Minister lauds 'huge' EIS safety record

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 05:00 29/03/2014

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An Invercargill business that employs electricians and engineers has one of the best health and safety records in the country.

EIS has gone more than 12 years without any of its 50 staff members suffering an injury that has resulted in them needing time off work.

ACC Minister Judith Collins described the statistic as "huge" when visiting the workplace yesterday. She was unaware of any other business of a similar size and nature in the country that had not had a "lost-time incident" in 12 years.

Ms Collins said an issue the Government faced was to make health and safety easier for businesses to implement. Many small employers saw health and safety requirements as adding costs.

One answer was for ACC staff to visit small businesses and help them set up correct health and safety procedures, she said.

EIS chief executive Dean Addie said the company's staff constantly talked about things they were doing well and not so well. They had a culture of belief in their health and safety practices rather than a focus on compliance, he said.

He said there was no fear among staff of breaking the 12-year sequence.

"If someone gets injured and has to go home for 24 hours, we would just reset the clock . . . we don't want to make it hard for people to report accidents."

EIS board chairman Ross Beal said its staff had reported 35 incidents so far this calendar year, ranging from a cut finger to fast driving, but none had resulted in time off work.

EIS took out the business of the year and the ACC health and safety awards at last year's Southland Business Excellence Awards in Invercargill.

ACC spokeswoman Stephanie Melville said EIS had reached the highest level - tertiary - in the ACC workplace safety management practices programme.

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