In a meeting held by the World Health Organisation (WHO) collaborating Centres in Beijing, Peoples’ Republic of China on 14th October 1994, WHO’s Global Strategy for “Occupational Health for All” was discussed and adopted. Conscious of the immediate need for the production and application of workplace health and safety, the participants in the meeting adopted the strategy mainly due to the apparent rapid shifts in workplace cultures and behaviours that greatly impinged on workers’ health and life. In addition, these changes in workplace and work life had been observed to affect the local and global environment. In addition to adopting this WHO strategy on occupational health, the meeting also adopted a proposal for the course of action for the implementation of the same strategy (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2001). In attendance at the meeting were twenty-seven countries, represented by thirty one collaborating centres. One of the countries was Switzerland. The organisers of the meeting included but were not limited to the WHO, International Labour Organisation (ILO), The United Nations Development Programme, the Institute of Occupational Medicine of the Chinese Academy of Preventive Health, the WHO Workers’ Health Programme and the International Commission on Occupational Health.
A priority issue at the meeting was health at work. According to the available data by then, it was estimated that about 100 million workers are injured annually at the workplace while about 200,000 die annually in occupational accidents (International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour IPEC), (2011). In addition, the WHO reported that between 68 million and 157 million cases of occupational diseases are caused by hazardous exposures at the workplaces or workloads. These statistics obviously negatively affect the health of world population. In fact, the roles and effects of occupational injuries and diseases are found to be more profound in developing countries in which 70% of the world’s working population lives. Due to their impacts the health and well being of workers, occupational injuries and diseases negatively impact the productivity and socio-economic well being of workers across all industries. These detrimental effects extend even to the friends, families and dependants of the directly affected workers. In many countries, estimates show that the socioeconomic costs of workplace and work-related injuries and diseases affecting worker health and productivity amount to several percentage of the total gross national products of the affected countries. These estimates not only cover the formal workshop, which on average covers between 50% and 60% of a country’s population but also the informal and work-at-home sectors (Abrams, 2001).
Besides such meetings, the constitution of organisations such as the WHO, ILO’s conventions on occupational health and safety and occupational health services are the other organisations and principles that highlight the fundamentality of worker health, safety and well being and the right of each worker to the highest and attainable standards of safety and health. For this worker right and other related objectives to be achieved at different workplaces, employers and government agencies should ensure that workers access occupational health and safety services (Winkelmann, 2000). These services should be accessed one’s health, gender, sex, race, occupation, nationality, location and type of employment notwithstanding. Despite the numerous positive strides made in the efforts to design and implement occupational safety and health programs and policies, a lot still needs to be done since challenges such as physical, psychological, biological and chemical barriers abound (Winkelmann, 2000). Due to these challenges, workplace accidents and diseases continue to endanger the lives and health of workers across countries and industries.
Currently, some industries and countries report more serious occupational health and safety indicators that make it a wakeup call for employers, employees and the regulatory authorities to put more efforts in preventing and eliminating workplace accidents, injuries and diseases. Despite the fact that the movement of healthy and safe technologies to developing countries has had numerous positive social and economic implications, there are certain hazardous technologies, materials, chemicals, gases and substances that endanger workers’ lives. Unfortunately, many countries lack the capacity to handle these environmental and worker safety and health problems (Winkelmann, 2000).
The State of Workplace Health and Safety in New Zealand
The following section highlights the state of workplace health and safety in New Zealand. Thus, in this section, the core safety and health data and other evidences are combined and brought into perspective. According to government and professional organisations’ sources, thousands of workers are injured, suffer from workplace diseases or even get killed at work. These injuries and accidents result in financial losses, personal and social losses, physical, mental and physiological damages to individual workers, their families, friends and the country (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2012). If the statistics and reports suggesting the high level of workshop injuries and diseases are anything to go by, the relevant government agencies should use this report as part of their long-, short- and medium-term workplace health and safety strategies. In fact, these statistics could prove rather useful in the formation of the Workplace Health and Safety Strategy for New Zealand to 2015, which is an initiative of the National Action Agenda 2010–13. The 2010-2013 National Action Agenda offers a roadmap for strategic initiatives to improve and stabilise diverse facets of health and safety, including awareness, ability, leadership and infrastructure, by concrete courses of action (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2012). Through these statistics and reports, accessibility of quality data on workplace safety and health may be improved not to mention the support such data might render to the establishment of succinct safety priorities. It is through such clearly established priorities that New Zealand will reduce the toll of workplace accidents while increasing health and safety performance.
