Road Safety During the Festive Season

The health and safety of your team doesn’t stop when they leave the workplace. While you may not be responsible for your team’s wellbeing outside of work, reminding them to stay safe during the vacation break will help ensure your workforce is fit, healthy and ready to return to work after the New Year.

We’ve compiled a few useful summer road safety reminders below. Flick them around your team before you finish up for the 2019 Christmas break!

Summer Road Safety

Drivers should take extra care when travelling in holiday periods due to increased traffic volumes, fatigue and people driving in unfamiliar environments.

Other factors that can increase your risk on the road over the holidays, according to the New Zealand Transport Agency, include:

  • Increased stress from factors such as heat, traffic jams and noisy children
  • Decreased road safety vigilance (speeding, driving when tired, not buckling up) when people are in holiday mode
  • Increased instances of drink-driving

How to be Road Safe this Summer

Whether you’re nipping a few suburbs over to visit family and friends, or taking a longer trip to explore some of New Zealand’s beautiful sights, it’s important to give the road the attention and respect it deserves this summer.

Plan Ahead

  • Take just a few minutes to make sure your vehicle is safe before beginning your journey
  • Plan your driving to avoid the worst peak traffic periods, when many highways become congested
  • Allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Take plenty of rest stops make the drive part of your holiday

Have Your Vehicle Checked

Book in a pre-Christmas check or service with your mechanic. Most garages also offer safety checks for tyre tread and pressure, lights, brakes and cooling systems. A well-tuned vehicle is more fuel efficient, so planning head will save you money on fuel costs in the long run.

Pack Smarter

When packing your vehicle for a trip away, ensure everything is securely stowed. Loose objects can become dangerous projectiles in the event of a sudden stop or crash (even relatively small items), so take care to secure all of your family’s gear.

Drive to the Conditions

Driving to the conditions is vital – but it doesn’t only refer to the weather. When driving to the conditions, consider: 

  • The road you’re on
  • Traffic congestion
  • Your vehicle and load
  • Your alertness – if you’re tired, this will affect your driving

Be Mindful of Fatigue

Fatigue can be deadly when you’re driving. Plan to get enough rest before you set out on the road, and take regular breaks throughout your trip. Stop at rest areas to take in the view and stretch your legs, or take a couple of half-hour sojourns at one of the towns on your route to grab a coffee and a bite to eat.

Be Courteous and Keep Your Cool

Holiday driving can be frustrating when the roads are busy, the temperature rises, and out-of-town travellers drive slower to check road signs. One of the most important aspects of summer vacation driving is to be courteous to other drivers, and to keep any signs of travel stress in check.

  • Keep left unless passing
  • Be courteous and let others drivers merge into traffic
  • Remember to indicate before turning or changing lanes
  • If you’re on an unfamiliar road and driving a little slower, pull over when you can to let others pass
  • Be patient with other drivers on the road, including trucks and towing vehicles who have lower speed limits
  • Don’t be provoked by other drivers’ aggressive behaviour
  • Never overtake unless it’s safe to do so. When traffic is busy, wait for a passing lane
  • Keep an eye out for cyclists and give them plenty of space
  • On country roads, be mindful of rural traffic (such as tractors) and horses

Remember the Two-Second Rule

Always keep a safe following distance between your car and the vehicle in front. This gives you a safe stopping distance should the vehicle in front of you stop suddenly.

Watch Out for Summer ‘Ice’

Few drivers have heard of summer ice, but it’s a hazard that is common over the Christmas and New Year period – resulting in conditions similar to the black ice experienced in winter.

During long dry spells, dust, dirt, oil and other materials can build up on the road’s surface. When it rains, the road surface becomes greasy – making it very slippery. Even a little rain after several days of dry weather can trigger these conditions, creating a potential danger for unsuspecting drivers.

If the road is wet after a long dry spell, be summer ice smart by:

  • Allowing extra travel time
  • Reducing your speed
  • Taking extra care on curves
  • Increasing your following distance from vehicles in front of you
  • Braking and steering gently

Find more driver safety information and tips via the New Zealand Transport Agency website.

SkyCity Fire Highlights Importance of Managing Exposure to Airborne Contaminants

Following last month’s SkyCity fire, air quality experts have estimated the event caused a spike in particulate levels in Queen St air to more than five times national air quality standards. Smoke from the fire carried a combination of particles, burnt bitumen, wood smoke, and smoke from other building materials – resulting in tiny toxic particles potentially being drawn into the lungs and blood vessels of Aucklanders exposed. 

