In 2013 the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety reported that New Zealand's work health and safety system was failing.
As a result, New Zealand's work health and safety system underwent its most significant reforms for 20 years resulting in the establishment of WorkSafe New Zealand and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) - New Zealand's workplace health and safety law which came into effect on 4 April 2016.
HSWA recognises that a well-functioning health and safety system relies on participation, leadership, and accountability by government, business and workers.
HSWA sets out the principles, duties and rights in relation to workplace health and safety.
A guiding principle of HSWA is that workers and others need to be given the highest level of protection from workplace health and safety risks, as is reasonable.
We can't do this alone. Everyone needs to work together on health and safety.
HSWA shifts the focus from monitoring and recording health and safety incidents to proactively identifying and managing risks so everyone is safe and healthy.
EVERYONE IS RESPONSIBLE
HSWA ensures that everyone has a role to play and makes everyone's responsibilities clear:
IF YOU CREATE THE RISK, YOU MANAGE THE RISK
HSWA requires work-related health and safety risks to be managed. This means taking into consideration the potential for work-related health conditions as well as the injuries that could occur.
Health conditions can include both physical and phsycological acute or long-term illnesses.
COVERAGE IS BROAD
HSWA applies to nearly all work in New Zealand, however there are a few exceptions:
BUSINESS AND WORKING RELATIONSHIPS COVERED
Under HSWA, all types of modern business and working relationships are covered eg, relationship between franchisors and franchisees.
Find out more in PCBUs and the primary duty of care.
FOCUS IS ON WORK
Under HSWA, most responsibilities relate to the conduct of work and how it can affect workers and others, however there are duties that relate to the physical workplace (where a worker goes or is likely to be while at work), as well as any place where work is normally carried out eg, a vehicle, vessel, aircraft, ship, or other mobile structure.
What are we all working towards?
Workplace health and safety is not just about compliance with every letter of the law; it’s about making sure our basic proposition about workplace health and safety is cemented in New Zealand businesses.
HSWA is part of a reform package aimed at reducing the number of serious work-related injuries and deaths by at least 25 percent by 2020.
Health and safety is about looking out for one another; it's about making sure that people go home from work healthy and safe. It’s not just good for business; it’s the right thing to do.
What are we doing to help you?
In this section, you can find information to help you understand the key concepts of the Health and Safety at Work Act.
We've developed tools to:
We've also developed tools you can use when talking about workplace health and safety including:
Last updated 19 May 2016