Cross-industry innovation a health and safety winner


A bright idea from Napier OnGas Senior Driver Nakia (Nick) Holland has won a national award for reducing health and safety risks at work

The Workplace Best Initiative to Address a Health Risk Award was given to Vector’s OnGas business at the New Zealand Health and Safety awards.

Vector’s General Manager Gas Trading Brenda Talacek says the award provided recognition of the efforts from OnGas teams across New Zealand to develop the idea into a workable solution.

“Nick had a great idea and his team saw the potential to use a bit of Kiwi ingenuity to make one of our key repetitive tasks safer and remove the dangers of strain injuries.”

Holland is one of about 60 OnGas staff across New Zealand who test nearly 6000 LPG bottles for leaks using a spray bottle every day before they are filled and sent out to customers.

His idea was to replace the spray bottle with something similar to the overhead pneumatic teat sprayers he’d used when working on a dairy farm.

OnGas said that after around twelve months of testing, refinement and installation, the new system was fully installed at all 10 OnGas depots across New Zealand in June last year.

Since then there have been no reports of pain or discomfort relating to hands, wrists, or elbows in its LPG filling teams.

Holland says it was gratifying to know his idea has had such a strong impact.

“It’s a bit like what we did in the dairy shed, spraying the cows down once we were finished milking them.

“It does give me a bit of satisfaction to know something I did is helping the whole country,” he adds.

Vector’s Chief Risk Officer Kate Beddoe believes the win demonstrated the strong safety culture at Vector and OnGas.

“Strong support right across the business has meant we’ve been able to make a real and tangible difference not only to our fillers’ daily jobs but also their families and the communities we operate in by keeping our people healthy and safe”.

WorkSafe Chief Executive Nicole Rosie says Vector has created an environment that encourages their people to be fully engaged in improving health and safety.

“This is a critical element in improving the health and safety outcomes in every business.”

Vector is New Zealand’s leading energy solutions company, delivering energy and communication services.

It’s the country’s largest distributor of electricity and gas, owning the lines and pipes to households and businesses across Auckland.