Category Archives: Workplace Safety

I just dropped in

I just dropped in to proffer an explanation of my absence from this blog for the past 18 months or so.

In a word, depression. I have been beset with mental health problems my entire adult life. I have at least four diagnosed DSM-5 disorders. Of these, depression is the worst. It is, quite literally, a life-threatening illness. Fortunately, amongst other things, my life is not mine to take. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

Things took a turn for the worse about 18 months ago. Amongst other things, the full implications of having recently been belatedly diagnosed with adult ADHD were sinking in, winter was coming, and my usual coping strategies of injudicious drug use and abnegation of personal responsibility were failing me. But what really got me in a tailspin was when the state started bankruptcy proceedings against me, for alleged failure to pay taxes. I saw my GP about my predicament and he had no hesitation in giving me a medical certificate for WINZ. The upshot is that, since last autumn, I’ve been on the sickness benefit. Yes, that’s right. I’m a ward of the welfare state. So you can see what condition my condition is in.

But that’s enough about me, I don’t want to make this post all about my personal woes. In time-honoured fashion, I want to make it about this country’s political woes. This post will be about the government’s role in providing mental health services and, in particular, it’s role in NZ’s high rates of depression and suicide.

Straightaway, let’s get one thing straight. The government doesn’t actually care. The present National government doesn’t even want to know. Why else would it re-brand what was formerly the sickness benefit as “job seeker support”? A sickness beneficiary already has a job, and they know it! Their job is to get well. Well enough to seek, find, and then hold down a permanent paid position. All of which is easier said than done for the chronically mentally ill. Some of whom should, and do, end up on the invalid’s benefit.

The government doesn’t actually care. Certainly, the neoliberal government we’ve had in this country since 1984 doesn’t give a damn. To begin with, take the fact that the suicide rate for New Zealand males aged 15-19 doubled in the course of three years from 16 per 100,000 in 1985 to 32 per 100,000 in 1988. While trustworthy statistics aren’t easy to find, it would appear that this alarming increase in NZ’s youth suicide rate has held up. I see no reason to dispute the claim that NZ now has the highest rate of teen suicide in the developed world.

Former Children’s Commissioner Ian Hassall makes a couple of especially pertinent points (notwithstanding his dubious analogy to climate change).

The critical fact is that New Zealand has the highest rate of youth suicide in the OECD. This excess of young people’s deaths in New Zealand when compared with other OECD countries must be a result of local factors.

The statistics show that whatever these factors were, they began to operate from 1985 to 1988. That was a time of social turmoil in New Zealand. The economic restructuring that was sweeping the world was imposed faster and deeper in New Zealand than elsewhere.

“No pain, no gain” was the catchphrase of Rogernomics. What it meant was that it was expected that the structural changes would be painful but they would be worth it in creating a more robust economy.

For young people, the changes were rapid and painful indeed. Suddenly, finding a job was not guaranteed and bright future prospects dimmed for many. A reduced welfare safety net meant that many were not sufficiently helped and inequality widened.

I don’t think that we can say for sure what aspect of neoliberalism is to blame, or even that we can definitively blame neoliberalism in the first place for the sustained rise in youth suicides. But it’s certainly a prime suspect.

As ever: what is to be done?

Officially New Zealand has focussed on mental health and mental health services as a means of dealing with the problem. Mental ill-health and lack of mental health services cannot explain the sudden doubling of youth suicide from 1985 to 1988.

Not surprisingly, then, this approach has failed. Mental ill-health undoubtedly has a part to play in many youth suicides, but there is no reason that this should be more of a problem in New Zealand than in other countries.

It is comforting to believe that young people will be safer if our mental health services are improved but it is largely a false hope. Saying so will, no doubt make me unpopular, but so be it.

So be it, and I agree.

Sadly, throwing more money at the problem isn’t going to help much, if at all. In fact, I submit that a big part of NZ’s current mental health crisis is down to excessive reliance on the state to fix the problem. A bigger part is due to state intervention in the first place. It is completely wrong, for example, that the state treats the simple administration of a proven cure for depression as a greater crime than rape or armed robbery, and instead busies itself funding a lolly scramble of often worse than useless placebos.

Whereas I don’t think more government money is going to fix the problem, I do think it’s downright criminal to cut funding to mental health services in a time of mental health crisis. And that’s what this National government has done. My point is that where the state has taken on responsibility for the provision of mental health services, it must honour that commitment in the meantime. Until such time as we can successfully devolve this responsibility to families, friends and support at the local community level. Faceless bureaucracy never made anyone happy.

