Targeting `she’ll be right’ attitudes

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An Oamaru man has been recognised for his dedication to health and safety in the workplace with a New Zealand Transport Agency scholarship.
Damien McNamara, an elected health and safety representative at SouthRoads, was one of only four people nationwide to receive the scholarship.
The scholarship aims to develop competent and qualified safety professionals.
Each 12-month scholarship includes a fully-funded course and examination fees for an international certificate from the UK-based National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health, peer monitoring and work experience.
Mr McNamara has completed several health and safety courses during his time at SouthRoads, where he works as a driver, and has also taken the time to complete other training outside work. “In July, I started my co-ordinator training. I believe because I have taken that extra level of initiative, that’s why I have got the scholarship … I’m over the moon. It’s recognition for the effort I’ve put in.”He said changes to health and safety legislation, which came into effect in early April, would have little impact on businesses that had a strong health and safety culture.
“We’ve already worked to implement new standards in the last 12 to 18 months. I feel if a company was up to standard by April 4, they wouldn’t have much of an issue.
“It’s about identifying hazards before they become hazards, then you have controls in place to protect everyone in the workplace.”Mr McNamara also lends his knowledge to other businesses in Oamaru, which he described as an “eye-opening” experience, as each business went about how it dealt with health and safety in different ways.
He believed there was no excuse for a workplace to be unsafe, and said those that were needed to change their attitude towards what were potentially deadly issues.
“A change in the culture is going to be a massive thing. It’s about changing it from a `she’ll be right’ attitude to one that’s proactive, whether that’s at work or outside of work.”NZTA zero harm manager Martin McMullan said Mr McNamara’s application was one of many of an “exceptionally high” standard.
“There was a real sense of people in the industry wanting to play a part in providing tangible improvements towards New Zealand’s health and safety performance.
“We now have four dedicated professionals from New Zealand that’ve signed up to building a zero-harm culture within our industry so that everyone can go home safe and healthy every day.”om20damienmcnamara