• 2020-08-13 08:33 | Anonymous

    Newsletter August 2020

    Greetings NZSSE members!

    I hope that the pandemic, lockdown, and current increase in the alert levels have not been too difficult for you and your families, and that you all still have enough work to keep you busy. If you're anything like me, you'll be looking forward to the end of 2020, it's been quite the annus horribilis. Remember a few months ago when Australia was on fire and NZ was covered in a pall of smoke, and that seemed like it was as bad as things could get?

    On the plus side, we've been lucky enough to live in a small country with closable borders, with a population that by and large acted responsibly in response to government guidance. There's a bit of a hiccup right at the moment, but things could be a lot worse. For those of you with family overseas, I hope they're able to keep safe. 

    Personally, I've found the response to Covid-19 across NZ to be a pretty good example of how we as a country approach health and safety. Overall the country applied a "hierarchy of controls" approach, starting with eliminating hazards (by keeping people at home and separated), moving through isolating hazards (the ubiquitous perspex screens at supermarket checkouts) and further on down to procedural controls (like hand sanitiser at the entrance to a business).

    And, as always, there were PCBUs that started at the bottom of the hierarchy and called it done - put some hand sanitiser at the door and say "she'll be right." And so our mission to promote robust health and safety practices continues!

    The last few months have been fairly quiet for the NZSSE - I'll put my hand up and say that was my fault, I've been somewhat preoccupied. Things are moving forward again now, as we kick off a series of webinars to give us all some good professional development opportunities through to the end of the year.

    In this newsletter you'll find details of a case study being delivered by Dirk Pons, on an aviation incident, which I am very much looking forward to. In the next week or so, look out for details from us of the next few installments of the series, covering topics ranging from H&S by Design, enforceable undertakings, duty holder reviews by Worksafe, Safety I vs. Safety II, updates to the H&S regulations currently working their way through MBIE, occupational health considerations in design, and more.

    If any of you are sitting on a good story, a good case study, or a subject dear to your heart, and would like to present a webinar to the rest of the members, please let me know. The more the merrier, the committee would like to make this the start of an ongoing and continuous series of events.

    See you all at Dirk's seminar.


    The Pitfalls with Self Certified CE marking – Warren Wagener TEG Risk

    We recently investigated a three year old machine, manufactured in Italy which according to the manufacturers manual is CE marked and compliant with the Machinery Directive, Low Voltage Directive and the EMC Directive.

    This style of machine has a Type C Standard that lists the hazards and safety control measures to allow for safe operation. The standard has been available since 1998.

    Upon assessment of the machine it became quite evident that the Type C standard had not been followed. We approached the manufacturer for comment regarding this. They provided a statement that basically said that they did not apply the Type C standard to their machine. The basis for this statement was that the style of operation of the machine differed enough from the machines listed in the standard and this allowed them to perform a risk assessment and apply control measure that do not align with the Type C standard.

    The machine has a rotating drum with scraping blades attached, weighing 1.5 tonne and spinning at a speed of at a guess around 1500rpm used to scrape excess material from the primary material. Under the Type C standard the control measure was to provide a synchronised guard that covers the drum while the machine is open for product infeed. This guard was not fitted and the control measures were inadequate (non interlocked and non fixed, removable rubber guard fitted by manufacturer). The client has had an incident in the infeed area that fortunately only resulted in deep cuts to a finger and concluded that a lack of guarding was the root cause of the injury.

    We requested further information from the technical file of the manufacturer, specifically around the reasoning and risk assessment processes.

    The documentation we were provided with reinforced our initial conclusions that the machine needed to be treated under the Type C Standard. This was supported by the diagrams given in the documents of the machine they had used as the ‘template’ to support their conclusions around risk assessments and hence control measures. The diagrams do not match the machine they have supplied!

    Further to this the Type C standard had a required Performance Level of PLd indicating risks in the infeed areas are deemed to be high. This did not align with the manufacturers risk assessment where they scored the initial risk as medium and applied limited control measures to make the residual risk assessed as low.

    Where does that leave the client?

    It leaves the client with a dangerous machine that requires an extensive upgrade.

    Can they take the manufacturer to task?

    Yes but it will be a lengthy and costly exercise, requiring representation in Europe either on behalf or in person and chances of success may be low. As of 5 years ago no countries that were external to the EU have had a successful challenge under the machinery directive.


