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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Department of Labour - Employer and Employee earthquake information updated.

The Department of Labour has updated it's earthquake information for Christchurch businesses in light of what was learnt from the February 22nd earthquake. A wide range of information is covered in a question and answer format (here). The general categories and questions are listed below.

In addition the page contains links to Factsheets, FAQs and other government departments where the information is covered in more detail.

Over-arching advice - health and safety
  • A basic checklist of things you should consider before you open your workplace door
  • If you don’t have the expertise to check critical factors (listed on the website) get an expert in to assist you
  • Recognise that the RIGHT DECISION is the SAFE DECISION
  • Make yourself aware of any requirements of the authorities (Police, Civil Defence, regional and local authorities etc) and act in accordance with those requirements
  • As a business owner or manager, the Health and Safety in Employment Act requires you to provide a safe workplace for your employees, contractors you might engage and others who might be entering your premises, eg shoppers
  • Employees also have a responsibility to ensure their own safety
Over-arching advice - employment relations matters
  • The key is communication.
  • Be flexible.
  • Work together to find practical solutions
  • Recognise that this has been a significant event
  • An individual employee has the right to refuse to do work they consider unsafe.
Additional Information
  • Who decides if workers have to go to work if it is open?
  • If a staff member needs to stay home to look after their family – how does that work?
  • Whose responsibility is it to ensure the workplace is safe?
  • What if it is my work day, and work is closed. Do I get paid? I can’t get into work today for good reason. Do I get paid? Work was closed yesterday. Do I get paid for that day?
  • If an employee has concerns they feel are not being resolved, what should they do?
  • If an employer has concerns that are not being resolved, what should they do?
  • What if no agreement can be reached?
  • Does an employer have the right to require workers to go to work and help with clean up?
  • What safety gear should be used in clean up?
  • How should concern about gas or chemicals in the workplace be dealt with?
All this is here.
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