ShopCare is a New Zealand Food & Grocery Council initiative born out of a $1.5 million grant from ACC to tackle injuries in the workplace.

It’s part of a $22 million injury prevention programme by ACC that includes the forestry and construction industries and three district health boards.

ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the grants “are about supporting business innovation and strengthening leadership on health and safety in our high-risk sectors”.

FGC’s grant established the Retail and Supply Chain Health & Safety Sector Group, which was publicly launched as ShopCare. It includes senior leaders from retailers, manufacturers, transporters, and suppliers who will share knowledge, problem-solve, and design systems to improve the safety, health and wellbeing of all employees involved in the creation, supply, delivery, and sale of food and grocery products.

It will identify key risk areas in transport, mobile plant and equipment, manual handling, in-store, health & wellbeing, leadership, and manufacturing, address the issue of overlapping responsibilities between companies along the supply chain, and agree on a common language and terminology so everyone’s ‘talking the same language’. It will also work with organisations to identify best practice, provide opportunities for education and knowledge sharing, and align health and safety processes and systems.

ShopCare is led by Liz May, a former General Manager of Logistics at Woolworths NZ, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the FMCG sector.

In its first 12 months, ShopCare is gathering health & safety data from the retail and supply chain sector to build a picture, alongside other data, of where the industry is at. This will be a first for health and safety reporting in New Zealand.

Liz May said the funding would enable the group to meet a critical need in the retail and supply chain sector for industry leadership to drive long-term positive change. “We will be able to drive industry collaboration and a coordinated approach to knowledge sharing and problem solving. As a result, we aim to achieve enhanced ownership and responsibility among business leaders for organisational health & safety and a better understanding of risks and impacts so that everyone, be it in logistics or in supermarkets, goes home safe and healthy to their families.”

The proposal for funding was put together by FGC’s Safety Working Group Chair Gerry Lynch (CEO of Delmaine Fine Foods), and the Independent Chair of the Health & Safety Association of NZ, Mike O’Brien.