When it comes to workplace health and safety, New Zealand has a problem.
Every year 50-60 people are killed in workplace incidents, and hundreds more die as a result of work-related ill health. Our work-related fatality statistics are three times as high as the UK and nearly twice as high as Australia. This is just not good enough. Everyone who goes to work deserves to come home healthy and safe.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) is New Zealand's workplace health and safety law. HSWA sets out the principles, duties and rights in relation to workplace health and safety.
HSWA is just the beginning and signals a new way of thinking about health and safety. This is not just about compliance; it’s about getting people home healthy and safe. It’s not just good for your business, it’s the right thing to do.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) is New Zealand's workplace health and safety law. It came into effect on 4 April 2016. HSWA repeals the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.
Under HSWA, senior business leaders are responsible for ensuring that the business is meeting its health and safety responsibilities. They must make sure the business understands and manages its key risks. This is called due diligence.
Under HSWA, a business or undertaking (PCBU) must look after the health and safety of its workers and any other workers it influences or directs. The business or undertaking is also responsible for the health and safety of other people at risk from its work including customers, visitors, or the general public. This is called the 'primary duty of care'.
When two or more businesses are working together at the same location or through a contracting chain, they must work together to fulfil their duties of care. Where those duties overlap, they need to consult, cooperate, and coordinate their activities to meet their health and safety responsibilities to workers and others. This is 'overlapping duties'.
Businesses who are in the supply chain (upstream) also have a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the work they do or the things they provide to other workplaces don't create health and safety risks.
Workers and other persons at workplaces have their own health and safety duty to keep themselves safe and not cause harm to others.
All businesses and undertakings must involve their workers in workplace health and safety. A safe workplace is more easily achieved when everyone involved in the work communicates with each other to identify hazards and risks, talks about any health and safety concerns and works together to find solutions.
Here we answer some of your questions about the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA), and dispel some of the myths
Last updated 3 February 2017
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Introduction to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA): Special Guide
This guide provides a comprehensive overview of HSWA - New Zealand's key health work and safety law and its regulator - WorkSafe New Zealand.