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The Health and Safety at Work Act

Published 10 Sep 2015

The Act is part of “Working Safer: a blueprint for health and safety at work” and reforms New Zealand’s health and safety system following the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety.

Working Safer is aimed at reducing New Zealand’s workplace injury and death toll by 25 per cent by 2020.

It will require leadership and action from business, workers and Government to achieve this goal. The Act’s key emphasis is on everyone in the workplace being responsible for health and safety.

The Act works to focus effort on what matters, based on business risk, control and size:

  • It reinforces proportionality – what a business needs to do depends on its level of risk and what it can control
  • It shifts from hazard spotting to managing critical risks – actions that reduce workplace harm rather than trivial hazards
  • It introduces the “reasonably practicable” concept – focusing attention on what’s reasonable for a business to do
  • It changes the focus from the physical workplace to the conduct of work – what the business actually does and so what it can control
  • It supports more effective worker engagement and participation – promoting flexibility to suit business size and need.
  • The Health and Safety at Work Act will replace the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. The new law will be supported by regulations that are being developed in time for April 2016.

Source MBIE 

A series of regulations is being developed to support the new Act. This includes:

  • General risk and workplace management;
  • Major Hazard Facilities;
  • Asbestos;
  • Engagement, worker participation and representation (available shortly for public consultation).

The regulations will start to become available in 2016.

Until the new Act comes into effect in April 2016, the current Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 remains in force.

EAL will provide further information as it becomes available. EAL's Online Health and Safety module in the Employers Toolbox will be modified to reflect the requirements of the new Act prior to the Act taking effect.

As a cloud based system all users will benefit from centralised updates by us as they happen in line with the regulation changes and Law. Thus ensuring any prescriptive and regulatory change requirements are met by the system.

More information on Health & Safety Online.