Worker health and safety focus lacking at the border

In News2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineFebruary 18, 2021

The New Zealand Institute of Health and Safety (NZISM), the country‘s largest health and safety professional body, is appealing for a more detailed overarching health and safety approach to be used at the border as Covid cases slip through the net and affect the country.

The NZISM says it hasn‘t been approached to provide advice and feels a valuable resource of high quality health and safety expertise, and practical measures, is being overlooked. 

Robyn Bennett, president of NZISM, says she is surprised and is lobbying for MiQ, the Government and all organisations, especially those at or close to the border, to apply a worker health and safety lens over all activities. 

“We are simply not being used enough to manage this very long term issue, at a time when it‘s never been more important.  

“Until now, an operational approach has been taken and on the whole it‘s worked. However, the obvious weaknesses need to be addressed to keep our good record and avoid undue stress and disruption to workers and communities. 

“This is the bread and butter of what we do every day – supporting better health and safety whether at border facilities, or any other organisation, this is no different.”  

Bennett says border management will continue to be paramount even when a vaccine arrives.  The risk is complacency as people who are vaccinated will let their guard down and could become a risk to others.

 “The vaccine will not be a failsafe – combining a vaccine roll-out with QR tracking and a tight border control, with health and safety at the heart of the process, is the most effective continued response. A strong health and safety response is imperative to ensure our continued success.”