    Reliance upon the CE marking as being an adequate means to prove compliance provides limited coverage with the requirements under the HSWA act.

    Due diligence is required when importing/purchasing machines from the EU with a CE marking and even more so with items not originating from the EU. Risk assessments and adequate risk reduction controls are required for compliance with HSWA. 

    CE Marking is not a ’free pass’ for the manufacturer to export outside of the EU even when the machine is mostly compliant.

    Recent Worksafe Prosecutions.

    ·         A pet food manufacturer in Te Puke has been fined $132,000 after one of its workers suffered burns so serious she had to have the tips of three of her fingers amputated.

    Addiction Food NZ Limited appeared in the Tauranga District Court on Wednesday after a WorkSafe investigation found the machine the company used to pack pet food with was not properly guarded.

    ·         WorkSafe has filed charges following an investigation into a gas explosion in a house on Marble Court, Northwood, Christchurch in July last year.

    Charges have been filed under the Gas Act 1992 against two defendants following the incident in which a gas explosion caused serious harm to several individuals, destroyed a house and caused significant damage to several other properties in the neighbourhood. 

    ·         Failures at a meat processing plant led to a worker suffering severe burns to almost his entire body, says WorkSafe.

    Affco New Zealand Limited were fined $230,000 and ordered to pay $65,000 for failing to keep the worker safe at its Moerewa plant.

    In July 2018 the worker was tending to the furnace of a boiler. The worker opened the boiler door and a build-up of coal combusted and sent heat and flames out and into the room.

    ·         A Wellington business which continued to operate unguarded machinery resulting in serious hand injuries to a worker has been fined $260,000.

    In a Judge’s decision released last week, food manufacturer Oriental Cuisine Limited was ordered to pay reparation of more than $40,000 after a worker’s hand was drawn into a machine used to make pastry in July 2018.The worker suffered fractures and the complete degloving of his middle and index finger on his left hand. He also received lacerations injuries to his thumb and ring fingers.

    Insights into how we work

    Every safety engineer knows that seemingly small mistakes or temporary lapses in judgment can have serious consequences.

    Young professionals can be especially prone to error because we lack industrial experience, yet want to prove ourselves professionally. Many of us enter the workplace with a sense of infallibility, secure that our college education has endowed us with the ability to think quickly and rationally, and jump into any team, plant, or project. Eventually we learn that maintaining a sense of vulnerability is key to avoiding process safety incidents.

    For some of us, the opposite is true — we believe that, as rookies, we don’t have the prerogative to speak up if we feel that something is unsafe. Overcoming our fear of confrontation and learning how to identify and speak up about unsafe practices or conditions will not only make us better engineers, it may save lives.

    Find yourself a mentor and take advantage of their experience to enhance your own.

    COVID-19 has also altered the way some of us work with more engineers working remotely and from home. The upside of this is that a lot of businesses are becoming more comfortable with virtual meetings and social distancing techniques. The downside is a lack of social contact.

    If you find yourself wandering from your chosen path and require a reset, do not hesitate to reach out to one of your fellow members.

    We are very fortunate to be one of the few countries currently running as near to normal as we can be. Be proud of what NZ has achieved as a country to put ourselves in this position. Make the most of the opportunities presented by the changes that some of us are experiencing. Learn from the lessons that working under COVID has taught us.

    Robots and COVID-19

    Article referenced from

    Roboticists at Texas A&M University and the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue examined over 120 press and social media reports from China, the U.S. and 19 other countries about how robots are being used during the COVID-19 pandemic. They found that ground and aerial robots are playing a notable role in almost every aspect of managing the crisis.

    In hospitals, doctors and nursesfamily members and even receptionists are using robots to interact in real time with patients from a safe distance. Specialized robots are disinfecting rooms and delivering meals or prescriptions, handling the hidden extra work associated with a surge in patients. Delivery robots are transporting infectious samples to laboratories for testing.

    Outside of hospitals, public works and public safety departments are using robots to spray disinfectant throughout public spaces. Drones are providing thermal imagery to help identify infected citizens and enforce quarantines and social distancing restrictions. Robots are even rolling through crowds, broadcasting public service messages about the virus and social distancing.

