What does the Health and Safety Reform Bill mean for your business? - Part 2

18/09/2014 08:30

WorSafe NZ is providing a serious of updates that seek to explain different parts of the proposed Health and Safety Bill.

These updates will give you an overview of the key parts of the Bill as introduced to Parliament, to help you understand some of its key concepts. This will help ensure you’re prepared for when the law comes into effect in 2015. 

If you would like to know more about how this will affect your business call Health and Safety East Coast 0272878747

 

2. What Is The Primary Duty Of Care?

All PCBUs have a primary duty of care in relation to the health and safety of workers and others affected by the work carried out by the PCBU.

The primary duty of care requires all PCBUs to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  1. the health and safety of workers employed or engaged or caused to be employed or engaged, by the PCBU or those workers who are influenced or directed by the PCBU (for example workers and contractors)
  2. that the health and safety of other people is not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking (for example visitors and customers).

The PCBU’s specific obligations, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  • providing and maintaining a work environment, plant and systems of work that are without risks to health and safety
  • ensuring the safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances
  • providing adequate facilities at work for the welfare of workers, including ensuring access to those facilities
  • providing information, training, instruction or supervision necessary to protect workers and others from risks to their health and safety
  • monitoring the health of workers and the conditions at the workplace for the purpose of preventing illness or injury.

 

A self-employed person is a PCBU. In addition to the primary duty of care, they must also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, his or her own health and safety while at work.

PCBUs may also have other specific and ongoing duties, depending on what they manage or provide:

A PCBU who manages or controls:

Specific duties

a workplace

must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the workplace, the entry and exit to the workplace and anything arising from the workplace do not put anyone's health and safety at risk

the fixtures, fittings or plant at workplaces

must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the fixtures, fittings and plant do not put anyone's health and safety at risk

A PCBU who provides accommodation (for the purposes of the job and which is owned or under the control of the PCBU)

must ensure that accommodation is maintained so that it won't expose the worker to any health and safety risks.

 

Clauses 30 to 33 of the Bill set out the primary duty of care, the duty of self-employed persons, and the specific duties of PCBUs with management or control

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Who is a “worker” under the Bill?

Working relationships have changed a lot in the last 20 years, which is why the Bill talks about workers instead of just employees. A PCBU’s primary duty is to workers it directly employs or engages and the workers it influences or directs.

A worker is a person who carries out work in any capacity for a PCBU. This includes employees, contractors, sub-contractors, employees of contractors or sub-contractors, outworkers, labour hire workers, volunteers, trainees and people gaining work experience.

What is a “workplace” under the Bill?

The Bill defines a workplace as a place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking, and includes any place where a worker goes or is likely to be while at work. This includes a vehicle, vessel, aircraft, ship or other mobile structure.

The important thing to remember here is that the duties in the Bill are linked to the work of the business or undertaking, not simply the physical location of the work.

What is the PCBU’s duty to others under the Bill?

PCBUs have a duty, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure that the health and safety of other persons, not just of workers, is not put at risk from the work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking. It’s important to note that this duty is not limited to the physical location of the workplace, or of the actions or inactions of employees, but is about the risk from the work carried out as part of the business or undertaking.

This means…PCBUs need to take a broad approach

  • PCBUs have to think broadly about who is working in their business or undertaking – including their contractors and not just their employees
  • PCBUs have to think broadly about who they affect through the conduct of their business or undertaking, rather than just direct employees or contractors
  • The duties in the Bill are linked to the work of the business or undertaking, not simply the physical workplace.

 


What does ths mean for your current Health and Safety practice and system. Call or email Health and Safety East Coast to find out more. Contact