The Canterbury Safety Charter: Beyond the Rebuild

It has been another great year for the Canterbury Safety Charter – they’ve had a lot to celebrate.

In June the Charter took out the supreme award winner at the New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards. It won the WorkSafe New Zealand/ACC best overall contribution to improving workplace health and safety in New Zealand.

The award recognises the huge success of the Charter and all the work that those involved, both past and present, have put into rebuilding Canterbury safely. The Charter also won the ACC award for the best leadership of an industry sector or region.

The Charter’s member organisations range includes small and large construction companies, government organisations, unions and NGOs, and was developed in the early days of the rebuild to ensure everyone goes home safely every night.

It sets the standards for a consistent and collective approach to health and safety on Canterbury worksites. Everyone knows what’s expected of them, and what they have to do to keep themselves and others safe.

Despite expectations of one to two fatalities a year and a lot more serious harm incidents during the rebuild, there have been zero deaths on construction sites in the rebuild area since the Charter was launched in 2013.

The Charter has helped its members raise their standards of health and safety, and in doing so, helped prevent people from being killed or seriously injured.

The Charter has taken steps to ensure that construction in Canterbury continues to benefit from all the learning that comes from its collaborative membership base.

In September the Charter became an Incorporated Society and took on a new name – the Canterbury Safety Charter – removing the word “rebuild” to better reflect their continued work into the future.

The Society is now governed by a board who come from a mix of industry, union and government.

It will also employ its own staff and manage their finances. The Charter’s vision, however, remains the same: to ensure that everyone who works in construction in Canterbury comes home safe and healthy every night.

The Charter wins supreme H&S award

The Canterbury Rebuild Safety Charter has taken overall honours at this year’s New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards.

Encompassing small businesses and large, the Charter’s influence is being felt as far away as the Auckland building boom, and its approach has been closely studied by sectors outside construction who themselves wish to make significant cultural change.

A total of 15 awards were presented at a gala dinner at Skycity Convention Centre in Auckland, where an audience of more than 600 celebrated the achievements of a wide variety of successful health and safety initiatives.

The awards, which began in 2005 and supported by WorkSafe New Zealand, are judged by a panel of five representing WorkSafe, ACC, NZ Council of Trade Unions, Safeguard, and an industry health and safety practitioner.

Convenor of judges, Peter Bateman says the winning initiatives displayed excellent thinking to tackle a wide range of different risks.

“Great initiatives seldom arise out of a focus on legal compliance. These winners contributed to operational excellence and made good businesses better, and in doing so significantly reduced the risk of harm to people.”

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