    At work and home, robots are assisting in surprising ways. Realtors are teleoperating robots to show properties from the safety of their own homes. Workers building a new hospital in China were able work through the night because drones carried lighting. In Japan, students used robots to walk the stage for graduation, and in Cyprus, a person used a drone to walk his dog without violating stay-at-home restrictions.

    Helping workers, not replacing them

    Every disaster is different, but the experience of using robots for the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to finally learn three lessons documented over the past 20 years. One important lesson is that during a disaster robots do not replace people. They either perform tasks that a person could not do or do safely, or take on tasks that free up responders to handle the increased workload.

    The majority of robots being used in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients have not replaced health care professionals. These robots are teleoperated, enabling the health care workers to apply their expertise and compassion to sick and isolated patients remotely.

    A small number of robots are autonomous, such as the popular UVD decontamination robots and meal and prescription carts. But the reports indicate that the robots are not displacing workers. Instead, the robots are helping the existing hospital staff cope with the surge in infectious patients. The decontamination robots disinfect better and faster than human cleaners, while the carts reduce the amount of time and personal protective equipment nurses and aides must spend on ancillary tasks.

    Don’t stockpile robots

    The broad use of robots for COVID-19 is a strong indication that the health care system needed more robots, just like it needed more of everyday items such as personal protective equipment and ventilators. But while storing caches of hospital supplies makes sense, storing a cache of specialized robots for use in a future emergency does not.

    This was the strategy of the nuclear power industry, and it failed during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. The robots stored by the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency for an emergency were outdated, and the operators were rusty or no longer employed. Instead, the Tokyo Electric Power Company lost valuable time acquiring and deploying commercial off-the-shelf bomb squad robots, which were in routine use throughout the world. While the commercial robots were not perfect for dealing with a radiological emergency, they were good enough and cheap enough for dozens of robots to be used throughout the facility.


    Yak vs Cherry Picker

    This presentation is about the human factors involved in an aviation accident in NZ between a Yak and a cherry picker.

    I will identify the typical types of human error, contextualise these to the accident, and illustrate how such accidents can be represented in the barrier bowtie method.

    Human factors are the things that go wrong in the interactions between a team of people and a system of technology. This is part of a broader transdisciplinary field called engineering psychology, which as the name suggests, draws from both engineering and psychology.  Many, if not most, catastrophic accidents involve a socio-technical interaction, i.e. are not solely due to technology failure. Hence there is a need to consider human factors in the development or deployment of any technical system.

    The content of the presentation is primarily directed to industry practitioners interested in better health and safety outcomes, e.g. in plant operations or construction management. Those involved in event management may also find the content useful for their work. Prospective postgraduate students may also find inspiration for future research topics. The content is suitable for a general audience and does not require any deep understanding of engineering, psychology, aviation, yaks, or cherries.

    Date Friday, 21 August 2020 12:00 PM-1:00 PM

    Zoom Meeting ID: 947 2466 4082
    Passcode: BOWTIE

    Regards - Ngā mihi


    Dr Dirk Pons

    PhD (Eng), MScMedicine, M.Leadership, BScEng(Mech), Fellow Engineering NZ (IPENZ), Tohunga Wetepanga, Chrtrd. Prof. Eng (CPEng, NZ), International Professional Engineer (Int. PE. EngNZ)

    Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering

    University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8020, New Zealand

  • 2020-04-16 23:06 | Anonymous

    Today, we had our first meeting of the recently elected NZSSE committee for 2020.

    We have many great ideas, all online events, that will be anounced soon. If you haven't used Zoom yet, try and familiarize yourself with it, We will most probably run all our event on Zoom.

    Look under the ABOUT US tab on this website who are on the committee.

    Please get in touch if you have any great ideas or requests.

  • 2019-10-25 14:52 | Anonymous

    Shelley Stromdale, is the manager of the new Safer Complex Systems programme at the Royal Academy of Engineering. Through this programme, the Academy has launched three opportunities to determine the regions and activities that will receive funding to increase the safety of complex systems globally.

    She wants to hear from all countries, the full breadth of engineering, all sectors and organisation types. She particularly encouragesresponses from women and other underrepresented groups in engineering.

