In the five years since WorkSafe’s establishment, we have grown into a more visible health and safety leader – raising the profile of why good health and safety at work matters. We are using strategic engagements with industry, business and workers, strengthening our regulatory focus and starting to develop more comprehensive and targeted harm prevention interventions.

WorkSafe at a glance

Who we are

System leader for health and safety at work and energy safety.

Our three core roles are: system leadership, regulatory effectiveness and harm prevention.

What we are striving for

To transform New Zealand’s health and safety towards world-class.

Three goals:

  • people value health and safety
  • health and safety improves wellbeing
  • collective approach to health and safety.

How we do this

We use our primary levers to support our three core roles.




Who we work with

Workers, unions and worker representatives, energy consumers


Business industry and sector bodies

Specialist advisors and training organisations

Iwi and community

Other regulators and government agencies

Our people


people make up our inspectorate

locations across New Zealand

equal gender split across our staff and management staff

the average age of our staff


Board members

in 2018/19 with a range of expertise across the public and private sector and a focus on the tripartite perspectives of workers and business representatives and government

Our funding

One appropriation

working safer levy

energy safety levy

major hazard facility levy

Other revenue

ACC revenue

targeted fees/other

We have five funding sources that support the delivery of activity across our core roles. In 2018/19 our funding was distributed as above. For further information please refer to our 2018/19 Statement of Performance Expectations.

Our highlights for the year

Co-led development and launch of Government’s 10-year Health and Safety at Work Strategy with MBIE

Signed a 10-year Master Agreement with ACC to fund harm prevention initiatives. 


Our Safe at the Farm stand made the New Zealand Herald’s top five things to do at Fieldays


Top five in the Colmar Brunton Public Sector Reputation Index 2019 for improved reputation with the public

Three out of four people in the target audience changed how they think and behave at work after seeing the Be a safe guy campaign

Case study: Be a safe guy

Kia noho haumaru, heoi e mea ana koe

However you say it, be a safe guy

Taking a Te Ao Māori approach to harm prevention communication proved highly successful, with ‘Be a safe guy – kia haumaru tonu koe’ the most effective WorkSafe campaign ever.

Māori workers are disproportionately at risk of being killed, injured or suffering ill health due to work, with younger, male workers at particular risk. Anecdotal feedback suggested our previous communications were not resonating with this hard to reach group.

The evidence-based Be a safe guy campaign was developed in collaboration with unions, businesses, and the target audience itself. It built on the principles of manaakitanga – focusing on celebrating the knowledge, skills and values of Māori – and kaupapa Māori, to create a humorous campaign with a serious message.

The campaign involved highly targeted social media advertising, including our first ever use of Snapchat, as well as radio, online, billboards and events. Talented young comedian D’Angelo Martin’s take on the different types of ‘guys’ you find in a workplace proved incredibly popular, exceeding all reach, engagement and behavioural change metrics set. Importantly, this was not only a highly effective campaign, but one that shows how taking a Te Ao Māori approach can help develop communications that resonate with Māori and non-Māori alike.

A sequel to Be a safe guy launched in August 2019.

Our operating environment

WorkSafe has largely focused on acute and catastrophic harm, reflecting its origins in MBIE and the Department of Labour. Looking to the future, the global economic and social environment we operate in is changing. We face growing pressures and challenges that we will need to respond to as our operating context changes.3 These include:

circular diagram

How we are responding

system targets diagram
Our four year strategy
Annual Report 2018 19 pg30 31 system targets diagram (PDF 563 KB)

WorkSafe’s four-year strategy, outlined in the Statement of Intent 2018/19–2021/22, sets out the improvements we need so that New Zealand can lift its health and safety performance towards world-class. We will do this by focusing on the areas that will have the biggest impact, by targeting harm prevention initiatives and by working with and through others. We are engaging with sector and industry partners to take ownership and lead good health and safety practices for their people – 2018/19 was our first year for this long-term strategy.

WorkSafe's performance at a glance

Our impact on workplace health and safety

We track our progress through the impacts we want to make. Our impact measures help us understand our performance against what we are aiming for – that everyone who goes to work comes home healthy and safe.

We determine how successful we are in achieving our goals in a number of ways, including asking workers and employers. In 2018/19 we replaced our workers and employers Health and Safety Attitudes and Behaviour Survey with the Workforce Segmentation and Insights Programme (WSIP) Survey. The new survey programme replicates the questions but the data collection methodology has changed from postal/online to online/telephone. The target population for the new survey programme has expanded from focusing primarily on employers and workers in WorkSafe’s four higher-risk sectors. This broader focus will ensure the survey results are more nationally representative.

We are on track for all (five) measures that are directly comparable to previous years. Three measures are not directly comparable. Two of these measures are sourced from our new WSIP survey. The third measure has had a change in how it is defined so is no longer comparable to previous years or the target. The new definition has been documented to ensure consistent methodology going forward. We chose to report no result for one measure that did not reflect new regulations concerning Major Hazard Facilities. 

Our performance against our impact measures

pg32 bar graph

Over the medium term we are seeking to make a difference

People value health and safety

Our work encourages people to value health and safety as part of good business

Health and safety improves wellbeing

Our work enables good health and safety to improve people’s quality of life

Collective approach to health and safety

Our work leads the health and safety system towards shared goals

Delivering our core roles

We also track our progress against activities within our three core roles – regulatory effectiveness, harm prevention and system leadership as detailed in our Statement of Performance Expectations. Over the last year we nearly met all of our targets. We achieved a high level of performance for the two measures that were marginally below target (ie not statistically significant). Both results are from the Service Excellence Survey, which uses a sample of those duty-holders and workers who have had a recent interaction with WorkSafe. Often those interactions are as a result of non-compliance with regulatory obligations. This can lead to a negative perception about WorkSafe’s proportionality, particularly if enforcement action was subsequently taken.

pg34 bar graph

Our financial performance

The financial result for the year was a small deficit of $0.3 million, lower than the $3.7 million deficit which had been budgeted to reflect increasing activity and use of surpluses from previous years. The net difference from budget is 3% of total expenditure, and reflects time being taken to ensure new programmes are well planned and robustly established. This spend will be reinvested in future years as these programmes gather momentum.

Our core roles

Regulatory effectiveness

  • Undertaking regulatory activity – educating, engaging and enforcing – to provide confidence that health and safety is appropriately managed.
  • Enabling New Zealand to have confidence in WorkSafe as the primary health and safety regulator.
  • Supporting confidence in the effectiveness of the health and safety regulatory regime.

Harm prevention

  • Targeting critical risks at all levels (sector and system- wide) based on evidence.
  • Delivering targeted interventions (including on improving workforce capability, worker engagement and effective leadership) to address the drivers of harm.
  • Influencing attitudes and behaviour to improve health and safety risk management.

System leadership

  • Leading, influencing and leveraging the health and safety system to improve health and safety outcomes.
  • Promoting and supporting tripartite leadership of health and safety with industry and workers.
  • Leading by example through WorkSafe’s own health and safety goals.


3 For further information about our operating environment please refer to page 16 of our Statement of Intent 2018/19–2021/22.