The event and subsequent air quality research serves as a timely reminder of the hazards of particulate spikes, which, at that level, could increase the risk of stroke, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. It also highlights the importance of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) for New Zealand workers who may be exposed to harmful substances, such as isocyanates, dusts and asbestos.

TriEx offers a variety of air quality and related health services, including lung function testing and Respirator Fit Testing and education.


Spirometry is an office test measuring lung function by testing the amount of air you inhale, how much air you exhale and how fast you exhale. It’s useful in diagnosing breathing conditions by measuring the speed your lungs can be filled and emptied of air – giving an indication of how well your lungs are performing.

TriEx offers lung function tests – including spirometry – for employees who are exposed to contaminants in the air that could affect lung function.

What does Lung Function Testing Include?

  • Assessment of the employee’s past and present air contaminant history (includes recreational)

Full diagnostic Spirometry

Explanation of the results to the employee

Education on responsibility to protect

Assessment of their respiratory protection to comply with your annual audit of PPE

Lung Function Testing Helps You:

  • Identify employees at risk from hazardous air contaminants in the workplace
  • Comply with the ‘Approved Code of Practice for the Safe Use of Isocyanates’ and ‘Workplace Exposure Standards’
  • Take necessary action with regard to respiratory protection

What can Employees Expect During Their Test?

Spirometry tests are straightforward and will usually only take around 15 minutes. The test involves taking a full breath in and blowing out with your best effort into a tube attached to the spirometer machine.

To ensure accuracy, the test will be performed three times, and employees will be asked to:

  • Breathe in as deeply as they can
  • Seal their lips around the mouthpiece
  • Blow out as hard and fast as they can, and keep going as long as possible.

Spirometry tests may cause employees to feel a bit puffed, but usually it is not uncomfortable.  

If your workers are likely to be exposed to airborne contaminants, you will need to undertake air monitoring for chemical and dust exposure.

Respirator Fit Testing

Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) is a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) that guards workers from breathing in substances hazardous to health. 

Airborne substances harmful to health can be in found dust, mist, vapour or gas form, and employees may or may not be able to see these in the air. Common health effects from breathing hazardous substances may include headaches, forgetfulness, drowsiness, feeling dizzy and sick, mood changes, and eye and skin irritation. Effects can be short and long-term, with long-term effects including sleep disorders, memory loss, cancer, organ damage, fertility problems and death. 

If anyone in your team wears Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) then as the PCBU you must provide information, training or instruction on how to correctly use, wear, store and maintain the RPE.

RPE Fit Testing Requirements

Fit testing is required by AS/NZS 1715 before a respirator is worn in the workplace to ensure workers are wearing properly fitting RPE, with an effective seal to the face. 

A fit test should be conducted:

  • Upon the issue of RPE, 
  • Whenever a different size, style, model or make of respirator is used
  • When any facial changes occur that could affect fit, such as significant weight changes or significant dental work

RPE fit tests should also be conducted at least annually to ensure fit remains correct. TriEx recommends fit testing alongside annual health monitoring, where our Occupational Health Nurses discuss respiratory history and exposure history an perform lung function testing.

What is Involved in RPE Fit Testing?

TriEx carries out Qualitative Fit Testing for half face respirators used in environments where the hazard is less than 10 times the workplace exposure standard.

A sensitivity test is completed without RPE under a hood. The RPE is then worn and either a bitter or sweet solution is introduced whilst the worker carries out a variety of activities for one minute each including:

  • Normal breathing
  • Deep breathing
  • Moving head side to side
  • Moving head up and down
  • Bending over (or jogging in place)
  • Talking
  • Normal breathing again

RPE Education

Education is given as part of TriEx’s RPE Fit Testing service. This education includes care and maintenance of respiratory equipment and how to fit check RPE.

Contact TriEx today to learn more about lung function testing and RPE fit testing and education. Our experts can advise you on the most appropriate services to meet your business needs.

Customised Posters

Gallagher Bassett have launched a Poster Designer tool on the GB website. This online tool helps employers promote health and safety in their workplace using dozens of customisable posters. 

Poster Designer is a free online tool which allows employers to run targeted health and safety campaigns in their workplace. This is achieved through customising posters covering many of the most important health and safety challenges organisations face.