    1. International Call for Ideas

    Do you know of a complex system with safety risks? What are the key safety challenges? Which activities should the Academy fund to increase safety within these complex systems? This survey is an opportunity for people anywhere in the world to influence the scope and strategy of the Safer Complex Systems programme: your responses will help determine what activities we fund and where. From humanitarianism, health, food supply and cybersecurity, to voting systems, climate change, AI and machine learning, we are interested in the safety of all complex systems at this early stage, so all ideas are most welcome.

    Please note that this programme is able to fund a broad range of activities as long as they increase the safety of complex systems (e.g. research (not PhD), public engagement campaigns, training, knowledge dissemination, new regulation, engineering innovation) there are lots of possibilities so I would encourage you to think as broadly as possible. Wherever possible try to emphasise how your suggestions or work will translate into practice to make a real, tangible difference to improving people’s lives.

    2. Invitation to Tender: Global Foresight Review on the Safety of Complex Systems

    The Academy and Lloyd’s Register Foundation are seeking to commission a report(s) to generate clear priorities for a grant funding programme to increase the safety of complex systems globally.

    The report(s) must meet one or more of the below objectives:

    • To develop conceptual clarity on ‘safety’ and ‘complex systems’ and to develop a common way to communicate about the safety of complex systems across sectors and between different levels of expertise globally;
    • To develop understanding of the existing methods available for the design, management and governance of complex systems (including those developed in academia that have not yet been implemented);
    • To outline emerging challenges and opportunities with significant disruptive potential (negative or positive) with regards to the safety of complex systems.

    We welcome submissions from UK and non-UK organisations. Indicative budget: £100,000 - £150,000. Deadline for submissions: 21 October 2019 – if required, please contact to discuss a possible short extension.

    3. Call for Case Studies (Call for Abstracts - Deadline 11 November 2019)

    The Academy have launched this Call for Case Studies to gather tangible case studies from all over the world that demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to the design, management and governance of complex systems. These case studies will support the global community to learn from one another, to improve practices, and to increase safety in complex systems globally. We will publish these case studies in a free, online library to enable widespread dissemination of good practice from successful systems and lessons learned following systems failure. The Academy is asking Academia and Industry to help develop these case studies.

    From the submitted Abstracts, the Academy will select the case studies they believe will be most helpful to a diverse, global community. If required, the Academy will provide funding to develop the Abstract into a full piece of research, to produce a full case study. The Academy will publish the final case studies both online and offline. There may also be opportunities to develop the case studies into creative resources (e.g. films, animations, media articles, interactive tools, and/or documentaries) to better inform members of the public on the issues raised.

    Please contact  if you have any general thoughts or comments about the programme or if you would like any more information.

  • 2019-10-14 13:36 | Anonymous

    WORKSAFE is looking for a Manager to esablish a Health & Safety by Design function. Applications close 24 October 2019.

    Manager Health & Safety by Design

    Job Description

    • Brand new management position with the potential to build your team
    • Build key relationships within WorkSafe and across a range of industries in New Zealand
    • Great benefits including free life, trauma and income protection insurances

    Our Health and Technical Services team are looking to appoint a Manager Health and Safety by Design to establish our health and safety by design function and provide strategic and operational leadership within WorkSafe and across New Zealand industries. This role could be based in Wellington, Auckland or Christchurch.

    Reporting to the Head of Health and Technical Services, the Manager Health and Safety by Design will lead and ensure the delivery of high quality and consistent health and safety by design principles and services across New Zealand.

    Working closely with a range of stakeholders within WorkSafe and across industry, you'll deliver health and safety by design activities and, where required, support subsequent enforcement actions. You'll also contribute to the development of operational policy, process and practice to improve the health and safety by design culture in New Zealand.

    To be successful in this role, you'll have a good understanding of the key design industries, such as architect design firms, large scale manufacturers or construction companies.

    You may be an architect, designer or engineer. Alternatively, you may come from a policy background and have the ability to bring people together.

    You'll also bring to the role:

    • The ability to build strong connections and influence across industries
    • Expert knowledge of health and safety by design/prevention through design
    • The ability to lead successful and high performing technical teams
    • A post-graduate qualification in a field such as design, occupational health and safety, engineering, architecture etc, or extensive and comparable experience
    • Regulatory experience is also desired but not mandatory

    Benefits at WorkSafe

    WorkSafe offer a range of benefits, including life, trauma and income protection insurance packages, discounts on health insurance and eye care and learning and development opportunities.

