety is everyone’s business, there is a core team from Occupational Health and Safety who come to work each day to help people stay safe and well.

I’m joined by Bev Stone, Manager Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) to talk about the great strides her team has made.

Counties Manukau Health's shared vision is to work in partnership with its communities to improve the health status of all and to achieve health equity for our community.  To ensure we can deliver the quality care we aspire to provide, we must become increasingly committed to protecting the health and safety of our people and the environments in which they operate.   This is good business practice and makes for good health care delivery.

Health and safety professionals dread having to investigate a workplace fatality. Facing a family to answer questions about why their loved one isn’t coming home, is extremely painful especially when you encounter the catastrophic impact such an event has. The effect on the family and the workplace is devastating.

A safe working environment means we go home to our families after our work is done. It’s the driving force that gets the Occupational Health and Safety Service team up in the morning. We come to work knowing that we can make a difference to the safety of our working community.

The message we are tirelessly advocating is that Health and Safety is everyone’s business – at home and at work. Being aware of the environment around us, noticing the risks, and taking steps to keep ourselves and those around us safe - family, colleagues, and patients – should be so important that safety becomes second nature to us all. At CM Health you have the opportunity to make that difference by being engaged with your manager and your health and safety representative.

We are surrounded by the most amazingly dedicated and professional people. But tiredness, stress and being unwell can be triggers for accidents and it’s our individual responsibility to recognise them and act appropriately. The “Granny Test” can be applied to the way we work by simply asking if we would want our loved one undertaking a work task that is potentially unsafe “Would I ask my loved one to do this task?” You don’t need complex technical health and safety methodologies to guide you. The answer to this question will provide guidance and a pathway that will help you manage any risk you may face in the workplace.

I’ve been amazed at the feedback we receive which demonstrates just how much our people care for the people we serve in the South Auckland community. The dedication is admirable and inspirational. However, this also means that we sometimes put ourselves in harm’s way. Society has and is continuing to change. We need to be alert about how that translates into all our care settings and remind ourselves that we are not expected to work in an environment where we could be hurt.

This is an exciting time for Occupational Health and Safety as we move away from a compliance focus, to making a tangible difference to the safety, health and wellbeing of all who work at CM Health. We have leadership engagement, visibility and influence. There is no escaping that Health and Safety is to some extent about technical systems, processes and audits. However, it’s mostly about people, our people and our organisational values, strong leadership and risk management.

The OHS Service works toward a vision of reducing harm in the workplace and we do this with a focus on:

  • Leadership
  • Prevention
  • Employee empowerment
  • Health and Safety Performance Management

Delivering quality patient care means we have to become increasingly committed to protecting and supporting each other at work – whether that is in the hospital, a satellite location or the community.

In simple terms don’t wear the responsibility of putting yourself or others at risk. May I encourage you to take this journey with us, and make a difference to those in your care, those around you and for your loved ones?

Bev Stone and Ron Pearson (Acting CEO)

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