At a time like this, it is utterly appalling that the government saw fit to cut funding to Lifeline, one of NZs biggest and long-established suicide counselling lines. And instead, allocate that funding to a “new, preferred supplier” called LaVey. All very well, perhaps, except for the six-month hiatus between Lifeline’s funding being cut and the new provider stepping in. Oh, and the fact that Bill English’s wife is on the board of LaVey! Nepotism doesn’t get much uglier. (LeVa, LaVey. Whatever.)

Now, a closing few words about the efforts of the government-funded agency Like Minds and their take the load off campaign. When I first saw their video featuring Daniel from Taihape I was immediately reminded of the disturbingly dark comicbook art of the Spanish artist Joan Cornellà.

Wait just a moment! Take another look at take the load off. What on earth is that woman friend using to get her mate Dan out of his pit of depression? That’s right, it’s a hangman’s noose.

Sure, it’s supposed to be a lasso. But seriously, what sort of subliminal message are they sending to the suicidal? The people at the agency that created this plagiaristic monstrosity sure have a sick sense of humour. (It wouldn’t surprise me if they were the same outfit responsible for Colin Craig’s election campaign material last election.)

I’m glad that I also have a sick sense of humour and can appreciate it. I hope you do too. To all my depressed friends out there, I say, life is very much worth living, no matter if it seems like a sack of shit right now. Hang on in there!

Running the Gauntlet: The charade of Workplace safety.

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^And…. that’s why the Idea of *Zero accidents* is for Retards and Birds.
Imagine the Paperwork on this… Good job!
😀

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As soon as I hear some Manager, or Safety officer starts claiming ‘Zero accidents’ as being a company objective I know they are Morons trying to impose unrealistic and Jackbooted regulations…
They dont truly have worker safety in their minds… but seek to feign compliance with the stupid dictates of their Health and safety Committees and policies they have constructed to fool the Labour department and OSH. (Government Occupational Safety and Health)

Of course no worker can voice these thoughts at Company meetings.
This will single you out as a subversive element… a Bad apple in the basket.
Despite all the claims to wanting workers to be thoughtful about health and safety… in reality they dont.
They just want Nodding heads.
clapping hands are the only permissible sounds that may emanate from the floor at the ‘Solutions’ Management tables.
They want Blind…silent submission.

Stop raising concerns you troublemaker!

The walls are closing in.
Workers are Burred under expanding mountains of Rules… generated hourly by congregations managers whom have nothing better to do than have meetings and invent more ridiculous Rules.

They are Known as ‘The Cant do department’.. by those whom think that being employed actually mean getting the job done.

These managers are oblivious to the fact that the more silly rules they make.. the more ridiculous they appear to their workforce… the more they create worker dis-engagement… the less respect they inspire in General health and safety and their leadership.

Walls are now a Blur of Signs of Compulsion and prohibition.

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Workers must run the gauntlet everyday through the tyranny of Bogus Health and safety rules that are just waiting to impail them should they make the slightest mistake. Ie Being Human is now unforgivable.

With regards to the Worksafe vehicle in the ditch (Top of the post) *I SAY DRUG TEST THEM!*
Make them piss in a jar!
Question their competence… Give them a written warning!
Treat them with suspicion …. yeah.. welcome to the Nazi Culture these arseholes have created for the rest of us….
See how they like it.
This is the Gauntlet they make the rest of us pass through every day.

The Enforcers of tyranny love to Rip us little folk a new arsehole … and threaten our jobs anytime we show our humanity…even when we have exemplary work records…yet they *Never* seek to employ their tyranny against themselves!

Look at what happens when the Evil Eye turns its attention on the Enforcers themselves!
Mandatory blood testing for police officers is being slammed as “heavy handed” and showing “a trust problem”.
Read more Here.

This is when the Police balk at being Drug tested *on their Job*… and claim its a violation of trust… yet they and arse-wipes from the government regulatory bodies wont accept that argument from the plebs.
Company Administration and Executives love to demand a company drug test policy for the plebs they employ, yet always make themselves exempt!

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The excuse that ‘the Police do dangerous work’ is lame… *We all do dangerous work!*… many of us do far more dangerous work requiring far more skills with the potential for ‘Shit to happen’ a constant possibility should any one factor go pear shaped.

