Skip to main content

Helping small and medium sized businesses with risk management

The Around the Block tool was launched in November 2016 as a way to help small and medium sized businesses understand their responsibilities under the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. The tool specifically helps businesses identify and manage key risks within their business context.

With the introduction of the new health and safety law in April 2016, workplace health and safety risks became a hot topic for businesses.

Small business owners in particular felt overwhelmed by the new law. This tool aims to alleviate some of their concerns by highlighting the potential risks in context, and showing them how to manage those risks in an accessible and interactive way.

Small and medium sized businesses make up 97% of businesses in New Zealand and employ approximately 490,000 workers.

The Around the Block tool is for the employees, managers, owners, and directors of these businesses. The tool was co-created with representative businesses to ensure it was relevant, usable, and provided useful information.

Around the Block

In developing the tool, we followed the general principles of service design including:

  • genuine comprehension of the purpose of the service, the demand for the service and the ability of the service provider to deliver that service
  • customer needs rather than the internal needs of the business
  • designed to deliver a unified and efficient system rather than component-by-component which can lead to poor overall service performance
  • creating value for users and customers and to be as efficient as possible
  • understanding that special events (those that cause variation in general processes) will be treated as common events (and processes designed to accommodate them)
  • input from the users of the service
  • prototyped before being developed in full
  • in conjunction with a clear business case and model
  • developed as a minimum viable service (MVS) and then deployed. They can then be iterated and improved to add additional value based on user/customer feedback
  • designed and delivered in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders (both external and internal).

The 15 businesses you’re most likely to see on a city block, and most likely to benefit from the tool, have been targeted — from cafes and hair salons to medical centres and petrol stations.

The tool is designed to be iterative and a wider range of businesses can be added. In 2017 we introduced two new businesses to our original neighbourhood of 13 shops — a bakery and a collision repair workshop. Our statistics indicated that workers in bakeries and collision repair workshops are at a high level of risk from a range of work and health related risks. Working collaboratively with the Bakery Industry Association of NZ and the NZ Collision Repair Association as well as local businesses ensured that the illustrated scenes accurately represent the real world risks to workers’ health and safety.

The animation and overall online solution was delivered by Audience Design, the chosen developer for this tool.

In our brief to Audience we specified that the solution needed to:

  • meet current web usability and accessibility standards (currently Usability Standard 1.2 and Web Accessibility Standard 1.0)
  • be fully responsive across all devices
  • be flexible enough to enable us to make changes to content.

Technology stack

The tool was developed using open-source technology including vector based JavaScript animation. We decided not to use a CMS based framework as this was deemed excessive for the purposes of this project.

The application was built using the following standard file types:

  • HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, Jquery, MySQL, and XML for application development, and
  • GSAP, JavaScript, jQuery & CSS3 for vector animation.

The tool is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) using S3 bucket.

How it works

The tool is animated to allow users to understand the 'block' concept — that they are going to a city block and choosing the shop front that they are interested in.

Users enter a shop and are presented with a shop floor that has animated hotspots indicating an associated risk. There will be up to eight risk hotspots in each shop.

Each risk is introduced by our Safety Steve persona. Safety Steve has previously been used in our icebreaker videos.

Safety Steve provides guidance on how to identify and start to manage the risks identified by the hotspots. The hotspots link into pages on our website where more information and resources on that topic are available. The tool also helps businesses to involve and educate their workers in identifying and managing risks.

Promoting the tool

The Around the Block tool was promoted via industry associations, relevant government departments and stakeholders, as well as a digital and social campaign.

An introductory video starring Safety Steve was developed to support and provide context for the communications and promotion of the tool.

Since its launch the tool has garnered 42,000 hits across the 15 shops on the block.

It has gained a lot of positive feedback from users and other agencies. Thames-Coromandel District Council, which actively promoted the Around the Block tool on its channels, praised the tool’s usability and usefulness. Health and Safety Advisor Ben Allam said, 'Tools like this make it really easy for people to find the material that is relevant to them, while introducing them to new concepts at the same time which will expand their awareness and understanding. Really awesome tool!'

Around the Block is just one of the resources in the WorkSafe 'toolshed' — the online home for the growing dynamic and interactive content we are developing as part of a better experience for businesses and workers.

This initiative was created as part of the Better for Business collective.

Better for Business: 10 agencies — one vision

Utility links and page information

Was this page helpful?
Thanks, do you want to tell us more?

Do not enter personal information. All fields are optional.