December 3rd, 2013

Health & Safety; Legislation Update

Workplace health and safety reform – Are you ready?

The Government has announced the most significant reform of New Zealand’s workplace health and safety system in 20 years. ‘Working Safer: a blueprint for health and safety at work’ is the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety set up in April 2012, partially in response to the Pike River Coal Mine disaster.

The reform package is aimed at reducing New Zealand’s workplace injury and death toll by 25 per cent by 2020. ‘Working Safer’ will require leadership and action from business, workers and Government to achieve this goal.

The reform will see the Health and Safety at Work Bill replace the Health and Safety in Employment Act. This will be introduced into Parliament in December 2013. Regulations will also be developed to support the bill, and we will be consulting with stakeholders as part of that work.

The new law and key supporting regulations are expected to start coming into force from the beginning of 2015. Highlights of the ‘Working Safer’ reform package to be implemented over three years include:

  • New legislation reflecting an Australian model, supported by clear and consistent guidelines and information for businesses
  • Extra funding for a new, stand-alone agency – WorkSafe NZ
  • A focus on high-risk sites
  • An emphasis on occupational harm and hazardous substances
  • Improved coordination between government agencies
  • Enhanced worker participation
  • Stronger penalties, judiciary powers and enforcement tools
  • The introduction of a PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking).

You can read more on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.

If you need more advice regarding the legislation changes, or for setting up and supporting your workplace health and safety systems, here are three companies that have been recommended to us:

Hazard Co Phone: 0800 555 339 Website:

IS Networld Phone: 0800 443 805 Website:

CPNZ Ltd Phone: 0800 773 782 Website:

Good Governance Practices Guideline for Managing Health and Safety Risks

Company directors and those operating businesses acquire stringent responsibility and accountability obligations to actively manage workplace health and safety throughout their business operations, involving staff, contractors and even contractors’ contractors (subcontractors).

Hence in response to the key findings and recommendations laid out in the final report of the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Institute of Directors (IoD) have produced a guideline for good governance practices in managing health and safety risks.

You can read more on the Institute of Directors in New Zealand website.

Safe Use of Machinery

The Ministry have reviewed the legislation and guidance on Safe Use of Machinery. 

This document sets out the Ministry’s position on the application of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSE Act) and Regulations for the safe use of machinery. It is primarily focussed on the manufacturing sector but the principles apply to machinery in any workplace.

The Ministry's Safe Use of Machinery project aims to reduce the number of people being injured or killed because of unguarded or inadequately guarded machinery.

You can read more on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.