NZ On-Hire Industry puts safety first

Published: Thu 8 May 2008 12:45 AM
NZ On-Hire Industry puts safety first with WorkPro endorsement
WorkPro, a centralised online induction training system, developed specifically for the on-hire recruitment industry, has received endorsement from the New Zealand On-Hire Industry Forum as the minimum standard for Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) training.
Andrew McComish, WorkPro’s Business Manager in New Zealand, said endorsement by the Forum, which consists of representatives from the Department of Labour (OHS), ACC (Workers Comp), the RCSA (Recruitment and Consulting Services Association) AWUNZ (Employee Union and the Building Union), as well as other industry players, is a significant step forward for the prevention of workplace injury in New Zealand.
“The On-Hire Industry Forum agreed it is essential for the employment services industry in New Zealand to provide employees with a consistent standard of basic induction and information and training which is relevant to various industry sectors. It found WorkPro covers a number of industry-specific needs, while meeting legislative requirements,”Mr McComish said.
“Unclear laws and discrepancies among employers, candidates and recruiters about OHS requirements make it difficult for people to know what is right and wrong, increasing the cases which come before the courts.
“WorkPro provides employers with an approved standard of training, which will help them meet their legal compliance obligations, but also improve their employer brand proposition by demonstrating their commitment to best practice and the safety of employees,” Mr McComish,said.
Mr McComish alluded to the recent bullying case which came before the courts in Auckland, which demonstrated the importance of on-hire agencies meeting their Equal Opportunity training obligations.
The case involved an on-hire worker at a timber mill site provoking a client employee who was operating a fork-lift by shouting rude comments and throwing gloves at his face. This led to physical violence between the two employees and resulted in both workers being dismissed by the employer.
The employer was later taken to court by the client employee for unjustified dismissal. The client employee was awarded compensation as it was decided that he was defending himself from the on-hire employee who initiated the fight.
“While it’s not always possible to control an employees actions there are several steps you can take to minimise risk. In this instance an in-depth induction such as WorkPro’s Safety and Equality in OHS module may have prevented the on-hire worker from initiating the fight. The module combines on-hired employee safety and discrimination, bullying and harassment information,”Mr McComish said.
When an OHS incident ends up in court, prosecutors will inevitably focus on whether an on-hire employee has been given a general induction from the agency before commencing work. WorkPro gives employers and recruiters’ confidence that their legal risks are being considered allowing the users to fully track and report the completion of a candidate’s induction, whilst providing a profile of the candidate’s induction history.
Forum members were impressed by the simplicity of WorkPro’s training modules and agreed that five minute inductions that some recruiters are currently using does not properly educate employees about their rights and responsibilities on-the-job.
“The Forum members also recommended WorkPro as it is the only safety and EEO training system designed specifically for the on-hire industry, it makes inductions time efficient and is achievable to implement at a minimal cost to agencies.

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