The main metrics and messages that stakeholders may be watching for include New Zealand’s general stagnant patterns in health and safety results, trends in fatality and disability, approximate incidence of work-related diseases and annual death toll, annual costs of work-related accidents and diseases, improvements in the participation of business and staff and response to occupational injuries. Above everything, what the stakeholders are doing right now in New Zealand can be a field of concern for stakeholders in regards to occupational protection and health.
The current trends in the country indicate that it has one chance to make substantive impact on workplace safety and health. Fortunately, the authorities are ready and up to the tasks and are doing all is possible to take this chance and exploit it. At the forefront are the central government and its agencies, which have provided funding, set various targets and reviewed the health and safety system to keep it abreast with international standards (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2012). For instance, the government has provided additional health and safety funding to the tune of $37 million over four years with the aim of strengthening and transforming occupational safety management approaches and growing the capability and amount of frontline health and safety inspectors (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2012). This funding has also helped in supporting targeted health and safety initiatives. These funds have really become handy in assisting the government to achieve its goal of reducing workplace serious accidents and harms by 25% by the year 2020 and by 10% by 2016 (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2012). An autonomous task force has since been formed by the government to review the health and safety structure and its potential to stay active and fulfil its function. Further, the task force has the mandate to make recommendations on any areas that require improvements.
Data and measurement are the other area in which a lot of positive strides have been made with regards to workplace safety in New Zealand. In this context, the government, through its relevant agencies and arms, use the official and accurate and updated work-related fatality and injury data. In addition, the government uses these data to measure the actual costs and other consequences of work-related injuries and diseases (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2012). More importantly, government plans to improve the timeliness and breadth of safety and health data are currently underway.
There are also actions being undertaken in various sectors. Among the priority sectors in which worker safety action plans are underway are manufacturing, construction, motor industry and agriculture. In recent times, these sectors have experienced increased actions geared towards the realisation of reduced cases of harm, injuries and diseases at the workplace. The key accidents targeted are slips, falls, burns, scalds and injuries from sharp and falling objects (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2012). The government has also released an occupational health plan for improving various sectors’ capacity to and focus on the reduction of worker exposure to specific hazards. Importantly, the High Hazards Unit is also being fully implemented with its core objective being the improvement safety at the workplace (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2012). Currently, there are proposals for changes in the workplace accident compensation so that employer choices are increased. This expansion of employer choice will act as an incentive to ensure they prevent and manage injuries better in addition to improving and facilitating the rehabilitation of injured workers.
The government and other stakeholders are also currently monitoring five core outcome areas on workplace safety and health performance. These outcome areas are reduced work0related injuries and fatalities, reduced work-related diseases, reduced cost of injuries and diseases, increased industry and employee engagement and increased response to government activity. At a glance, there are about 102 work-related deaths and 378 work-related serious but non-fatal injuries annually in New Zealand (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2012). The social and economic costs of work-related injuries, diseases and death approximately stand at $3.5 billion. There are 2.2 million workers in about 470,000 workplaces in New Zealand (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2012). The average work-related deaths in New Zealand between 2008 and 2010 stood at 102 deaths annually. On the other hand, there were estimated 516-804 deaths and between 17,000 and 20,000 new cases of work-related diseases such as asthma, work-related cancer, and musculoskeletal disorders in the same period (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 2012). These diseases have been cited as the chief contributors to work-related disease in the country.
Causes of Workshop Injuries and Illnesses
There are various classes of health and safety hazards that automotive workshop employees in New Zealand are exposed to. The main category of these hazards is the physical hazards, the most common causes of injuries in the automobile sector (Mac-Crystal, 2003). As a matter of fact, physically obtained injuries are not only unavoidable in the automotive industry but also in other industries including engineering, manufacturing, mining, architecture and construction (Mac-Crystal, 2003). Nevertheless, the automobile sector in New Zealand long initiated and developed myriad modernised occupational safety and health policies, rules, regulations, strategies and procedures for the detection and prevention, treatment and management of workplace diseases and injuries (Mac-Crystal, 2003). More importantly, policies and strategies have been established that assist stakeholders in the mitigation and management of the physical risks and dangers often encountered in workshops. The reasons for physical injuries in the automotive workshops in New Zealand are falls. Moreover, the engineering aspects of the workshop tasks where fabrication and welding of various parts of various parts of automobiles take place generally report many cases of falls. Therefore, it is of the essence that employees in these sections observe and uphold all the laid down safety and health regulations. Additionally, workshop managers are responsible for ensuring that the necessary safety gear such as helmets and protective clothing are availed to workers at all times, especially for welding and fabrication sections where employees must be dressed in protective gear for ear, foot, face and eye protection.