    About WorkSafe

    WorkSafe New Zealand, Mahi Haumaru Aotearoa, is the primary workplace health and safety regulator – our vision is that everyone who goes to work comes home healthy and safe.  Alongside other regulators we lead New Zealand to achieve healthy and safe workplaces through engagement, education and enforcement.

    About our Health and Technical Services team

    The Health and Technical Services team consists of experts from a range of specialities, including asbestos, hazardous substances, work-related health, engineering, permitting, and more. The team are continuing to grow and expand, with key roles in psychosocial harm and work related also being recruited for.

    Applications close on Thursday 24th October 2019.

    For further information please contact with any queries.

    To find out more about WorkSafe New Zealand go to

  • 2019-09-22 22:53 | Anonymous

    Dr Dirk Pons of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, and member of our executive committee, recently published the following article: Alignment of the Safety Assessment Method with New Zealand Legislative Responsibilities


    Need—National legislative health and safety (H&S) frameworks impose requirements but grant self-management to organisations. Consequently variability arises in management systems, and some organisations struggle to achieve successful implementation. The risk assessment process is key to the H&S management system, and could benefit from greater consistency and better external alignment with the legislative framework of the jurisdiction.

    Approach—The harm categories in the New Zealand (NZ) Act were adapted into a consequence scale. A non-linear scale was developed for the consequence axis to represent the disproportional nature of catastrophic harm outcomes compared to minor injuries. A hazard assessment process was devised based on systems engineering methods. Organisational decision-criteria were derived from the communications requirement in the Act, and these thresholds linked to expected treatments.

    Originality—A method is providing for aligning risk assessments with a national legislative framework, and integrating the technical aspects of risk assessment with the management processes. The approach also more explicitly includes recovery actions in contrast to existing methods where prevention dominates. Regarding the management aspects, it shows how thresholds may be defined relative to the legislation, to give clear expectations regarding treatment and internal communication, thereby assisting executives (‘officers’ in terms of the NZ Act) meet their duties.

    This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

  • 2019-09-18 11:19 | Anonymous

    I have a PhD student who is interested in combining PLANT SIMULATION with SAFETY ENGINEERING. If you have suggestions for topics or firms that might be interested in learning more, please get in touch.

    Dirk Pons


    Zichong Lyu

    Plant simulation is software modelling that creates a digital model of manufacturing/transport. It mathematically represents machines and humans, and includes variability in processes to determine production statistics.  See

  • 2019-07-16 19:20 | Anonymous

    MBIE is reviewing some of the regulations that sit under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

    Here is a link to their OVERVIEW - Implementing the HSWA 2015 - Better-regulation plant structures and working at heights

    The full paper is accessible here: Disscussion paper on options to improve regulations for work involving plant, structures, heights and excavations.

    We have been invited to work with MBIE and to  provide our views on their proposals.

    Members, please log in to this web-site and join the discussion on our members-only forum. 

  • 2019-07-03 18:50 | Anonymous

    Product Recalls just posted a recall for the following gas safety valve:

    Supplied by Combustion Control from November 2014 to March 2019.

    Manufactured by Elster GmbH

    Please click the link for detail:

  • 2019-06-24 22:17 | Anonymous

    Last week we hosted an event in colaboration with the University of Canterbury, prsented by Dr Dirk Pons (Associate Professor, CPEng, FEngNZ) on the Systems engineering failure with the Boeing 737 Max. 

    Here is a link to the voice annotated PowerPoint Slide show presentation: Boeing 737 Max presentation E2C _with voiceover.ppsx  (It is a 74MB file, so it takes a while to open. Please be patient.)

    If you do not have Powerpoint on your computer, please click here: View a presentation without PowerPoint

  • 2019-06-10 11:19 | Anonymous

    We have been invited to the New Zealand Tunnelling Society/WORKSAFE Event

    • Thursday 20 June 2019
    • 5:30 – 7:00pm
    • The Bluestone Room
    • 9 – 11 Durham Lane
    • Auckland CBD

    Click to see NZTS Flyer HHU _ CPD Update 2019-06-20_Rev1.pdf

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