As he lay on the forest floor for almost an hour after a forestry accident a lot went through Danny McBride’s mind.
“I pretty much knew straight away it was a spinal cord injury and not a lot I could do about it” he explained. "I thought about my three young kids and my partner at home and made a vow to myself then that I wanted to carry on and move forward. There was fear and pain because you still haven’t been found yet, but in that hour of waiting there was also basically time to grieve and come to grips with the situation.”
The day was January 27, 1999 and although it had started the same as many others had done during his six years in a commercial logging crew it unfortunately ended on a very different note. While walking between trees during daily tree felling duties he was struck by a rotten spar which had suddenly collapsed without warning. It hit him from behind flush in the back, fracturing his T12 vertebrae. Ironically, since the accident Danny hasn’t had time to sit down much. He’s represented New Zealand in wheelchair basketball and at the 2012 Paralympics as a single sculler in adaptive rowing. He’s also become one of the country’s leading innovators in the field of Health and Safety.
“After the accident I really wanted to make a difference and do everything I could to ensure what happened to me didn’t happen to anyone else. I’ve been involved in investigating too many serious harm accidents and fatalities over the years and have seen the damage that it does to families and the toll it takes on those involved,” he said.
He established his business LINKSAFE to meet the needs of contractors and small business owners throughout the country in their quest to get simple practical Health and Safety Management solutions from both a knowledge and experience point of view. With the recent introduction of the new Health and Safety at Work Act it’s a great opportunity to get started.
“Although we are qualified and formally registered, we approach it from grass roots level and make it understandable and reasonably enjoyable. We come from a working background in the primary sectors and being involved with staff and clients on that same level is what drives us. If we can help keep people safe and get them home to their families each day then we can ask for nothing more than that.”
No one goes to work expecting to get sick, injured or killed, but in New Zealand far too many people do. On average over 50 people die on the job every year and there are over 180,000 new claims occurring for all workplace injuries. Even more concerning, around 800 die each year from work related ill health such as tissue abnormalities, circulatory system failure and respiratory complications. Currently there is a $3.5 billion related social and economic cost for work-related injury and disease.
In 2013, Government announced its Working Safer reform package with the intent to reduce New Zealand’s workplace injury and death toll by 25% by 2020. In April 2016, The Health and Safety at Work Act was introduced (HWSA2015). This new Act will make the workplace responsible for all its participants and ensure there is effective risk management that will stand the test of time. It’s now time to start engaging your workers and those directly interacting with your workplace and business. The risk management of their participation alongside you is now required under the new legislation. If you can improve awareness, behaviours and attitudes, then ultimately you will change outcomes.
Fit and healthy people are productive and positive. Productivity combined with a positive attitude is essential for generating a successful business and Health and Safety culture. New Zealand has 2.2 million workers across 470,000 workplaces where 1.5 million work days are lost annually because of work-related injury. 1 in 10 workers are injured in the workplace. It makes good business sense to blueprint your Health and Safety management and enhance your productivity.
As a business owner you now have a very clear job description for Health and Safety management under the HSWA (2015). You are still charged with ensuring the safe day to day running of the business which hasn’t changed. What has changed is that there is now clear accountability for Officers of a company and set due diligence for ensuring a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) is putting in effective control measures for everyone to go home healthy and safe. It will take a bit of hard work but we reckon there’s nothing to fear or be overwhelmed by. This is regarded as a once in 20 year chance to achieve substantial improvements in the five priority sectors of agriculture, forestry, construction, manufacturing and fishing. With our help you can create your own legacy.
Right now, better than ever before, the timing’s perfect to take a bit of confusion and chaos and turn it into something positive!
The recent introduction of the new Health & Safety at Work Act gives you the perfect opportunity to start protecting yourself and your staff against harm in the workplace when you thought you never could. A chance to look forward rather than back, and we reckon there’s nothing to fear or be overwhelmed by. What hasn’t happened in the past no longer matters. Everyone has a role to play and it will be good for business.
With over 30 years as contractors and owners in the farm and forestry sector, LINKSAFE understands where you are coming from and speaks a language you can understand. It’s a change of attitude and a new way of thinking and we can get you started and support you as much or as little as you want along the way.
Our systems work and put you where you want to be as we transfer our skills to give you the choice of full independence or an ongoing shared partnership.
So far as is Reasonably Practicable you will provide and maintain a work environment that is without risks to Health and Safety.