The other main causes of injuries and disease in the automotive workshops in New Zealand are machines, equipment and plants, rather routine implements in workshops. Bearing in mind that many equipment and plants have mobile parts, hot surfaces, and sharp edges and are quite bulky and heavy, they have increased potential to cause injuries to employees (Mac-Crystal, 2003). The injuries caused by equipment, plants and machines are stabs, burns, shear and cuts. The equipment may strike a worker if unsafely stored, used or handed over to others. To minimise machine-related hazards, the appropriate safety measures ought to be implemented. For instance, meticulous lockout and tag-out measures should be put in place to help in the safe maintenance of equipment. There should also be roll over protection systems for motor vehicles (Mac-Crystal, 2003). The other causes of work hazards in automotive workshop accidents in Saudi Arabia are confined spaces. These spaces are found to have congested and limited spaces that do not allow for easy and free flowing entrance and exit and proper natural ventilation. Thus, such spaces are not fit for continuous employee movement and occupancy. In fact, there are cases in which workshops are established in buildings and spaces that were initially not intended for automotive workshops, which require big space for vehicles and hundreds of workers (Mac-Crystal, 2003). What is more, confined spaces also pose health hazards to customers and those coming to workers’ rescue in case of an emergency.
The other critical workshop health hazard in the automotive industry is noise, which causes loss of hearing or other hearing problems. Beside noise, exposure to chemicals such as solvents and metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury may also cause hearing problems and loss in automotive workshops (Mac-Crystal, 2003). The other source of danger for workers in automotive workshops is extreme temperatures. High temperatures may result in stroke cramps, heat stress, heat rashes and exhaustion. Workshop heat may also affect working gears such as safety glasses and cause dizziness and sweaty palms in workers, further exposing workers to other health risks. Moreover, hot or near hot surfaces amplifies the risks for burns (Mac-Crystal, 2003).
Workshop Accident and Injury Prevention Strategies in Switzerland
Many outsiders often wonder how the automotive industry in New Zealand copes with the many accidents and injuries in their workshops. First, managers, supervisors and employees must understand what workplace accident, injury and diseases are (Mac-Crystal, 2003). For instance, a workshop accident refers to an unforeseen harmful incident of commission or omission in a workshop. Second, stakeholders in this industry must realise that prevention of accidents at the workplace is better than waiting for accidents to occur then treating injuries and diseases. Thus, managers and employees should strive to stop accidents long before they happen or immediately the likelihood of one occurring is suspected (Mac-Crystal, 2003).
To solve some or all of these accidents, injuries and disease issues at automotive workshops, managers, workers and their supervisors endeavor to strictly adhere to the laid down workshop safety rules and regulations. In addition, these rules and regulations are constantly revised to remain relevant and compliant to the latest government and international standards. It is these observances that have led the automotive workshops in New Zealand to design and implement successful workshop accident, injuries and disease measures (Mac-Crystal, 2003). These following are some of the tips that have ensured automotive workshop accidents in New Zealand have been well managed or at lets reduced to a minimum.
First, considering that workshop injuries and diseases are quite unwelcome and unpleasant to all involved, these workplace safety and health tips are highly regarded to the automotive industry in New Zealand. The strategies include availing the necessary accident devices and utilizing the same devices whenever need arises. Second, in the New Zealand automotive sector, proper education and training on safety, health and safety devices is always emphasised. In addition, workers are encouraged to read and comply with manufacturers’ instructions on the user manuals of safety devices, tools, machinery, equipment and plants. Related to following manufacturers’ instruction is the adherence to proper workshop dressing code and outlawing inappropriate dressing code. Among the dressing codes discouraged include wrist watches, jewelry, loose clothing, neck ties and scarves. Instead, workers are encouraged to wear the appropriate factory helmet and other outfits. There are numerous strategies by which stakeholders in the Swiss automotive workshops prevent and manage workplace injuries are the use of proper tools for different tasks and complying with foreman and supervisor instructions. Others are, avoiding of greasy, oily and wet surfaces, especially floors so that one does not easily slip and fall. In cases where employees must work in wet and slippery floors, they are required to wear slip-proof shoes at all times. What is more, workers are required to keep chipped and sharp objects away so that they do not pierce, poke and injure workers. Managers are also required to replace tools and machines as soon as appropriate so that workers do not use old and worn-out tools and equipment. Importantly, workers are reminded to be alert while handling machines, tools, equipment, plants and harmful substances such as chemical and explosive or harmful gases.
