2 Dec 2014

Trustpower wants access to dog register

7:03 am on 2 December 2014

A power company is calling on the Government to give it access to councils' dangerous dog registers so it can protect its workers.

Trustpower has told the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee considering the Health and Safety Reform Bill that dog attacks are a major source of workplace injury for meter-readers and others who have to enter people's properties in their line of work.

Trustpower is calling on the Government to give it access to councils' dangerous dog registers.

Trustpower is calling on the Government to give it access to councils' dangerous dog registers. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Trustpower metering manager Stuart Milsom said while councils knew exactly where dangerous dogs live, meter-readers often only realised once it was too late.

"This day a meter-reader arrived at the property and didn't realise that there'd ever been a dog there in the past and that night he ended up in hospital.

"And the council said we knew that it was a bad dog, and we said, 'well why couldn't we know about that?'" Mr Milsom said.

Mr Milsom said that under the Dog Control Act councils are not allowed to tell power companies.

Fifty percent of all workplace incidents for Trustpower staff involve dogs and Mr Milsom said it did everything it could to try to protect its workers from attacks.

"We actually employ the services of dog psychologists, we train our staff in what to look for...we do things, like real practical things, like when you walk to a property we train our staff to rattle the gate just to see if a dog's coming.

"Have a look around the lawn and see if there's signs of a dog. To know that there's a dog present is to be forewarned."

The Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee will report back to Parliament in March next year.

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