By NZISM Secretary
Kia ora koutou members and supporters of NZISM. The Covid vaccination is a very topical subject at the moment, so I thought I’d reflect on a couple of aspects that impact on us in the health and safety profession. Firstly, I’d like to state that NZISM’s Board and SLT strongly support Covid vaccinations for those in the workplace, in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s Guidelines and applicable laws. We’ve heard about some workplaces having a ‘no jab, no job’ policy and this must be challenging when we temper that with the fundamental right to decline medical treatment, on medical and/or religious grounds.
Fortunately, there are some good resources (listed below) on how to assess whether a specific role needs to be performed by a vaccinated worker as well as suggestions for other health measures to reduce risks. We also know we can’t redeploy or disadvantage a worker for refusing to disclose their vaccination status, unless their work can’t be done by unvaccinated workers. And all this is sensible, however sometimes hard to apply in our own workplaces. On one hand, health and safety professionals want to protect people, and on the other there is the right to privacy and the right to say no.
Secondly, we also know that some health and safety professionals have been tasked with increasing their workplace vaccination rates whether mandated or not, and adding to this challenge is the personal opinions of management and staff in organisations, both for and against vaccination. Coming up with good solutions can be difficult, and today I joined in the NZISM Coffee Catchups (held on Thursdays at 1pm), and these very topics were raised. I took away some good suggestions on how to increase vaccination rates which included:
However, I wonder if overall we could benefit from additional practical solutions? Since mass vaccination is a new area for most of us, NZISM is asking for some input from you to support our discussions with organisations who provide workplace resources.
In our recent newsletter, or on our facebook or LinkedIn pages, you will find a short, 3-question survey. Please take the time to participate. We will be publishing the results.
If you wish to contact me, please do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for joining the Women in Safety Excellence (WISE) network.
We hold various online and face-to-face events throughout the year and if one occurs near you, we would love to meet you in person.
LinkedIn - Please make sure you join our LinkedIn group to stay connected and on top of our planned webinars and events. We encourage you to post anything in the WISE group page that you think other network members would find useful or inspiring. Please don't be shy. The more we reach out, the more we connect with each other, and the more we can help each other on our journeys.
We might send you the occasional email but our web page on the NZISM website is always the best place to go for an overview of what's coming up in the WISE calendar.
Margaret van Schaik