WorkSafe commissioned a review of the process where compliance certifiers who have been temporarily suspended wish to complain about their suspension.
The review followed a hearing by the Regulations Review Committee in March 2021, where they heard complaints from two compliance certifiers about the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017. It was independently conducted by Barrister Mr Duncan Ferrier and was completed on 24 September 2021.
Compliance certifiers are private businesses or individuals that work with other businesses or individuals around hazardous substances management, to ensure that the requirements set out in the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 are met. They are authorised by WorkSafe to issue compliance certification activity based on their skills and experience, and their work is audited by WorkSafe according to our audit policy and compliance certifier performance standards.
The review found that WorkSafe’s process towards complaints about temporary suspensions overall appeared well-intentioned and focussed on being fair and reasonable in its dealings with the compliance certifier.
The review did note several procedural areas where WorkSafe’s processes could be improved and recommended the adoption of a bespoke written procedure for responding to complaints and requests for reviews of temporary suspensions, rather than relying on WorkSafe’s general complaints and feedback policy.
WorkSafe accepts the findings and recommendations of the review, and intends to develop a specific procedure and process for responding to complaints and requests for review of temporary suspensions by which will be implemented by the end of the first quarter (financial year) 2022/23.
This new procedure will also include specific provisions to ensure complaints and review requests are considered by parties within WorkSafe that are independent of original temporary suspension decisions.
WorkSafe will work alongside MBIE on the hazardous substances regulatory reform process as it progresses, to ensure this matter is appropriately addressed from a regulator’s perspective. This work will likely take a number of years to complete.
Continuous improvement and adjustments to our processes are key parts of regulatory approach. We welcome the opportunity to strengthen processes and have a range of programmes underway to achieve this.