Cera axes dress code after outcry

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 15:53 01/02/2013
Red-zone workers
DAVID HALLETT/Fairfax NZ

OLD STYLE: A proposal to ban red zone workers from wearing t-shirts and shorts has been abandoned.

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A plan to ban red-zone workers from wearing T-shirts and shorts has been abandoned.

Last year, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) announced a proposal of "new minimum safety requirements" for red-zone workers, directing they wear "long pants, hard hats, long-sleeved tops, gloves, protective boots and eyewear".

The personal protection equipment (PPE) guidelines were designed to protect workers from skin cancer, as well as help prevent "burns, abrasions, contact with cement, concrete, diesel and other chemicals".

The idea has been abandoned after an outcry from red-zone workers.

Cera general manager of operations Baden Ewart said it was agreed not to alter the PPE policy after "consultation with contractors last year".

Hard hats, high-visibility jackets and sturdy shoes would remain the base safety requirement on all construction sites across the rebuild.

Additional equipment would be site and work-specific, depending on the contractors' policies, Ewart said.

"Many already require staff to wear long sleeves and trousers for specific work programmes," he said.

Red-zone worker Brayden Sullivan, 29, who was one of the main opponents of the policy last year, said he was glad common sense had prevailed.

"I'm very happy with the decision. I'm glad we got in before it came into force and pointed out how ridiculous it was," he said.

"It should be the company's circumstances and a personal choice. Some of the guys do choose to wear long sleeves and pants anyway."

This week's hot weather had highlighted the need to wear cooler clothing, Sullivan said.

"It's been very hot. I'm in shorts and a T-shirt right now," he said.

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