Government changes and your business

Government changes and your business

Now that things have settled with our new government we can expect them to get on with the business of running the country.

Labour being Labour will have a focus on workers more so than business, subtly different to National's approach which is slightly more biased towards businesses.

Labour understands that businesses employ people, so they are not going to be completely feral about their approach, but it is going to be more focused on workers and more specifically to this article, more focused on worker safety.

What does this mean for you?

It is going to result in more focus on businesses operating more safely. It is going to bring both more compliance and more incentives to be safer.

Reviewing the Alcoa experience in the 90's there's merit in focusing on worker safety. Alcoa is one of the largest aluminium smelting and manufacturing companies in the world.

The Alcoa experience was a significant one when it comes to H&S. With the primary focus on H&S, they significantly improved the injury rate for their workers, to be expected when you focus on worker safety.

The astounding impact was the significant improvement in productivity and product quality. This translated to a five-fold increase in the value of the company and dividends paid over the time.

I raise this as Labour will be reading the same report that we have, productivity per head of population in New Zealand has stagnated, hasn't moved for some time.

A renewed focus on worker safety, will both improve worker safety and improve productivity. Huh? Yes, there's a two-fold flow-on effect.

Improve worker safety, and you have fewer injuries, making businesses more productive with reduced absenteeism. That is the simple one.

The more complex one, which often applies to bigger businesses, is the review of worker safety highlights dangerous practices, processes, and equipment. These reviews, while costly in dollars and time initially, will play out as long-term drivers of increased productivity, quality and profits.

It sounds like I am softening you up...

To a point yes, understanding the upsides of a focus on worker safety will help you when the government implements a more focused approach to this area, and they will.

We think this more focused approach is going to take a couple of specific directions, involving WorkSafe and ACC.

With WorkSafe we are expecting to see a push to ensure all businesses comply with the new laws, that means having and being able to prove you have a working Health & Safety system in your business. We are hearing this already for December and January with a WorkSafe blitz planned.

The second part to WorkSafe is going to involve more random inspections and a much harder push on work-related injuries. WorkSafe will be following up on unreported injuries and targeting businesses that have a more significant number of industries than their peers. All of this is fully searchable from ACC's information systems. Yes, it is a big job, at the same time for the right people, it is not a big challenge either.

The other side of the equation is ACC. They will be increasing their reporting to WorkSafe, and they will also be incentivising businesses to improve worker safety, and this will be a financial advantage to you.

Why involve Willowgrove Consulting?

For two reasons:

  • We can help you implement a cost-effective, compliant Health and Safety system in your business. Avoiding the threats of $10,000-$50,000 fines we have seen businesses presented with when they do not have a compliant system in place. Part of our service, we will also ensure it remains compliant with regular follow up. No extra cost to you.
  • The second is, by being an existing client, as soon as we have clarity on the new incentives from ACC we will be in a prime position to help you take full advantage as quickly as possible.

The other reasons, as the manager of your business risks, we can cover other areas of your business risks that other businesses struggle to do. Both in the areas of general business insurance and people insurance, as well as ACC levy structuring, claims and rehabilitation if you do have injuries and disabilities to deal with.

Want a frank discussion about your business risk management with cost-effective, practical solutions, give us a call.

Jon-Paul Hale

Written by : Jon-Paul Hale

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