It's elf and safety mate! (8 Nov, 2017)

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It's elf and safety mate! (8 Nov, 2017)

Postby aardvark_admin » Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:31 am

This column is archived at http://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2017/1108.shtml

Are NZ's H&S laws having too many unintended consequences?
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Re: It's elf and safety mate! (8 Nov, 2017)

Postby Kiwiiano » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:00 am

OMG!! Someone has been doing the same thing in ChCh!!! I didn't realise those cabinets were so dangerous!!!
Surely PowerCo should be required to screen them off with safety fences.
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Re: It's elf and safety mate! (8 Nov, 2017)

Postby Malcolm » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:20 am

The big thing seems to be she is going and doing it without consulting them. You can't just go painting someone's property without their permission. It seems others have been allowed to do it if they follow the appropriate rules and wear the required PPE. If people are just painting them off their own bat without talking to the power company how do the know if they aren't painting over cooling vents, or ID tags or even if using paint that is appropriate for the material? All of which could compromise the operation of the box and even create a danger to the power network itself.
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Re: It's elf and safety mate! (8 Nov, 2017)

Postby aardvark_admin » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:26 am

It's a steel plate with no holes. Even a casual glance by PowerCo would confirm that there's no issue with painting it.

But you can't even really blame PowerCo... their lawyers will have said "no" because of the risks imposed on them by the H&S legislation that holds them responsible for other people's ignorance or incompetence -- and this is the big problem which has produced a raft of unintended and very negative consequences.

These days, the default answer when any body or corporation is asked, by a member of the public, for permission to do something-- is NO.

Why bother taking the risk of facing criminal prosecution for something which doesn't directly benefit the bottom line?

The government is holding a gun to their heads so naturally they're going to take the zero-risk option, even if the actual risk involved is immeasurably low (as is the case with this woman's work).

I can see why so many people have given up on organising community and public events -- the H&S overhead is enormous and sucks so much resource that would be better spent on actually organising and running the event.

The most interesting unintended consequence of all this is that in towns like Tokoroa, hi-vis has become the standard uniform for most of the population. If you want to be seen - DO NOT wear hi-vis because you simply blend into the crowd. Far better to wear a dark teeshirt and jeans because then you'll stand out like a sore thumb. Honestly!
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Re: It's elf and safety mate! (8 Nov, 2017)

Postby Malcolm » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:55 am

aardvark_admin wrote:It's a steel plate with no holes. Even a casual glance by PowerCo would confirm that there's no issue with painting it.

But you can't even really blame PowerCo... their lawyers will have said "no" because of the risks imposed on them by the H&S legislation that holds them responsible for other people's ignorance or incompetence -- and this is the big problem which has produced a raft of unintended and very negative consequences.


It isn't up to Power Co to come out later and see if there is an issue with it. The onus was on her to contact the owner of the property she wanted to paint and ensure they were ok with her doing it. Then to follow any conditions they set out for doing it. I think Transpower has requirements which has to be met on any equipment on their network which can be as specific as to the chemistry of the paints applied to coatings etc. If someone paints over an ID tag on a pillar box and the network provider just leaves it, what happens if someone needs to pull a fuse in an emergency and there is confusion regarding which box it was? These are all reasons why she should have contacted them first.
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Re: It's elf and safety mate! (8 Nov, 2017)

Postby joeseph » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:09 pm

Malcolm wrote:If someone paints over an ID tag on a pillar box and the network provider just leaves it, what happens if someone needs to pull a fuse in an emergency and there is confusion regarding which box it was?


Could potentially be a problem if that were the case, clearly though the ID tag on the box shown in the Stuff story hasn't been painted over.
I'd be dismayed if the inside of the box did not have exact details for the box ID & what fuse was what though.
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Re: It's elf and safety mate! (8 Nov, 2017)

Postby phill » Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:04 pm

love her work

we really need more community people like that

we also need to hire less tokens
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Re: It's elf and safety mate! (8 Nov, 2017)

Postby par_annoyed » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:34 pm

The discussion - some room in Powerco offices -

1st voice -"How about STOP PAINTING OUR POWER BOXES BECAUSE IT'S GRAFFITI - oh, no, too fucking obvious. What if everyone says they actually *like* the bird pictures ? Bugger, we'll have to think of something else ......"

2nd Voice - "Ooh, oooh, I know, let's say it's a health and safety risk, that kind of thing" ...
Boss - "Nice, might be a runner that....can't clean boxes, not designed for paint and so on. Yes, Nice. What if we mention a water blaster ?"
1st voice - "But boss, she uses a damp cloth"
Boss - "Oh That's not important....."..."Anyone ?"....
New Quiet voice from the back - "But aren't the boxes waterproof and weatherproof in the first place ? And properly earthed I bet as per 'leccy regs ? "
<Embarrassed Silence from the floor >...Boss shuffles papers.....meeting breaks up......
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Re: It's elf and safety mate! (8 Nov, 2017)

Postby GoGijoe » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:27 pm

Some kid near where i used to live, stuck his hand inside a hole or the gap of a power box and got zap'd / fried, Id be worried too if people where poking around and exposing the underinvestment in infrastructure that has been going on.
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Re: It's elf and safety mate! (8 Nov, 2017)

Postby greven » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:29 pm

They could learn a thing or 2 from Chorus. The roadside cabinets that Chorus invited local artists to decorate have seen far less graffiti than the boring white/green boxes.
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