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MBIE confirms health and safety oversight of NZ Defence Force
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MBIE confirms health and safety oversight of NZ Defence Force

21 June 2013

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment confirmed today that it has oversight and compliance responsibilities for workplace health and safety for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

“The Health and Safety Group of the Ministry, and later this year the new workplace health and safety regulator, WorkSafe New Zealand, will be responsible for all parts of the New Zealand defence forces.  This aligns with the recommendations of the State Services Commission Review of the issue of Health and Safety in Employment Act (HSE Act) coverage in military matters, completed in December 2012,” Lesley Haines, head of Health and Safety said.

“The Health and Safety Group has already implemented this position into its operating procedures and for example is investigating the death of Private Michael Ross in a training accident near Waiouru last year.  That case will be heard in Auckland on 25 July this year.

“The Health and Safety Group has been working with Defence on implementing the recommendations of the SSC Review.   In undertaking its regulatory role with Defence, MBIE, and later the new regulator, will work with other agencies such as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Maritime New Zealand to source specialist expertise where required.

Some of the recommendations of the SSC Review, such as those relating to legislative changes and resourcing will be considered by the Government in the context of the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety and the establishment of the new regulator. The establishment of the new health and safety regulatory agency, WorkSafe New Zealand, is scheduled for December 2013.

Background Note

An Air Force Iroquois crashed near Paraparaumu on ANZAC Day 2010.  The Department of Labour did not investigate this incident.  The SSC subsequently investigated this issue and in its report released in December 2012, it concluded that MBIE (which incorporated the former Department of Labour functions) should be responsible for all regulatory functions under the HSE Act in relation to the New Zealand Defence Force.


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