In the New Zealand automotive workshops, workers are encouraged to understand all the possible accidents, injuries and diseases to which they are prone due to the nature of their tasks and the industry and environment in which they work. Examples of these types of injuries are suffocation, electrocution, contact with corrosive chemicals such as acids and injuries from broken bottles and sharp metallic objects. Others are fire breakouts, falling from heights and inhalation of toxic gases. Knowledge of these types of accidents and injuries makes workers and their foremen to be better placed to use the right workshop safety device to address these injuries whenever they occur. Workshop safety devices refer to tools, clothing, equipment that are used to prevent accidents such as slips, falls, fires, explosions and toxic gas inhalation at the workplace. An example of these devices is the factory or workshop apparel, used to protect workers’ bodies against chemical or fire-related accidents. The other is safety boot, for preventing corrosive substances such as acids, sharp objects and falling objects from hitting workers’ feet while in a workshop or working off-site. Dark spectacles are also used to prevent high intensity and radioactive rays form reaching workers’ eyes. These devices are especially used by welders and fabricators to protect their eyes. Hand gloves, a rather common safety device, is also extensively used in the automotive industry to prevent workers form suffering cuts from sharp objects, electric shock, burns from hot objects and corrosive liquids such as acids. The other common safety device largely used in the New Zealand automotive industry is the helmet, which protects workers’ head from injuries due to falling objects, slips or low roofs and rails. Safety belts are also used to fasten workers on supports whenever they work at heights such as ladders or cranes. Ear pad is also used to block explosive and extreme noises that can damage the ear drum and cause other hearing problems. Fans, for good ventilation, are the other devices used to promote workplace safety and health in New Zealand automotive workshops.
One common type of accidents encountered in New Zealand automotive workshops is fire accident. There are three core categories of fire accidents in these workshops namely electrical fire, chemical fire and wood, cloth or paper fire. The most common of these fires are electrical fires, which are caused by faults in workshop electrical circuits. For instance, there are many instances in which the positive and negative terminals and wires may partially contact. The second common cause of electric fire entails the use of low grade ampere accessory on high grade power supply in a workshop. On the other hand, chemical fire is caused by materials such as inflammable liquids and gases often found in workshops including diesel, spirit, thinner, turpentine, kerosene and petrol among others. Due to their inflammable nature, automotive workshop supervisors in New Zealand always ensure that such materials are kept away from fire source. Finally, materials in workshops such as clothing, paper, carton boxes and wood, generally referred to as solid fuels since they can easily be set on fire, also cause fire in automotive workshops. To curb such fires, many workshops have installed various types of fire equipment at strategic points.
Perhaps the most common type of fire fighting device found in automotive workshops is fire extinguisher. This device is a cylindrical mental, often painted in red and filled with chemicals such as soda and acid with the ability to put out small fires. The workshops do not just place these devices at strategic places; more is done by way of training workers on how to use the devices and carrying out fire drills to test workers’ skills. For example, workers are trained on how to hold the machine upright and withdraw the safety cap or in some cases, how to pull off the safety pin. Once the safety pin is pulled off, the lever is pressed fully down and the nozzle pointed at the base of the fire. It is often emphasised to workers during these trainings that the nozzles is never directed at the surface of the fire. Other fire-fighting devices used in the New Zealand automotive workshop fires, albeit to a less extent, are sand bucket and fire blanket. While sand is simply sprinkled to cover the fire, the fire blanket, which is made from a woven fibre glass, is used by worker to wrap their bodies to protect against industrial fires. In case of small industrial fires of domestic fires, the blanket is just gently placed over the fire to choke oxygen out of the blaze. Fire alarm is the other vital fire-fighting device. Fire alarms have sirens, which are designed to alert workers in case of a fire break-out upon the switching on of its button. For many types of fire alarms, the switch pad is covered with glass seals, which is broken or simply hit to trigger the siren. Workers are also advised never to play with the alarm in case there is no fire. Such false alarms may result in stampede and confusion, causing unnecessary injuries and losses.
