In April 2016 the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSW Act) came into effect and this created concern for many regarding their responsibilities. The HSW Act is primarily concerned with ensuring the health and safety of paid workers of an organisation, however it does have wider responsibilities for anyone doing any sort of work, paid or not. For most philatelic activities the HSW Act will not apply, however there is an expectation any activity is carried out with reasonable ‘due diligence’ so people are kept safe.
The health, safety and security of any person associated with our hobby should be in our forethought. Within the hobby there are a lot of activities occurring from regular club meetings, club organised activities and fairs to major national exhibitions. To ensure these activities occur we rely on volunteers and others to help organise and execute ‘work’ tasks to make the activities a success.
From a practical point of view some of the actions that will help keep people safe are:
- Meeting rooms or events are set up so there are no trip hazards (e.g. exposed cables on the floor); furniture and equipment is set up and used in a safe manner; and, emergency exits are kept clear and accessible.
- Transport or movement of equipment or furniture is completed in a safe manner – for example, sufficient people are used to carry any heavy item; loads are properly secured when being transported; mobile equipment does not pose a danger to others; etc.
- When hiring a venue or using any location ensure the site is suitable; venue operators should provide safety information for the venue – they have a responsibility, as do other organisations or businesses operating (e.g. stamp dealers) in the same venue (overlapping duties).
- Allowing only authorised people into areas when setting up or outside of planned activity periods, to ensure bystanders are not putting themselves in harm’s way.
- Ensuring the people organising or controlling an event supervise the activities to ensure tasks are being done safely and the people assisting know how to do the required tasks.
- When providing activities for youth we need to keep them safe from abuse or neglect (Vulnerable Children Act 2014)
For larger events, such as National Stamp Exhibitions, there could be legal health and safety responsibilities to be aware of. It is recommended event organisers who are unsure of their responsibilities in these regards seek assistance from experts in these fields. The Federation Secretary can be contacted with questions in the first instance for member clubs and societies.
Below are links to WorkSafe NZ Fact Sheets that may also assist: