Navy graduates celebrate health and safety success

February 27, 2020

The first graduates from a new health and safety course celebrated their success at a special ceremony and morning tea in Devonport in December.

A mix of naval and civilian personnel made up the first cohort to complete the NZ Certificate in Workplace Health and Safety (level 3), run in conjunction with industry training organisation Competenz and training provider Risk Management Group.

Director of Naval Safety and Health, Commander Ray McLaughlin said investing in this training reflected the importance Navy places on creating a safe working environment.

“We’re looking to be proactive rather than reactive in the safety space.

“Safety has always been ingrained in what we do. Training like this addresses the contradiction that we go into risky areas and risky situations as service people, but we also work in a civilian environment when we’re not in operations and at war.”

In his speech congratulating the graduates Commander McLaughlin added “One of the key things for us now is that this is now being offered to dockyard staff so that we all get to go home safely at the end of the day. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of this. We’re growing the safety specialisation across the naval system.”

Risk Management Group Training Consultant Chris Petropoulossaid the course is run over four full days with a mix of classroom-based work and moderated assessments, including tests, and hypothetical investigations, to be completed to earn the qualification.

Topics covered include risk assessment and incident investigation, drug and alcohol use in the workplace and how to manage these, the roles and responsibilities of WorkSafe, and discomfort, pain, injury and fatigue management in the workplace.

“The key aims of the training is to instil the knowledge that all learners are responsible for health and safety: they have to manage the risk in the workplace, keep themselves safe and keep others safe as well,” Mr Petropoulos said.

Participants who undertook the training were from different levels across the organisation, including civilians. One of the latter was Adi Story, Safety Data Coordinator for Naval Occupational Safety and Health, who has a clear passion for health and safety and particularly enjoyed the opportunity to learn alongside a diverse range of ranks and roles.

“I think of health and safety as common sense on steroids: it’s not to take the fun out of life, it’s to make sure everyone is on board, has fun at work, and gets home safely. It was really great to interact with everyone - civilians and different levels of personnel - and it was good that ranks no longer mattered. When you were in the class and you needed to work together, everyone’s opinions and thoughts counted, everyone was listened to. I would encourage civies and NZDF personnel to do this course. It’s great.”

Further opportunities to complete the level 3 qualification will be offered in 2020, along with plans to introduce the level 4 certificate as well.