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Critical Risks Management

Critical risks are things that can seriously harm or kill you in the workplace.

Has your business identified it's critical risks? 

In the first ever industry review, we have collected critical risks from multiple retail, manufacturing, and supply chain businesses. This represents over 130,000 workers.

Retail Supply Chain Critical Risk Exposure Report
- Available to download now

Understanding critical risks are essential for all businesses. It helps ensure businesses are focusing on managing the most important risks that are key to protecting people. These risks can have the most serious consequences, including causing loss of life, serious or permanent harm as well as the financial and productivity implications to New Zealand businesses and ACC.

Until now there has been very limited industry-wide view on the best way to eliminate or reduce critical risks, or even what the current critical risks, and their impacts are. Many businesses in the manufacturing, retail, wholesale and road transport sectors are already taking steps to manage their critical risks, but this is all happening independently leaving some to develop their own solutions.

ShopCare sees an opportunity to add value by identifying, developing, and sharing good practices for eliminating, reducing and managing critical risks common in areas of manufacturing, retail, wholesale and road transport. This will save individual businesses time, and costs and will support the sectors to improve their health and safety performance.

ShopCare has a dedicated critical risk workstream and part of the workstream is to obtain a current view of the critical risks within the industry. Here are some insights from the publicly available report.  Overall, fatalities are in a slow decline, but the road transport sector still has the highest number of fatalities as well as an average of 188 days off work in 2021 per “weekly compensation injury claim”. This is the time required by a road transport worker on average to recover from a ‘severe injury’
sustained at work.

The industry average days off work per “weekly compensation injury claim” for 2021 is 134 days. Over the past 6 years, the increase in injury claims is not simply being driven by an increase in the workforce population. Critical risk-related injury claims have risen by 7.8% whilst the workforce in the industry is on a decline by 0.99%. So even with fewer workers in the market, the rate of critical risk-related injuries is on the rise.

ShopCare has taken an intervention logic approach to reduce the overall industry risk of critical risk-related injuries. We envisage the following outcomes:

  • Leveraged learnings

  •  Improved performance in individual businesses

  •  Improved consistency and standards across the supply chain

  •  A wider understanding of what critical risk is and actions

  •  Increased uptake of action in non-critical risk areas with high impact e.g., Musculoskeletal injury prevention, etc.

The workstream continues to drive a campaign to share as much as possible on tools and guidance to support the industry. ShopCare continues to share knowledge and driving engagement through webinars, online events, formal insights and other collaborations will support the process of creating safer workplaces. We are committed to moving the dial and deliver better industry outcomes.  

We have identified the 7 most common critical risks. For each critical risk, the bullet points indicate the most common risks within that category, as reported by industry members see below

Site Traffic Management

  • Collision events - vehicle vs pedestrian

  • Collision events - vehicle vs vehicle

  • Collision events - vehicle vs fixed object

Hazardous Substances

  • Handling of hazardous substances

  • Chemical

  • Asbestos

  • Transport of hazardous substances

  • Anhydrous ammonia refrigeration

On Road Driving Safety

  •  High and low-speed vehicle vs vehicle

  • High and low-speed vehicle vs pedestrian

  • Grey fleet

Working at Heights

  • Falling

Mobile Plant and Equipment

  •  Loading & unloading of trucks and MPE

  • Working with MPE

  • High & low-speed vehicle vs vehicle

  • Vehicle vs Pedestrian

  • Vehicle vs terrain

Machine Safety and Guarding 

  • Entanglement & crushing

  • Automated & robotic machines

Transport, Trucks 

  • High & low-speed vehicle vs vehicle

  • Dock operations

  • Vehicle vs Pedestrian

  • Fatigue / Impairment


The hierarchy of control (HOC) is a system for controlling risks in the workplace. It is a step-by-step approach to eliminating or reducing risks and ranks risk controls from the highest level of protection and reliability through to the lowest and least reliable protection. 

Here are some examples of the hierarchy of controls that you can use in your risk management

HOC Structure.jpg



Loss of Control of a Light Passenger Vehicle (LPV)

Car Lot

Working at

Forklift Maintenance
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