New Zealand Worker Health and Safety Laws
In New Zealand, there are numerous laws, rules and regulations that are established to ensure and protect employee safety and health. In particular, these laws are really applicable in the automotive workshops, which are rather accident and injury-prone. The Health and Safety in Employment Act of 1992 is perhaps one of the best worker safety and health laws that protects employees well being, health and safety at the workplace. This act was assented on27th October 1992. Part 2 of this act deals with duties relating to health and safety in employment. It is thus quite crucial for automotive workshop stakeholders to comply with the requirements of this act. The core components of Part 2 of this act include the role of employers in ensuring employee safety and duties of employers with regards to hazard management. Under these broad headings, the act contains sections that deal with the identification of hazards, elimination of significant hazards, and isolation of significant hazards where elimination is impossible and minimization of hazards, protection of employees from such hazards. Under the duties of employers in relation to safety and health information, the act covers the need to give employees and their representatives the safety and health monitoring results. This part of the law also tackles duties of employers with regards to training and supervision on safety and health.
The following are some of the duties of managers outlined in this act that managers should ensure they carry out. First an employer is expected to take all the practically possible steps to ensure workers are safe at work. The following are some of the outlined steps employers should take to foster worker safety and health. First, employers are required to give and maintain a safe working environment to employees. Second, employers should provide and maintain facilities for workers’ safety and health. Third, employers should make sure that equipment and machinery used by employees are not only well arranged but also well made, designed and maintained for use. Fourth, employers should ensure that employees are not prone to hazards caused by poor arrangement, disposal, organisation, processing, storage, transport, manipulation and working. Fifth, employers are expected to develop and implement safety procedures for addressing emergency issues at work.
In more specific terms, the act expects employers to execute certain duties with regards to the management of health and safety hazards. First, every employer is expected to systematically any existing hazards at the workplace. Second, employers should also systematically identify any new hazards to employees at work. It is also required that employers assess each identified health hazard in a regular manner and determine if or not it is a significant hazard. Once an accident or harm occurs, it is required that an employer investigates the occurrence to ascertain its cause; whether it was caused by a significant hazard or not. The act also requires employers to eliminate, if practicable, all significant hazards. In case elimination is not practically possible, health and safety hazards should be isolated. In case isolation and elimination are not practicable, significant hazards should be minimised. There are numerous instances in which an employer might be deemed to have failed to comply with some or all of the above provisions of the act. For example, an employer may opt to pay workers some extra wages or salaries instead of providing the necessary protective clothing and devices. Second, an employer may require a worker to provide own protective cloth and gear as a prerequisite for employment. This action amounts to failure to comply with the provisions of this act with regards to the safety and health duties of an employer. Nonetheless, in cases where employees voluntarily provides own protective clothing and devices and an employer is satisfied that such clothing and gear are in line with the right subsections of the law, then such an employer may not be deemed to have contravened the relevant subsection on employer duties. Employers also have safety and health duties in relations to information, according to the act. These provisions still fall under Part 2 of this act.
Part 2A of the Health and Safety in Employment Act deals with employee participation in health and safety matters at the workplace. To this effect, it is the general duty of employees to participate in occupational safety and health matters such as the designing and development of employee participation system. This section also deals with the provisions related to the consequences if employers and employee fail to develop health and safety systems that promote the participation of all stakeholders in safety issues. The other components of this section of the act are training of employees and their representatives on health and safety, the calculation of leave days for health and safety training and approval of occupational safety and health training by the minister. Additionally, Part 3 of the act deals with codes of practice for all stakeholders. Under the codes of practices are provisions for regulations, applications for regulations and other regulation-related provisions. This part also deals with workplace accidents under which the recording and notification of accidents and serious harm are covered. The other workplace safety issues covered under accidents are inquiry into causes of accidents, non-interference at accident scenes, transfer of accident information and reporting of fatal accidents. Also covered under this section are enforcement by other agencies and inspection of workplaces. Under inspectors, the act covers inspectors, their roles, their powers of entry and inspection, proof of identity and their powers to take samples and other objects.
