Do we really want to take all practicable steps to ensure health and safety?

It may seem like a strange question but realistically how could WINZ have possibly anticipated and prevented the terrible attack and murder of their staff? We live in a country that does not allow us to arm ourselves in public so when we are in public and a criminal is armed we are helpless to defend ourselves. We live in a country where our Police are not allowed to routinely carry arms so if they are confronted by an armed criminal they are helpless to defend themselves and the public. We live in a country where security guards are not allowed to be armed so if they are held up by armed criminals they are helpless to defend themselves.

Given these facts how possibly could WINZ have (within the law ) taken all practicable steps to prevent the shooting of their staff?

U.S. Capitol Police officers stand guard as doors are locked down inside the Capitol Building during the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

U.S. Capitol Police officers stand guard as doors are locked down inside the Capitol Building during the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Bullet proof glass? Are we expected now to keep staff isolated totally from their ‘ clients ‘ behind bars or glass?

Bullet proof glass

Bullet proof glass

What about when they are on their lunch break or need to use the toilet? Will they need to punch in codes to access the cafe or loo? Secure doors with a code did not save the staff at Charlie Hebdo as one of the terrorists forced a staff member at gun point to enter the code.These are serious questions that need to be answered. Where will it all end? There are probably Muslim terrorists already in New Zealand. Will health and safety procedures for all public buildings now require bomb proof security features? How will we handle suicide bombers? How can we possibly put in place health and safety precautions for every possible eventuality without radically changing our laws on gun control?

The charges against MSD brought by Worksafe are unjust and unreasonable. No one can reasonably be expected to prepare for an attack like the one experienced at WINZ in Ashburton.

The tragic events in the Winz office in Ashburton last September have resulted in action before the Courts. The obvious being the alleged offender facing multiple criminal charges, including murder. The less obvious now includes the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) as the Crown organisation responsible for Winz, facing charges brought by Worksafe under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. Some have questioned why Worksafe is doing this.

The charges allege there was a failure by the Ministry to take all practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of its employees in Ashburton. The seeming randomness of this event and the inability to prevent such randomness has been at the forefront of this questioning.

NZ Herald

 

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