This is just a fact of life… No risks means nothing gets done!
And The Nazi system now being implemented tyranizes over Good workers like a Fail for our Backs… while making endless excuses for the powers that be.

The whole Safety business is a scam… A bureaucratic shitstorm draining the lifeblood out of our economy and carrying a horde of Useless nothings upon our backs.

The whole system is Corrupt.
Its created a minefield for Small businesses that prevents them from being able to take on many do-able jobs because the Red Tape makes many jobs financially un-viable.
The whole system does not allocate responsibility fairly or justly, and sets absurd standards, and actually accommodates very *Bad management of health and safety by big companies whom have learned how to juggle the system.

They rigorously police silly / petty rules … giving an appearance of putting ‘safety first’ while turning a blind eye to the *Big problems* that actually demand they budget bigger sums to remedy.
The basic principles of Safety have been abandoned, so that most of the proscribed remedies today can actually make jobs *less safe*.. yet that does not matter because the remedies appear to comply with what has become ‘accepted norms’.
People whom injure themselves at work are asked to come in *on crutches*… Bandages around their heads… over one eye… on light duties… just so the company can downplay the seriousness of the events to ‘Work safe’ and ACC.

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Fit for light Duties.

This proves the modern day Business execs put *their Graphs ahead of safety*… and as long as their Graphs show trending in a favorable light they pat themselves on their backs for their cunning.
*Never do they accept responsibility for the Bad decisions they make on a daily basis that impact negatively upon the minions far below…*… think Pike River… and The white washed investigations that ought to have Named names in Parliament… in Government departments, and in the Pike River executives… yet it was all conveniently suppressed… they want the mine permanently sealed .. the truth to remain buried.

Even if the front line staff did tinker with the gas detectors, etc They did it to keep the Bosses happy… who expected the work to be done even when the Mine was flooding with gas.
The Design of the mine was a Political… Eco construct… That put political concerns ahead of Real science and safety.
The entry to the mine should have been closer to the payload.
They should have been allowed to put in more ventilation shafts given the length of the access tunnel now being describes as being ‘The Barrel of a gun’, yet they were not allowed to do so because of the political desire to ‘Minimise the environmental Footprint’ of the project on the National park.

Read : Pike’s ventilation system ‘unable to cope’.

Yet these things took second place to the delusions of maintaining the appearance of Safety and Environmental fanaticism.
Nobody who was responsible in Government (Helen Clark’s Regime) has ever been called to account.
And the then current Government was quick to defect blame from the political processes that generated the problems!
(just as the Leaky Building syndrome sits at the feet of Council Building inspections and regulations)

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The whole ACC and OSH systems are Corrupt and need abolishing.
ACC is a gigantic form of Robbery.
We need to start from scratch based upon sound principles of Justice.
Laws that uphold a viable Private insurance system that protect workers and employers from being defrauded by Insurance companies is where all this needs to go… in fact the laws around insurance in general need a serious clean up… currently faith in insurance is so low in the minds of the plebs…they are lumped with Politicians, Lawyers, and Used car salesmen for matter of trustworthiness.
This is probably the biggest hurdle standing in the way of Real reforms.
Its funny that the sheeple have a distrust of Private insurance companies yet almost blind faith in *Government insurance* which will shaft you just as quickly… and is robbing us blind… and is crippling our ability to be productive and achieve our goals… reducing our quality of life at every step… and enriching an army of freeloading Back riding monkeys.

Read: ACC rejecting genuine claims, says surgeon

ACC unfairly rejects claims, says study

ACC tells rejected claimants: We’ve been too strict so try again

In a deregulated society, there will still be rules and responsibility.
There will be an even greater sphere for Private safety management professionals… yet the political environment will have been fixed, and how costs in health and safety are carried will be more open to scrutiny.
It will cost the workers *less* than they currently pay.. with all the hidden ACC fees buried in virtually everything they buy, etc, etc..
It is a massive topic.
Most Safety issues could instead be solved by simple common sence… yet that has been virtually outlawed… The Safety nazis will tell you that Common sence is a myth… yet fail to see that it is their Nutbar Tyranny that drives common sence out of everyone.
Their policies cause an atrophy of self-responsibility.
Peoples well being are far more under threat by the Tyranny of compliance to Red tape than they ever were by real hazards.
Ultimately We need a complete reversal of Safety culture from Tyranny to self-responsibility.

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Tim Wikiriwhi.
Libertarian.

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