Behaviour-based approach

The Safety Star rating is a behaviour-based assessment which differs from a traditional document review compliance audit. This has been well received by participating businesses.

“I thought they had a mature approach towards the auditing process which took it beyond a tick box exercise,” said a manager from Project Management company Arrow International.

“They talked to a lot of people to get the real story. It was definitely more behaviour focused than other audits we’ve participated in” said Kristina Wischnowsky from Corbel Construction.

Continual improvement

During the onsite assessment the team develops a good understanding of the health and safety strengths and weaknesses of a business– meaning they can provide tailored recommendations and practical guidance.

Participants have said that the assessment team is focused on helping the business improve their health and safety performance.

“The assessors seem knowledgeable and were easy to deal with,” said another manager at Arrow International, “The onsite report had a lot of useful recommendations which Arrow should look at which include getting the subcontractors and clients involved more in reviewing processes.”

At Corbel Construction, the recommendations will form part of the annual safety plan. “We’re taking the recommendations and making things better” said Kristina

Work-related health risks

The SSR assessment process identified a number of businesses managing safety risks well but who were overlooking work-related health risks. That’s an issue as work-related health is responsible for ten times the number of annual work-related fatalities than safety risks.

Arrow International found that the assessment process identified tangible areas where health and safety improvements could be made, especially around work-related health risks.

“I really enjoyed taking part in the Safety Star Rating. It highlighted areas where we are doing well in regards to risk management, and where we need to do more work around long term health issues,” said one of the managers at Arrow.

Gaps in awareness

A trend is emerging that businesses judge their own health and safety performance higher in the online self-assessment, than the SSR assessors do conducting independent on-site assessments. It seems that businesses are not always aware of what constitutes good health and safety practice or what they need to do to improve performance.

There is also a difference between how senior leaders view health and safety in their organisation and what happens in practice. Despite the will and intent of the leadership team, there can be gaps in reality.

This view is consistent with the findings of the Deloitte and the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum report(external link) ‘Are we as safe as we want to be?’ This 2016 report found a clear commitment to health and safety among CEOs but revealed an unintentional gap between this commitment and day-to-day practices. Similar findings were highlighted in the 2014 Nielsen survey of workers and employers(external link) where there was mismatch between workers’ and employers’ perceptions of what happens in the workplace.

Engage contractors in health and safety

Another theme emerging from the pilot is a low level of engagement with externally-sourced contractors and sub-contractors on health and safety matters. This is particularly evident in the construction sector where contractors can make up a large part of the workforce. The impact varies depending on the nature of the business but some organisations could achieve significant health and safety gains if contractors are more robustly considered in health and safety matters

What happens after the pilot

The pilot will finish at the end of June. A full evaluation is being conducted by an independent research company. The pilot will be a key input into future decisions by Ministers of Workplace Relations and Safety and ACC about whether to implement the Safety Star Rating initiative and in what shape or form.

More information

We’ve updated our website with new SSR resources and information including useful examples of key health and safety risks across sectors.

We’ll continue to keep you updated once the pilot finishes. If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to email the team info@safeplus.nz