President's Blog 05/05/21

By NZISM Secretary


Kia ora koutou members and supporters of NZISM. Health and safety impacts on all workplaces and with over 2,000 members across the country and internationally, we have reach into many and varied organisations. One of current challenges is managing the health and safety aspects of MIQ facilities.

We know MIQs are an important part of our border measures to keep COVID-19 out of New Zealand and we are fortunate to have NZISM health and safety professionals working hard behind the scenes to coordinate the myriad of activities needed. Liliana Martins (Principal Advisor, Health, Safety & Security Operations) who holds Professional Membership and Ian Boslem (Manager Health, Safety and Security Operations) as a Certified Professional Member took time to chat to us about some of the challenges they face. They explained that, like many others, their workplaces across New Zealand are complex and dynamic, with the additional complexity of a tricky virus that is ever looking for opportunities to escape.

Liliana highlighted that a key aspect of their work is communication, as they support over 80 PCBUs in managing their health and safety, to the level expected by MBIE and the public. This covers 4,500 managed isolation allocations in five facilities. With the most recent total number of people through MIQ facilities being 131,794.

We know that reporting events and incidents is a measure by which we can ‘red flag’ potential issues and this is important when trying to manage the work environment. Both Liliana and Ian commented that reporting of events and incidents from the PCBU’s was paramount to keeping on top of health and safety activities, including the virus, and they have undertaken a significant amount of messaging across their PCBU’s to that effect. Their focus is to build the trust within all PCBU’s and improve the communication as a result.

Managing psychosocial risks is also a key challenge. Their team on the ground are working really hard and under significant pressure from their workplaces, family and friends, and the public to get it right, all of the time. This has put unexpected levels of pressure on workers, with little escape. As such, the MBIE health and safety team have put in a range of measures to manage and provide support. It was interesting to hear what they have been doing which has included:

The conversation with Liliana and Ian brought home how all of our workplace health and safety activities and challenges are interrelated in some form, and even though there are some differences, there are far more similarities.One thing is certain, NZISM is proud to have our own members at the forefront of these operations.Ngā mihiRobyn Bennett,
NZISM President