The new legislation means there is now more legal and moral accountability on everyone regarding health and safety in the workplace, with the ultimate goal being to ensure New Zealand workplaces are safer.
The law took effect 4 April 2016 so the Court would expect businesses to have incorporated any enhancements to health and safety by now.
The penalties can be considerable – up to $3 million. But, for low-risk businesses who already take a considered approach to health and safety not much will change. However, it is worth reviewing your practises to see if there are any areas where you may be at risk.
We suggest that businesses include health and safety in their business agendas. Business owners should do a walkthrough of their company for a practical assessment of what health and safety looks like in reality in their business.
A good place to start is www.worksafe.govt.nz/hswa
Health and Safety – Did you know:
- Everyone has a responsibility and can be held accountable for workplace health and safety including employees and directors.
- Non-compliance of health and safety by employees can be a disciplinary issue.
- The government has set a target of 25% reduction in serious harm by 2020.
- You should always check any contractors’ health and safety policy before allowing them onsite as you could be liable for their
offences or unsafe practises.
- A work car is considered a place of work.
- You cannot insure against court costs/fines but you can insure against having to pay reparation to a victim or their family. The court can order a company an ‘adverse publicity order’ (basically a name and shame advertisement in a newspaper).
- We have heard stories of some businesses breath testing their employees after Friday night drinks to ensure they are not over
the limit when they leave the office!
- A director of a company needs to understand the operations of their business and continuously check their business has the appropriate resources and processes for health and safety. If you are a director in name only, now would be a good time to change your management structure. See us for any assistance.