The new Workplace Health & Safety Legislation (HSWA 2015) has been implemented to improve New Zealand’s’ Workplace Safety Culture. New Zealand has an appalling Safety Record resulting in significantly more work related fatalities and injuries than Australia and the United Kingdom. An average of 1 person per week dies at work in New Zealand, and 600-900 others die of work related illness per annum. Last year, New Zealand underwent its most major health and safety reform in 20 years which eventually evolved into the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA). There are many myths surrounding the Act, but the intent behind the Act is to protect people against harm to their health, safety and welfare, ultimately ensuring every everyone reaches home safe and healthy.
The Act places a legal and moral responsibility on all Directors, Employers, Employees and Contractors to comply with new, rigorous work-safe practices. Failure to do so could lead to serious injury and fines up to $3m and/or custodial sentences.
As we all know, the new legislation applies to all business, small or large, and across all industries. Regardless of what business you are in, you will need to have an active and adequate process to manage hazards and control risks in your workplace, you need to report all injuries, and train and consult with your workers, contractors and other PCBUs. A PCBU is a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’. Individuals who manage and control the workplace or organisations can be PCBUs, regardless of the business’s legal structure.
Under the act, the PCBU’s need to, so as it is reasonably practicable:
• Ensure the health and safety of workers who work for the PCBU (e.g. employees or contractors, including their subcontractors or workers)
• Ensure the health and safety of workers whose work activities are influenced or directed by the PCBU
• Ensure that visitors or members of the public present within the premises are not put at risk by the work of the business
• Provide and maintain a risk-free workplace, safe working environment with provision of safe working systems
• Provide and maintain welfare facilities for all employees and workers
• Provide any information, training, instruction, or supervision that is necessary to protect people from risks to their health and safety arising from work
• Must monitor the health of workers and the conditions at the workplace to prevent injury or illness arising from the work activity
Understanding that many businesses would struggle with the practical implementation of the Act, My Health and Safety developed a simple, web – based application to enhance alignment with obligations under the Act. My Health and Safety offers tools and templates that enable businesses to build and manage their own comprehensive Health & Safety System cost effectively, easily and importantly, engaging your people along the way. Officers can log in to the system to support meeting their due diligence obligations, and managers have instant notification of new risks, hazards and incidents in the business, as well as constantly updated data and stats for site/s. Businesses may operate multiple sites with multiple hazards, induct contractors and employees to sites, and complete Job Safety Analysis online, all of which will automatically update the Company Risk/Hazard Register. Having it all cloud-based makes it easy to use, accessible from any device, and paperless!
Everyone is responsible for their own Health and Safety and of those they work with. The new legislation aims at influencing people to help one another stay healthy and safe. This is true from a functional point of view, as well as a legal one. After all it is in everyone’s interest that you and your family return home safe from work. My Health and Safety believe that together with NZ businesses we can create an open and collaborative environment, enhance safety outcomes and help get more of our people home safe.