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SARNZ Life Membership - celebrating David Sopp

David Sopp shares what it's like to be awarded a SARNZ Life Membership

It was a real surprise to receive this award on the night, I certainly wasn’t expecting it. It is an honor to become a Life Member and I acknowledge all of the other Life Members and the work they have done in the past for SARNZ.
I would also like to acknowledge the support I have had from my employer, Industrial Site Services. Without this, all that work I’ve been involved in would not have been possible.

In my time on the board, I have been involved in most of the projects over 10+ years. Because of my health and safety background I have been involved in most of the WorkSafe/Industry Guidelines reviews. During the Scaffolding Guidelines review, I was glad to see that we got the inclusion of Working at Heights Helmets recognised along with the use of life jackets when working over water.

More recently, I was involved in the development of the Shrinkwrap Guidelines and the CHASNZ/SARNZ Work Should Not Hurt project. We haven’t finished yet so you will still see me around working alongside the CHASNZ team, helping to make our industry a safer & healthier place to work.

Two other highlights are getting the voluntary Rigging CoC in place,  along with the Rigging Recognition of Competency assessments up and running.

It has been said many times by others that SARNZ is a trade association that punches well above its weight. It was fantastic to see the hard work put in to gain ISO 9001 accreditation - well done to all involved. I believe this puts SARNZ in a prime position within the construction industry moving forward. Sometime in the future, there will be some new Health and Safety Regulations and it is highly likely that they will follow the Australian regulations. I believe that this potentially is an opportunity for SARNZ to grow and expand it’s influence in the industry.

Being part of the change within SARNZ itself has been hugely rewarding. I have been able to bring my experience from other industries to help drive change. Of course meeting fellow SARNZ members and seeing some of the fantastic work our teams do and the challenges that they are able to solve has also been rewarding.

As for challenges, there's a lot of work still to be done to get our training right, especially for rigging. What we need is more input from those involved at the work front.

To anyone looking to grow in this industry I would say 'get involved'.If you can’t yourself, look at who on your team who can. We need people who have been on the tools to get involved when developing new or reviewing current guidelines. Yes, I have been known for ticking off fellow board members to get more involved!

As a recruiting officer for a volunteer fire brigade I always say to our new potential recruits that the more time and effort you put into the brigade, the more you will get back and enjoy being part of an important team helping your community to be safe.

So come on everyone get involved.