Currently there are posters covering injury prevention, mental health, office health and safety and self care. The posters will be updated regularly and users can also submit their own ideas for posters 

To start customising posters for your workplace click here

Fatigue Management info/HASANZ Conference update

HASANZ Conference Update

In September, some of our team members attended the HASANZ conference. Steph Hembury, our Safety Advisor, was very impressed with the event and has the following Fatigue Management information to share:

One of the many highlights of the HASANZ Conference was the presentation on Fatigue Risk Management that Dr Drew Dawson (Director of the Appleton Institute in Adelaide) gave. He presented an overview of some of the best ways to manage workplace fatigue, exploring where the line should be drawn between personal and corporate responsibilities.

Fatigue Management

It’s only recently that we’ve begun to understand the risk posed by fatigue in the workplace and Dr Drew Dawson (Director of the Appleton Institute in Adelaide) gave a presentation at the recent HASANZ Conference in Wellington on some of the best ways to manage workplace fatigue, exploring where the line should be drawn between personal and corporate responsibilities.

Some of the key take away points of use for both PCBU’s and Workers are highlighted below.

Fatigue Management involves:

  • Policies/responsibilities
  • Risk assessment
  • Hazard control/action plans
  • Training and education
  • Ongoing review and improvement

Joint Responsibility for Fatigue

Because work-related causes of fatigue are largely under the control of the organisation and non-work related factors are controlled by individual employees, both have a responsibility for managing fatigue.


Download more information here which shows in detail how you can manage fatigue at your workplace


Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA)

Today marks the day that New Zealand’s health & safety laws are changing for the better – for everyone.
We’ll be bringing you helpful & important information about the new Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) throughout this month. In the mean time, WorkSafe NZ has a great section on their website about Understanding HSWA – you can view it here

The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle

New Zealand’s new health and safety legislation will become law in April 2016.

Unfortunately there are still numerous businesses (PCBU’s under the new legislation) that cannot say with confidence that they are compliant under the current legislation let alone the new. Are you one?

Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility, therefore, systems and procedures should be developed to provide a structure by which health and safety can be managed in an organisation.

One internationally recognised process for implementing this is the Plan, Do Check, Act (PDCA) system.

This approach achieves a balance between the systems and behavioural aspects of management. It also treats health and safety management as an integral part of good management generally, rather than as a stand-alone system.

The PDCA cycle is something you may need to go round more than once if you are first starting out in implementing a health and safety management system, delivering a new process/service, or implementing a change.


Top level management commitment is required for good reason; without it, implementation of your health and safety management system won’t be as successful and neither will the results. However, don’t overlook the importance of engaging the entire workforce. Whether it is reducing the likelihood of accidents in the workplace or a fresh challenge, consider what would motivate them.

Consider where you are now compared to where you need to be, based on legal requirements and benchmarking i.e. ACC WSMP accreditation. You will then need to decide what action will need to be taken to reach the point.

The entire planning process should be documented, with clarity on who will be responsible for what, how success will be measured and the expected timescales.

AS/NZ4801 Occupational Health & Safety Management System provides generic assistance for establishing, implementing or improving an occupational health and safety management system. There are also numerous guides and handbooks available.


Now is the time to assess the risks, identifying what could cause harm, to who and how. This is then followed by what you will do to manage the risks.
Ultimately, you must decide what the priorities are and identify the biggest risks. It’s worth noting that the standard is pragmatic – it uses the words ‘reasonably practicable,’ meaning action is not expected if it would be grossly disproportioned in terms of cost, time or trouble.

Simply walking around the workplace with a pen and clipboard isn’t an effective way of achieving engagement from colleagues. You should look to involve workers, communicate why you’re implementing this methodology and openly discuss issues, inviting feedback with an aim to develop positive attitudes.
Especially within bigger companies, colleagues can help bring to light less obvious issues and easy ways of rectifying them. This could involve ensuring people have the right tools to do the job, keeping machines well maintained or holding refresher training to ensure people remain competent.


Plans are all very well, but it’s important that these plans are then implemented. How are you doing against your aims? Are those new ideas working? An internal audit is therefore necessary to ensure things are going well.

If accidents or ‘near misses’ are still happening, it’s important to find out why these were missed at the Plan and Do stages and – of course – a resolution needs to be found.


By now, you should know if your system is effective in managing risk and protecting staff. Learn from accidents and incidents, ill-health data, errors and relevant experience, including from other organisations similar to your own.

If you do find any issues, the next step is to take action – the reaction somewhat shows how effective engagement has been, as it’s likely you will need a response from management and workforce alike. Plans, policy documents and risk assessments may need updating accordingly.

