Health & Safety changes... got your head around it yet?

Posted by: Sara Fenwick
Date: 22 December 2016

Stats show that New Zealand has a higher number of injuries or casualties than that of Australia and the UK.  Our previous Health & Safety in Employment Act 1992 was over 20 years old and after the 2010 Pike River Mine explosion that resulted in 29 deaths, the Government needed a wake up call.  As of 4th April 2016 this was replaced with The Health & Safety at work Act 2015.

The outcome of this new law is to reduce the number of New Zealander's injured or killed at work.  It is a blue print for Health & Safety and aimed at reducing the numbers by 25% by 2020. 

The act is a focused effort on critical risks, business risk, control and size…. "Work smarter, target risk and work together to work safer" are the words from WorkSafe New Zealand. 

For small businesses little will have changed, but that doesn't mean that you should have ignored getting familiar with these changes and what your involvement is. 


What does change?

The focus is moving from the physical workplace to the conduct of work and what is the "reasonably practical concept".  Workplaces need to shift their focus from hazard spotting to managing hazards within their environment, by supporting more effective worker engagement and participation.


Who does this effect? 

Employers, Principals, self-employed, partnerships and anyone who manages or controls a workplace are all responsible for ensuring that they are meeting health and safety responsibilities…. This is called "due diligence" under the new act.


What do I need to do? 

  1. Read the new legislation and understand your responsibilities in your position under the new act. 
  2. Review and update your Health & Safety manual for your organisation.
  3. Inform your employees or workers. 
  4. Appoint a Health & Safety manager or official person to inspect, record and notify workplace incidents so that they can be identified and addressed…. to overall eliminate an incident happening in the workplace again.


What happens if I don't comply?

If you don't comply with the new legislation the penalties for non compliance can be very, very crippling to any business.  This could even lead to prosecution for offences of failing to meet your obligations.  You don't escape there either…. paying for offences such as fines or infringements by way of your insurance policies are out of the question as imposed under the new HSWA…. Frightening isn't it!

Have more questions or what to know more, give us a call 03 578 3386 or email us - we can help.

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