Eliminate the Risks - New Regulations to underpin Health and Safety at Work Act.

12/06/2014 09:23

WorkSafe NZ have put out a version of the regulations that will underpin the new Health and Safety at Work Act which it is currently proposed will come into force in April 2015. 

The aim of the regulations are:

1. Provide greater certainty to duty holders about how to meet their primary duty of care in specific circumstances, or in relation to specific hazards/risks.     Accordingly, obligations should be stated as absolutes whenever possible, avoiding qualifying statements.
2. Enable compliance and encourage behavioural and cultural change (as part of the whole package of Working Safer reforms).
3. Focus on what matters/what will make the most difference; and
4. Lift standards above those provided for under the status quo.


You can have your say on the regulations with consultation closing on Friday 18 July 2014. The phase 1 draft regulations are attached. MAY_2014_HSW_Regulations_Discussion_Document.docx.pdf (2434651). here is a consultation questionaiire you can fill out available from Worksafe NZ  at http://mbie.govt.nz/about-us/consultation/development-of-regulations-to-support-the-new-health-and-safety-at-work-act.

The regulations cover five areas:

 general risk and workplace management
 worker participation, engagement and representation
 work involving asbestos
 work involving hazardous substances; and
 major hazard facilities.
The regulations have basically taken the Australian regulations with some changes to reflect the NZ Situation. Overall there is a feeling that the regulations  are suited to larger businesses rather than small business operators and will impose significant compliance costs on small businesses. However it should be noted that many of the regulation requirements are already required under the current regulations. The difference will be that there will be a specific means and capability to enforce compliance with the regulations.
The regulations also reinforce as does the act the ELIMINATION OF RISKS as oppose to MINIMISING risks in the workplace. They do this by making the compliance cost and actions necessary to minimise many of the Hazards in the workplace so arduous, that it will be more cost effective to try and get rid of the risks completely. This is further reinforced with the ability of Worksafe NZ to apply spot fines for non-compliance with the regulations. The amounts of these fines and to which rules they will be apply have not been determined. Here is an example of the Austrlian rules and regulations around First Aid
Duty to provide first aid
(1) A person conducting a business or undertaking at
a workplace must ensure:
(a) the provision of first aid equipment for the
workplace; and
(b) that each worker at the workplace has access
to the equipment; and
(c) access to facilities for the administration of
first aid.
Maximum penalty:
In the case of an individual—$6 000.
In the case of a body corporate—$30 000.