Workplace health & safety

 

Workplace health & safety: the stakes are high

Since the overhaul of New Zealand’s health and safety law, workplace health and safety is the responsibility of everyone at the workplace. This means employers, business owners, directors and CEOs, along with workers, contractors and volunteers.

The personal and financial consequences of getting health and safety wrong are severe. Ignorance of the law is no excuse and businesses must inform themselves. There is no room for a casual approach – the stakes are too high.

Are you on board?

Along with supporting regulations, codes of practice, and a regulator (WorkSafe NZ), the Health and Safety at Work Act is aimed at reducing NZ’s workplace injury and death toll by 25% by 2020.

To fulfil your health and safety duties you must comply with both the Act and the supporting regulations.

Get the complete guide to workplace health & safety

Health and Safety Law Made Easy with consultant editor Sherridan Cook, a partner at Buddle Findlay, gives you straightforward and practical guidance on health and safety law. It covers most of the health and safety concerns you have thought of as well as the ones you haven’t thought of, including the classes of duty holders, their associated duties, worker engagement, misleading conduct and much more.

Available on subscription, the guide provides:

  • Detailed overview of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
  • Comprehensive set of tools to help businesses comply with their obligations and avoid common pitfalls
  • Common risks
  • Tips and examples
  • Practical checklists

 

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Who are the dutyholders?

If a person, whether an organisation or individual, falls under any of the following four classes of dutyholders then that person has a set of health and safety duties prescribed by law:

  • PCBUs (person conducting a business or undertaking)
  • Officers
  • Workers
  • Other people at workplaces

Every business will have at least a PCBU, an officer and a worker, regardless of its legal structure. The relationship between classes is not always clear cut. If yours is a small business, the PCBU, the officer and the worker may all be the same person.

 

Officers are exposed to severe penalties

An officer is any person who occupies a position in a business or undertaking that allows them to exercise significant influence over the management of the business or undertaking (eg a CEO or CFO).

The maximum penalties in the Act reflect the level of importance that health and safety has in our community. Large fines and the possibility of imprisonment in the most serious cases are a crucial part of achieving and maintaining a credible level of deterrence.

Are you getting the basics right?

Risks for SMEs

Small businesses are most exposed to health and safety breaches because they don't always have the necessary resources available. That's how we can help. We provide the resources and tools you'll need to make sure you get it right.

Health and Safety Law Made Easy includes examples, practical checklists and insightful tips to ensure you're making the best decisions and to help you implement a strong health and safety culture at your workplace.

 

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Meaning of 'worker'

A worker is a person who carries out work in any capacity for a PCBU, for example an employee, contractor or subcontractor, outworker, trainee or volunteer. The definition is deliberately broad to capture the spectrum of work relationships that exist and to ensure that health and safety protection is extended to all types of workers by the business.

 

'Health' includes work stress

People must eliminate (or minimise) risks that may physically or psychologically harm an individual. Employers are required to take reasonable steps to provide a safe working environment by managing work stress as they would manage any other workplace hazard.

Have you thought about how to safeguard both mental and physical health in your organisation?

How can you reduce your risk?

With Dacreed's online compliance training you can train managers and staff on their health and safety obligations they need to comply with to help protect you and your business from prosecution. Once completed, the training also enables you to demonstrate a lower risk profile to insurers. This results in lower premiums – saving you and your business money. 

 

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Highest level of protection

The health and safety regime is built on the notion that everyone should be afforded the highest level of protection against harm to their health, safety and welfare from hazards and risks arising from work, as far as is reasonably practicable.

To achieve this, people in governance must actively engage in health and safety matters and liability is imposed on those who fail to meet their obligations.

Steeper fines trend to continue

Recently, two companies failed in their High Court challenges to fines imposed by the District Court. The decision upholds the trend to a more aggressive enforcement environment, with steeper penalties, that has emerged since the Health and Safety at Work Act came into force.

Train your staff on workplace health and safety basics

Make sure your employees and managers are aware of their obligations and help you grow and maintain a safe workplace culture with Dacreed's online compliance training.

 

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