With 75 workplace fatalities in NZ for 2019, it’s time to identify workplace hazards and minimise their risks. While the definition of hazard is ’a danger or something that can cause damage’, ‘risk’ refers to the likelihood of a specific effect within a specified period. For example, a corrosive chemical is a hazard, but the storage risks can be decreased by following the right procedures. 

The 3 main steps are:

Step 1: Identify the Hazards

Using WorkSafe New Zealand’s data on work-related fatalities for 2019 helps to determine some of the main workplace hazards. These numbers do not include members of the public who died as a result of someone else’s work activity, or deaths from occupational disease.

The following list cites 77 accident types. That’s because some incidents involved more than one hazard.

1. Vehicle incidents accounted for 33 of these deaths.  The following fatalities were also recorded:

2. 6 falls from height

3. 6 falls on the same level.

4. 5 people died from falling objects.

5. 4 deaths were ‘Unspecified’

6. 3 people were trapped between moving and stationary objects

7. 3 were hit by moving objects

8. 3 people died from contact with electricity

9. 3 from ‘Transport’

10. 2 fatalities were attributed to ‘Single contact with chemical’

11. 2 deaths from mobile plant roll-over

12. 2 from being bitten or hit by an animal

13. 2 were classed as ‘environment’

14. 1 explosion

15. 1 drowning

16. 1 trapped in moving machinery or equipment

Step 2: Do a job hazard and risk analysis

Scrutinise your plant or warehouse for hazards. Assess all processes from receiving, through manufacturing, order-picking and maintenance to shipping.

Discuss the following questions with your Health and Safety Manager.

  •    What can go wrong?
  •    What are the consequences?
  •    How could it arise?
  •    What are other contributing factors?
  •    How likely is it that the hazard will occur?

Step 3: Implement measures to eradicate or lower the risks

Possible Hazard and Critical Control Points in your operation:

1. Vehicle Accidents
Company safe driving policies plus employee Safe-Driver training can reduce the risk of accidents.
Keep all vehicles in good repair.

2. Docks

Edges of the dock should be clearly demarcated – preferably protected with a Flex impact handrail. The HP Plus is able to absorb crashes with heavier vehicles and guarantee the safety of passing pedestrians. It’s a great safeguard on company sites where there is constant movement of forklifts, pallet trucks, and other heavy vehicles.

Like everywhere else in your operation, people and mobile plant must be kept separate. Safety measures include signage, expandable barriers and heavy duty barriers.

3. Heights

Don’t rely on workers to keep themselves safe. Elevated walkways should be equipped with handrails between 900 mm and 1100 mm in height with a single mid rail located halfway between the work platform and the top rail. – SARNZ (Scaffolding, Access and Rigging New Zealand)

The Double AXES GATE is specifically developed as fall protection for cage ladders and work platforms.

4. Falling objects

Toe boards should be installed on walkways to prevent tools or objects landing on people below. Hard hats are necessary too.

Our Flex Impact Rack Protection System is designed to help prevent  rack collapse due to crashes. It fits onto most sizes of rack supports.

5. Falls on the same level

Surprisingly, falls from height and falls on the same level both resulted in 6 fatalities.

  •    –  Keep floors in good condition
  •    –  Walking surfaces should be clear of clutter. Watch out for cords.
  •    –  Use clear signage
  •    –  Install handrails

6. Trapped between moving and stationary objects

Ensuring that machinery is properly guarded will prevent many crushing injuries, deaths, and amputations.

7. Electrocution

  •    –  Identify and label electrical hazards
  •    –  Only use equipment made for the job on hand
  •    –  Use non-conductive ladders
  •    –  Hot outlets = danger. Could be bad wiring
  •    –  Extension cords – never staple or nail in place
  •    –  Wear protective clothing and use insulated tools around electrical hazards

8. Transport

New data (Newshub) points to ‘Transport, Postal and Warehousing’ as New Zealand’s most dangerous industry. One reason is that some professional drivers end up driving for longer than the 13-hour limit because of overloaded schedules. So keep track of time logs.

9. Chemical exposure

Follow the manufacturer’s and government directions for all chemicals. Be alert to the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by running petrol engines indoors.

10. Mobile plant roll-over

Worksafe NZ has put together an ‘Approved code of practice for operator protective structures on self-propelled mobile mechanical plant’.


At Dexters we know that workplace accidents cannot be taken too seriously. Make us a part of your Health and Safety team. It’s our job to provide solutions that lower or remove risks for you, your staff and your facility.