Safety first urged for tradies' day

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 21/12/2012
Dave Henry, Kevin Payne and Andy Payne
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ

ALL THE PRECAUTIONS: Staff from John McMurdo Autopainting, from left, Dave Henry, Kevin Payne and Andy Payne prepare for a safe "tradies' day".

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Southland tradies will celebrate another year of hard toil when they lay down tools this afternoon and enjoy a few cold beverages.

And police are encouraging them to have a good time but to get home safely this "tradies' day".

Tradies' day is often the last day of work before Christmas when staff get to finish work early and have a few beers.

Southern District area commander Inspector Lane Todd said police wanted to get the safety message out to employers and employees with extra police staff geared up for duty during the weekend.

There had never been major issues around tradies day but it did have the potential to cause problems without the collective effort of police, employers, the hotel industry and the liquor licencing trust, he said.

"Extra police will be on duty," he said.

The focus of police would be on alcohol-related offences including drink-driving, violent behaviour and public disorder, Mr Todd said.

Employers were encouraged to provide taxis or a courtesy bus for their staff, have food available and offer non-alcoholic drink options, he said.

"It is important employers help get their staff home safe."

John McMurdo Autopainting owner Kevin Payne said tradies' day was a way to reward staff for their hard work during the year. But it was important to make sure they came back safely in the new year. "We will enjoy a few beers but we will also make sure we don't do anything stupid," he said.

"We organise for the boys to go home first then bring them back in taxis or the work car to celebrate before getting a courtesy bus into town."

Mr Payne said his team saw first-hand the damage to cars and heard about the injuries to people involved in crashes where alcohol was a factor.

"You would be mad to drink and drive," he said.

Having a licence and being able to drive was vital for tradies to earn a living, Mr Payne said.

Mr Todd said this year southern police would be working closely with hotels and the liquor licensing trust to deal with intoxicated people entering a licenced premises.

"A lot of people will be coming into town or from their work places after drinking and we want hotels and pubs understanding their role in the responsible service of alcohol," he said.

Invercargill police also warned that while drinkers would be allowed in a section of Don St for the Kiln Bar street party, the rest of the city's streets would remain alcohol-free zones.

Police wanted people to enjoy the festive season but there would be an increased police presence in the streets and on the roads, Mr Todd said.

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