What is happening about health standards?

The Fire and Emergency New Zealand Board has asked for recommendations from the organisation by June 2018, on a suitable approach to health standard assessments and associated support processes for operational personnel, as set out under the requirements of Sections 31 to 35 of the Fire and Emergency New Zealand legislation.

This work needs close consultation with the Unions and Associations who represent Fire and Emergency New Zealand personnel, and a Working Group was established made up of the following representatives:

  • Kerry Gregory, Fire Region Manager Region 1
  • Brendan Nally, Director People and Capability
  • Estione Pauga, Operational Capability Manager, National Operations
  • Paul Baker, Manager Rural Fire Napier
  • Brian Adams, Manager People Safety and Support
  • Richard Dagger, Principal Advisor Workplace Relations
  • Greg Crawford, Fire and Emergency Commanders Association
  • Jim Ryburn, NZ Professional Firefighters Union
  • Peter Nicolle, President NZ Professional Fire Fighters Union
  • Colin Robson, Forest and Rural Fire Association of NZ
  • Glenn Williams, United Fire Brigades’ Association
  • Bruce Irvine, Public Service Association.
  • Jackie Breen, Women in Fire and Emergency NZ
  • Des Irving, Secretary Fire and Emergency Commanders Association
  • Kevin O’Connor, National Manager Rural
  • Melissa Muckart, HR Business Partner Workplace Relations
  • Yvonne Coventry, SHW Workstream Lead
  • Alison Barnes, SHW Delivery Lead

Why do we need this work?

Our Safety, Health and Wellbeing Policy Commitment and Joint Endorsement Statement say that nothing is more important than our people.So we need to do everything we can to ensure our people are healthy and everyone goes home safe and well every time they undertake work on behalf of Fire and Emergency NZ.

One way of supporting our people is to carry out periodic health assessments to detect any risk to their safety, health or wellbeing early and support them through treatment to help them remain in the workplace wherever possible.  

What happens next?

The Working Group will present some recommendations to the Board about what the health standards might cover.The recommendations will include principles and design of the processes to undertake health assessments and will consider many things such as who will the standards apply to, how will they be done, how often will they be done and the processes for supporting people throughout.

The first phase involves presenting agreed recommendations to the Board about what the health standards might cover. These will include principles and design of the processes to undertake health assessments and will consider who the standards will apply to, how health assessments might be done, how often they might be done and how we support people throughout the process.

Following the Board’s review of the recommendations, a process of consultation across the organisation will be planned with senior management and the Unions and Associations.There are many matters to be discussed and consulted on that will help confirm the key requirements and approach and help determine the next steps.

The development of health standards raises questions for most people and some may be concerned about the personal impact of introducing assessments.The Working Group wants to reassure people that this work needs careful consideration with the input and perspectives of the Unions and Associations and will take some time to develop.While this work is being conducted current recruitment health standards and physical competency testing will continue as they are.

What do I need to do in the meantime?

In the meantime, while this work is being done, nothing will change. Timing of any further work, including consultation, will be considered following the Board’s review of the Working Group’s recommendations.

Further information will be provided as the health standards project progresses.

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