Several factors have contributed to the increasing number of new occupational epidemics across nations and industries. These factors include new developments in work, workplace environment and organisation (Paton, 2008). Others are new technologies, new and more dangerous chemical and liquid and gaseous substances, increased industrialization and mechanization. These factors, working together or solely, have contributed to the increased cases of workplace injuries and diseases. Included in this list are changes in the demographics of working populations, which make new strategies and programs in dealing with occupational health and safety (Paton, 2008). Because of their being linked aspects of society, the level of workplace safety and health affects socioeconomic developments and the quality of life and well being of workers and those close to them. The implication here is that no economic and intellectual inputs should be spared in the efforts to make workplace environments safe and healthy (Paton, 2008). This statement is particularly true given that sound occupational safety and health strategies and programs would positively affect economic productivity of people by preventing and minimising hazards at work. In summary, occupational health is a cornerstone for sustainable socioeconomic development as it empowers workers to live healthy and productive lives throughout their active working years.
The only headache for the New Zealand automotive workshops is the way forward on a new and healthy working life. Not to say that the workshop safety standards and rules in Switzerland are poor or below average, there is still room for improvement, making the following recommendations rather crucial for the realisation of a healthy and safe working life for the labour force (Paton, 2008). First, all stakeholders should recognise and appreciate that occupational health and safety are some of the hall marks of health and general well being of working people. Thus, occupational health and safety must be accorded the right level of attention with regards to policies and programs (Paton, 2008). This consideration should not only be attained at the workshop stage but also at the company, sector, and industry, national and international level. In addition, stakeholders should note that workplace health and safety problems are preventable in principle and all the available legislative, technical, research, training and education, information tools and economic instruments should be used to prevent such workshop injuries and diseases (Paton, 2008).
In this regard, the New Zealand authorities ought to prepare special national and industrial policies and programs to support occupational health and safety. In this policies should be included actions that would yield competent workplace safety and health services. In addition, government health and safety programs should also provide for the development of the necessary legal and enforcement systems and provisions such as inspection by expert and competent personnel and organs. The authorities should also establish the requisite infrastructures to help in the implementation of workplace safety and heath initiatives (Paton, 2008). Among the programs that should be targeted by these infrastructures for implementation are occupational health services, databanks and information services, training and educational programs. These said infrastructures should also be networked within an across industries to help in the facilitation of national programs implementation. Stakeholders should also have realistic long-term objective of organising functioning and competent workplace health services not only to ensure workplaces are safe but also to avail all the required services for individual workers (Paton, 2008). However, it is only a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary and preventive occupational health and safety programs that provide for the surveillance of work environments, which can promote the health and safety of workers in accident-prone workplaces such as automotive workshops (Paton, 2008).
Given that the focus of practical occupational safety and health is the workplace, employers in the automotive workshops should be responsible for the planning and designing of safe and healthy workshops, tasks, environments and organisations and the maintenance of these standards (Evans, 2010).
Workplace safety and health continues to be a big issue across industries and nations. New Zealand is not an exception in this regard. Nonetheless, the country has made tremendous strides in ensuring the workers and employers are abreast with the latest regulations and standards on workplace safety and health. In particular, the automotive industry, particularly workshops, have become under immense pressure to ensure and promote workplace and worker health and safety. Although the country, through the government and stakeholders such as employers, managers, supervisors and employees, has put in place several organs, mechanisms, policies, strategies, rules, regulations and practices that ensure workshop and employee safety and health, a lot still needs to be done. For instance, employees, owners and managers should be trained and educated on workplace safety and health and the practices that promote safety and health at work. Importantly, the government, through the relevant agencies and its legislative arm should enact laws and regulations to steer the automotive sector to uphold worker safety and health. There are several principles that managers, owners and employees should observe to help improve occupational safety and health in the automotive workshops in the country. First, they should strictly comply with individual workshop’s safety rules. Second, employees and employers must observe safety signs and rules installed at various points in a workshop in addition to reading all the labels and following instructions on toxic or dangerous materials such as gases and chemicals (acids and bases). Third, employees should have and wear the recommended safety gears and clothing, depending on their ranks, station, the nature of the tasks and work environment. Examples of these safety gear and clothing are helmet, safety vest, safety shoes, protection mask and hand gloves. Workers should also only operate tools and machines for which they are trained. In addition, it is important that workers handle and drive vehicles for which you have been appropriately trained and licensed to handle. Defective tools and equipment should be reported immediately to the authorities. If these rules are observed and each stakeholder keenly executes his or her duties with the employer and the government playing their roles as is required of them, the automotive workshops in New Zealand will no doubt record hitherto un-achieved safety and health performance standards.
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