President's Blog 8/9/21

By NZISM Secretary


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:

  • forming relationships with senior leaders in the community, Church Leaders, Kaumātua, and Elders to support initiatives;
  • including families of workers in briefings or information sessions;
  • establishing good hygiene practices throughout all of the organisation;
  • and importantly, managing health aspects when not ‘at work’ ie. in the lunchroom or when having morning tea.

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

Ngā mihi

Robyn Bennett
NZISM President


My thanks to member, Vance Walker, for introducing the latter two resources at the Coffee Catchup