When it comes to achieving your goal i.e. WSMP accreditation, internal audits are an ongoing requirement. It is therefore wise to go over the more problematic issues more regularly to both reduce risk and ensure your annual audit, whether undertaken internally or by an external body, goes well.

If you have any queries or questions concerning your current health and safety management system, or wish to speak to a health and safety professional, email

Risk Management Workshop June 2015

Risk Management for Good Governance

The Health and Safety Reform Bill 2014 will become law in mid-2015 and will be called the Health and Safety at Work Act (HASAWA).


Following on from the Guidelines for Company Directors on their health and safety responsibilities it is important that PCBU’s (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) understand that the effective management of all risks not just health and safety ones is going to be critical to good overall governance.

Whether you are a Sole Trader or have a Board of Directors you should be aware of the following documents from the Standards New Zealand website

  • AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management: principles and guidelines;
  • SA/SNZ HB 89: 2013 Risk Management – Guidelines on risk assessment techniques

The International Standard provides principles and generic guidelines on risk management and can be used by any public, private or community enterprise, association, group or individual so is not specific to any industry or sector.

The Standard can be applied to a wide range of activities, including strategies and decisions, operations, processes, functions, projects, products, services and assets and can be applied to any type of risk, whatever its nature, whether having positive or negative consequences.

‘Due Diligence’ – are you ready to exercise yours?

On 24th June, TriEx will be hosting a short workshop based training course for Directors and Officers, which will help you answer such questions in relation to your role as a director.

Your facilitator Chris Pearce will take you through what the law says and suggest some ways of achieving due diligence. You will debate those ideas, suggest other ideas you could use and hear the ideas of others.
By the end of the workshop you should understand the new duties of directors and other officers and have a range of workable ideas you can implement over the coming months. You will also take away contacts with fellow directors with whom you can develop further ideas.

Chris Pearce
Chris was born and educated in the UK. He has a BSc with Honours in Environmental Health and an MSc in Risk Management, both from Aston University and is currently researching the effectiveness of risk assessments at Victoria University in Wellington.
He has gained wide experience as a consultant, risk manager and trainer in New Zealand, the UK, USA and other countries. In 2003 he established Risk Management Limited, an independent risk management consultancy, and taught risk management part-time at Massey University 2007-2012.

Since 2007 Chris has been a member of the joint standards committee, OB007, that wrote the original risk management standard and risk handbooks published by Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand. He now represents the New Zealand Institute of Safety Management on that committee and QR005, dependability.

Chris is a member of Risk NZ, the Society for Risk Analysis, New Zealand Institute of Safety Management and a Chartered Fellow of the UK Institution of Occupational Safety and Health.

Further information about the course can be downloaded here or please contact Brenda on (03) 341 4080 or email, if you wish to pre-book a place as these will be limited.

ACC Experience Rating & Levy Incentive Programmes


Experience Rating 

In April 2011 ACC introduced the experience rating system which is a more insurance-based model of adjusting individual business ACC worked levies based on their actual claims history. Experience Rating is intended to reward business owners who are able to achieve injury rates lower than the average for their Levy group, and achieve better than average return to work rates for their Levy group for employees actually sustaining injuries.

Experience rating applies to all employers, the self-employed, and non-PAYE shareholder employees who pay WorkCover levies to ACC. Employers who participate in the ACC Partnership Program are excluded. Experience rating is applied in two different ways based on the levies payable. The Experience Rating Program applies where the annual work levy exceeds $10,000 per annum over a three-year period; the No Claims Discount program applies where the annual work levy over the three-year period is less than $10,000.

In each program the levy can be adjusted upwards or downwards based on claims history.

In the Experience Rating Program employers who paid more than $10,000 per annum in levies over the three-year experience period could receive a discount or an increase of up to 50% of their work account levy.  Adjustments are based on the businesses own workplace safety record, with two components:

  • the number of weekly compensation days paid
  • the number of claims was medical costs greater than $500
  • any fatal claim
    These costs account for up to 35% of the increase or discount
  • the business’s performance is compared to the claim histories over the same experience period of similar sized businesses in similar industries.
    This accounts for up to 15% of the increase or discount

In the No Claims Discount Program (businesses, including self-employed, who paid a levy of less than $10,000 for all or part of the three-year experience period) adjustments are:

  • a 10% discount if no weekly compensation days paid
  • a 10% increase if more than 70 weekly compensation days paid, or any fatal claim
  • no change if between one and 70 weekly compensation days were paid
  • no comparisons are made with other businesses in the same levy group

There are many costs impacting on claims and payable by ACC that employers are often unaware of. This includes liability for earnings related compensation of 80% of all the earnings of the injured claimant including earnings from multiple jobs. All earnings are aggregated for the purposes of establishing the entitlement and recorded as a claim against the employer for whom the employee was working at the time of injury. This could amount in total to more than the actual earnings paid by that employer to the employee.

