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.
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.
The health and safety reforms are a hot topic of debate. There are concerns that this is another shift toward a “nanny state”. At the very least, it could become an onerous compliance burden for both large and small organisations – the latter which are well-represented in the high-risk construction, adventure tourism or forestry sectors.