ecoPortal was born out of a need for greater sustainability and risk management in the workplace. The vision behind ecoPortal has come a long way since its founding 10 years ago. The original focus on environmental sustainability has grown to encompass all facets of business sustainability which include looking after people, the planet, and profits.
Today, most companies connect with ecoPortal from a H&S standpoint, but they are still very much aligned with their environmental roots and clients often expand their systems to integrate other areas of business risk. Although the product has adjusted and been refined throughout the years, the fundamental vision of ecoPortal remains the same: to help keep people, places and environments safer.
It was with fitting excitement that we partnered with the One Percent Safer Foundation; an organisation with whom we immediately resonated, and shared an essence with – and recognised the need for its realistic approach in Australasia.
Safety in New Zealand and Australia is – as much as any developed country – laden with bureaucracy and statistics but sits, conflictingly, between idealism and bottom-lines. Our national safety guide is called Zero Harm, a name problematic in itself. Will safety ever really reach ‘zero’? What will ‘zero’ ever really mean in day-to-day life? And what faith, really, will that number ever evoke in a frontline worker?
Too many workplaces are content to toe the line with the 2015 Health and Safety Act – focusing solely on statistical reduction, rather than creating strong, autonomous safety cultures.
Still, statistically speaking, 63 New Zealanders and 175 Australians lost their lives to workplace accidents last year – it may be prudent to mention New Zealand was locked down for two of those months.
Unlike the idea of promoting zero incidents as the sole benchmark of safety, the One Percent Safer movement acknowledges how everyday accidents can be unavoidable, and that to make workplaces safer, we should focus on creating strong safety cultures, retaining the crucial human element that is so often missing.
Naturally, health and safety extends to wellbeing too. Particularly, New Zealand is capturing shocking statistics pertaining to the socio-economic and mental health considerations of its citizens. Our ‘harden up’, tough-love culture works wonders on the rugby field, perhaps; but in reality, creates an insidious cultural byproduct of bottling up mental health issues, and normalising staying quiet – when we need to actually speak up.
Australasia needs a cultural shake-up when it comes to health and safety. Believability is the spin-off of achievability, and those incremental, small steps forward are tangible, probable, and based in realism. We need to detach ourselves from the grandiose pursuit of perfection – an ideal which exists neither here nor there.
That’s why the One Percent Safer movement caught our eye. That’s why we’re proud to partner with this first-rate, not-for-profit Foundation.
Kia kaha (Stay Strong).