03 August 2015

Update: The New Zealand Society for Safety Engineering

IPENZ’s newest Technical Interest Group (TIG), the New Zealand Society for Safety Engineering, is a year old.

Over the last 12 months, the Society has pursued its three main objectives, which are to provide:

  • Support and continuing professional development (CPD) to engineers to help them fulfil their safety responsibilities
  • Technical expertise in the development of regulations and legislation affecting the profession
  • A voice for the engineering profession, which represents its interests with policymakers and groups like the Health and Safety Association of New Zealand.

Its Chair, Dr Joe Bain MIPENZ and his colleague, the Society’s Secretary, Matt Bishop MIPENZ, say engineers’ interest in the Society has been very encouraging.

The Society has 60 members and Dr Bain says the level of interest is illustrated by the response to the CPD workshops it has run. The courses, delivered by Dr Bain and the University of Canterbury’s Dr Dirk Pons MIPENZ, have proved popular – they’ve taken place across New Zealand, from Whangarei to Invercargill, with up to 27 participants at each.

“When IPENZ asked us if we could put together a course on safety we thought maybe that might amount to two or three workshops,” Dr Bain says. “But it snowballed – we’ve delivered 17 so far all over the country and there are three more scheduled for August–September, telling people about the Health and Safety Reform Bill and giving them tools to help satisfy the requirements of the law.”

Over the last year, the group has focused on building links with WorkSafe New Zealand and other groups with a safety focus, and growing its membership base. The Society has a busy second year planned. Within the next six weeks, they plan to kick off their first working party, which will revise the IPENZ Practice Note 4, written in 2004. This Practice Note, by its own admission, is not intended as a definitive guide to the Health and Safety in Employment Act, but rather to raise awareness of issues engineers need to keep in mind and learn more about.

Dr Bain is pleased with the Society’s progress so far. He says: “It’s taken a while to get some traction – a lot of the year has been focused on infrastructure and finding our feet. But, judging by the response to the workshops, it seems there’s a real hunger for this sort of group, so we’ll keep at it”.

If you’d like to learn more or are interested in joining the New Zealand Society for Safety Engineering, email Dr Bain