New Zealand embraced the use of asbestos for decades. It was included in so many products that it can be found on the roof, in the ceiling, on the walls and floors, and around pipes – in fact, pretty well everywhere in residential and commercial buildings alike.
New Zealand has a time-honoured tradition of contracting out “non-core” business. But under the Health and Safety at Work Act, you can’t transfer your duty of care to another person: You are still obliged to ensure your contractors, their sub-contractors and their respective staff are competent to safely carry out work on your behalf.
Do you understand what the broadened duties and obligations are under the new Health & Safety at Work Act? Under the new Act, the PCBU has a duty of care to anyone the organisation causes to carry out work for it, whether they be an employee or the employee of someone contracted to do work.
WorkSafe NZ has been busy prosecuting businesses. How exposed will officers be in the new health and safety environment? The Health and Safety at Work Act is the legacy of the Pike River mining disaster where failings by the directors and chief executive were identified but no-one was held to account.
The new legislation has a strong focus on worker engagement. A key aim is to foster a safety-conscious culture. Do you have processes in place to engage with your workers? Did you know you also need processes to receive feedback from them regarding their health and safety concerns?
Are you confident that your organisation’s H&S systems will keep your people safe and protect you from strict liability when the new Health & Safety at Work Act comes into force? The new Act broadens your duty of care to encompass anyone who may be harmed by work that you cause to be carried out.
You’ll be aware by now that the legislative environment is changing with the introduction of the Health & Safety at Work Act on 4th April this year. Are you prepared? Do you know what is required to meet your obligations? As a duty holder, you must have a clear understanding of what is required.
Downloading or otherwise acquiring a health and safety policy is no assurance that you have an “effective” health and safety system. To embed effective systems and procedures into your organisation, it’s critical to take into account the people you are working with. For example, literacy issues, custom and practice, and how people define risk.
The underlying intent of the Health and Safety at Work Act is for everyone to have an opportunity to be notified, and to notify each other, of risks to their health and safety, in order for everyone to be safe and well at the end of the working day.
Many people seem to be greeting the new health and safety legislation as a temporary aberration. The thought is that the government will wake up and see how much additional cost H&S compliance is imposing on the economy, and then wind it back. In the meantime and until that happens, businesses could ignore the issue.