Claims costs associated with workplace fatalities include survivor grants and earnings related compensation (ERC) payments to dependents of the deceased. These include:

  • lump-sum survivor grant to spouse/partner of $4702 – payment is shared if more than one dependent spouse/partner
  • lump-sum survivor grant payment to each dependent child under 18 of $2351
  • lump-sum survivor grant payment to any other dependent, of $2351
  • 60% of ERC compensation payable to the deceased had they been incapacitated only and not died, payable to dependent spouse/partners for 5 years
  • 20% of ERC compensation payable to the deceased had they been incapacitated only and not died, payable to each dependent child until they turn 18 years or are no longer dependent.
  • Weekly lump-sum payments for dependent children for childcare until the child turns 14.
  • Funeral grants up to $4500.

ACC’s costs in meeting these claims are registered against the employer for whom the employee was working at the time of injury / death. This means long-term claims will continue to impact on employer levy loadings long after the initial event.

The rationale for the introduction of Experience Rating is to incentivise businesses to work proactively to prevent workplace injuries, and where injuries do occur to assist employees to return to work as quickly and safely as possible.

In addition to Experience Rating discounts employers can enter the levy discount incentive schemes WSMP and WSD to secure additional levy reductions.


Small to medium sized enterprises (or larger) of approximately 20 FTEs or more are encouraged to enter the WSMP scheme. Injury prevention and health and safety management procedures that are assessed by audit as meeting AS/NZS 4801:2001 can receive 10%, 15%, 20% reduction in levy depending on the level of conformance with the standard they meet. Conformance is assessed by audit either by an ACC injury prevention consultant or an independent ACC approved auditor. The ACC auditor costs are met by ACC; the independent auditor costs are met by the employer. Reasons for paying an independent auditor as opposed to requesting an ACC auditor are a) the ability to your business type, and b) the likelihood that any recommendations for improvement made are more objective and relevant to on-site health and safety management rather than purely meeting audit standards. Entry to the programme is achieved through an initial audit, usually at primary or secondary level (10% or 15% rebate). Continuation is maintained through successful two yearly renewal audits where the discount level can increase to 20%, or be reduced if standards have slipped and evidence of best practice is not verifiable. Discounts are applied in the month following a successful audit.


Workplace Safety Discounts (WSD) is a scheme aimed at small businesses to encourage proactive health and safety management at a basic level. The scheme has recently been widened from 5 high risk industry sectors to include all industry sectors. Applicants need to submit documented evidence of Hazard Management processes, Employee Competency Training, Accident / Incident Recording, Reporting and Investigation, Emergency Procedures. Application can be made online. Accepted applications automatically qualify for a 10% levy reduction valid for three years. ACC randomly selects 5% of applicants to undergo a quality control audit conducted by an approved auditor either by telephone or site visit.

All businesses should consider entering a levy discount scheme appropriate to their size. Discounts received will typically cover Health and Safety System implementation costs within two years. Large enterprises could recover implementation costs in much shorter timeframes.

TriEx Health Safety and Wellness Ltd have the specialist expertise and resources to assist employers to develop, implement and review the health and safety processes, procedures and records necessary to enter the levy incentive programmes.

For further information please contact our Safety Manager Robert Acutt on (03) 343 2997 or

Executive Leadership and Responsibilities of Directors

“An organisation will never be able to achieve the highest standards of health and safety management without the active involvement of directors. External stakeholders viewing the organisation will observe the lack of direction.”

“Health and safety is integral to success. Board members who do not show leadership in this area are failing in their duty as directors and their moral duty, and are damaging their organisation.” Ref: Institute of Directors / Health and Safety Executive UK – Health and Safety Guidelines for Company Directors.

Legislation in both Australia and New Zealand clearly places duties on those who control organisations to ensure required standards of compliance are achieved. NZ’s Health and Safety in Employment Act requires those with duties under the Act to take “all practicable steps” to ensure those duties are fulfilled. In respect of Directors their liability at present is directly linked to the extent to which it could be established that they knew of, or acquiesced in, the failure to take all practicable steps to manage health and safety risks, or conversely failed to exercise due diligence to ensure that those health and safety risks were being effectively identified and managed.

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