Evolution of SafePlus
New Zealand has an unacceptably high rate of serious workplace injury, illness and fatality. The social and economic cost of people being killed and hurt in New Zealand workplaces is conservatively estimated at $3.5 billion each year, and inflicts an enormous emotional toll on the people affected.
SafePlus, previously known as ‘The Safety Star Rating’ has been developed by WorkSafe New Zealand, ACC and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to help improve workplace health and safety in New Zealand.
It is the outcome of several years of development and testing work, after an injury prevention initiative was recommended by the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety.
In 2013 this initiative was proposed to be a recognition and reward tool. Based on input from the health and safety sector and feedback from businesses, it has evolved to become a toolkit - providing education, guidance and advice on how to improve health and safety performance. The pilot findings reinforced this change.
Market testing confirmed businesses were more interested in an educative performance improvement toolkit that provided them with the ‘how to’ factor than a star rating scheme.
Between November 2015 and June 2016, 95 businesses took part in a pilot to test the proposed tool. Each business completed an online self-assessment exercise against the performance requirements, and 38 of the businesses also participated in an Independent Onsite Assessment and Advisory Service.
A Research New Zealand independent evaluation found businesses thought the tool focused on the right issues, was an effective assessment method, provided good advice, and had the ability to drive improvement. It also identified parts of the tool that needed improvement.
Research and findings
Pilot case studies
These findings helped to refine the toolkit. For example, the 15 standards tested in the pilot were simplified into 10. The name ‘standards’ has changed to ‘performance requirements’ to better reflect what they are – requirements to achieve good health and safety performance – and to distance the toolkit from compliance audit language.