Air New Zealand takes out health and safety honours

The company’s approach is highly democratic and enables a worker-centred approach to health and safety

Air New Zealand takes out health and safety honours

Air New Zealand has been awarded overall honours at this year’s New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards.

At the SKYCITY Convention Centre in Auckland, sixteen awards were presented to celebrate a variety of successful health and safety initiatives and the people behind them.

The awards began in 2005 and are organised by Safeguard magazine and supported by WorkSafe New Zealand.

Peter Bateman, convenor of the judging panel and editor of Safeguard, said the way Air New Zealand organised a worldwide election for health & safety reps provides a “model of workplace democracy” that other organisations could learn from.

“Health and safety representatives have a critical role to play, yet all too often little attention is paid to how they are elected,” said Bateman.

“In many cases, people are simply appointed rather than elected, which leaves them vulnerable to the accusation that they are just a tool of management.

“Air New Zealand’s commitment to a full election process, widely publicised and available to staff around the world, is to be commended because it is highly democratic and enables a worker-centred approach to health and safety.”

Another major winner was Vodafone who won the “Best Initiative to Promote Better Worker Health” category which recognised its Manaaki support network as a best in class initiative.

Vodafone created a trained volunteer staff network to be the first point of contact for staff with concerns about bullying, sexual harassment and domestic violence.

Vodafone’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing manager Max Riley said the company is “delighted” by the win.

“Our team is beyond ecstatic to receive this award as acknowledgement of our employee-lead support network,” said Riley.

The idea behind the Manaaki Support Network was to build an empowered group of people from all levels of Vodafone to best put Vodafone’s wellbeing policies into practice.

“While many organisations have members of staff their people can approach for a single area – domestic violence, bullying, and harassment for example – Vodafone created a network that would recognise how these issues interrelate and impact health and wellbeing,” said Riley.

“We’re delivering on a big kaupapa here – tackling mental health and wellbeing.”

He added that Vodafone’s CEO and HR director have a “huge passion and interest” in this space.

“It was really important for us to get it right and deliver something meaningful for our employees, which this award is a testament to,” Riley said.

The awards are judged by a panel which includes representatives from WorkSafe, NZ Council of Trade Unions, Safeguard, and an industry health and safety practitioner.

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