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Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSE Act)

The object of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is to promote the prevention of harm to all people at work, and others in, or in the vicinity of, places of work.

The Act applies to all New Zealand workplaces and places duties on employers, the self-employed, employees, principals and others who are in a position to manage or control hazards.

The emphasis of the law is on the systematic management of health and safety at work. It requires employers and others to maintain safe working environments, and implement sound practice. It recognises that successful health and safety management is best achieved through good faith co-operation in the place of work and, in particular, through the input of those doing the work.

WorkSafe New Zealand administers and enforces the HSE Act in most workplaces. 


Maritime New Zealand and the Civil Aviation Authority administer and enforce the Act in the maritime and aviation sectors respectively.
Visit the Maritime New Zealand website 
Visit the Civil Aviation Authority website


The New Zealand Police works with the Department to enforce the Act in relation to commercial vehicles.
Visit the New Zealand Police website


The HSE Act was first passed in 1992, but was reviewed and amended substantially in 2002.


Health and Safety in Employment Act and Regulations

You can view copies of the Act and the Regulations on the NZ Legislation website

View the Health and Safety in Employment Act 

Read more about the Regulations


Serious harm definition

The definition of Serious Harm from Schedule 1 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.

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Defining the general duties

The HSE Act sets out general duties, which are in turn supplemented by regulations, approved codes of practice, and guidelines developed by, or in conjunction with, WorkSafe New Zealand.

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Regulations are made under the HSE Act.

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Approved codes of practice

The HSE Act allows for the development and approval of statements of preferred work practice, known as 'Approved Codes of Practice'.

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WorkSafe New Zealand publishes a wide range of guidance material on the application of the HSE Act in New Zealand workplaces. Other guidance has been developed by the Civil Aviation Authority and Maritime New Zealand.

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Last updated 22 September 2015


On Monday 4 April 2016, the New Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) came into effect.

HSWA repeals the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, with immediate effect.

All references to the 1992 Act on this website and within our guidance will be progressively removed.