Safe steps

Author: Rex Alexander

Safe steps

Rex Alexander
29 June 2017

Alexander, R. (2017). Safe Steps. (Executive Summary of a thesis submitted in conformity with the requirements for the degree of Master of Professional Practice, Otago Polytechnic.)

Executive Summary

Introduction: The genesis of the project came from the realisation from my current consultancy work and from interaction with government ministries, that companies using hazardous substances were historically not managing the associated emergency management and exercise requirements in compliance with the legislation. From that it was deemed unlikely a real emergency could be successfully resolved. This would thereby result in concomitant legal and insurance liabilities with personnel and environmental ethical and moral obligations not being met.

Method: From the position of being an acknowledged resource for New Zealand and New Zealand based multinational companies in this discipline, I chose to design and develop an online Software as a Service (SaaS) framework to meet the perceived need and to achieve a wider reach than one on one consultancy. The intent from the outset was that this should be a framework program that a client company would populate with its own data and records, the features expanding to accommodate the information from simple low risk sites to  complex high hazard, high risk industries. The populated framework showing only that which was pertinent to the facility. The project focussed on IT design leaving the development and coding for further exploration both from an academic perspective and the development of the business case and marketing (all lightly touched on in the oral presentation).

Research included:

  • Discussions with the Authority; WorkSafe New Zealand and equivalent overseas jurisdictions 
  • Conversations with industry representatives to define the scope and depth of the requirements to be fulfilled by the SaaS web-based framework subscription program
  • Confirmation from the Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) national training centre regarding viability and usefulness for the service and included an in-depth discussion with a former National Commander / CEO and member of the International Fire Chief’s association.
  • The development of a (physical) model using a client site for presentation of the research

Conclusion: During the development of the program design it became apparent that the system could be applied to multiple uses including inventory management using both stock control and third-party automatic tank gauging methodologies, transport requirements, maintenance recording, and document management such as; controlling staff training records, contractor management and environmental monitoring. In presenting the program as a holistic on-line management tool intended to achieve continuous improvement what followed included the opportunity through limited permissions access (set by the client) for:

  • FENZ to undertake real-time computer-based exercises for the purpose of (their own) staff training on any subscribing industry anywhere in the country and from any fire station.
  • Workplace safety compliance though monitoring of record keeping and inspection reports
  • Environmental authority monitoring of compliance parameters through the ability to log onto remote sensors.

In the event of an incident, accident, spill or fire with or without injury or environmental damage, the system as designed is capable of providing the management tools and cloud-based recording of data to achieve the efficient management of the scenario and provide the real-time recorded evidence for post incident legal and insurance purposes.

Keywords: IT design; Software as a Service (SaaS); Emergency management; Hazardous chemicals; Legislative compliance; Continuous improvement.


This thesis is not publicly available. The abstract is available under a Creation Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International.