So what is so new about the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA for short)
Well first don’t panic, if you have been doing workplace safety well up until this point you will still do well under the new HSWA. On the other hand, if you haven’t given H&S much thought up until now feel free to panic (or at least feel mildly under pressure) the act contains some big fines now if we don't get it right.
You have probably heard that we have a new way of describing an organisation as a “PCBU” and new title for those taking the lead “Officers” and for those doing the work “Workers”. Essentially all a health and safety legislation around the globe tells us the same thing, “you must make effort to stop people from getting hurt by your activities” and HSWA is no different. This having been said 3 new areas of interest for your organisation will be:
- The need to assess RISK not just identify hazards
- "Overlapping Duties" the need to work with other organisations that work alongside you to reduce risk
- An obligation to give more consideration to the work that goes on before the job starts "Safety in Design".
Time will tell how much difference the new act will make to the H&S of New Zealanders, and much will depend on how enthusiastically the regulator WorkSafe pushes for conformance. For now it is a much welcome update to some essential legislation and some thing of a “line in the sand” to separate the modern New Zealand workplace from the horrors of the past.
You will find some helpful information from WorkSafe at https://worksafe.govt.nz/laws-...
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