Council zero-harm policy doubts rejected

Suggestions a zero-harm goal for health and safety within the Dunedin City Council might be unrealistic have been given short shrift by a senior manager.

The topic emerged as members of the audit and risk subcommittee this week considered a new draft health and safety policy for the council.

The council had previously relied on a health and safety ''commitment statement'' and manual, but no overarching policy.

Subcommittee member Janet Copeland told this week's meeting the existing documents did not meet good governance requirements, but the replacement policy needed more work as well.

That should include a new charter to set health and safety standards, including key goals and ways of measuring success, she said.

However, a goal of ''zero harm'' in the workplace might be unrealistic, and the council should instead consider a lesser goal, she suggested.

That did not sit well with council group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie, who told the meeting he would never accept the idea.

''That's then saying it's fine to hurt our employees, and it isn't,'' Mr McKenzie said.

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