Health and Safety at Work Act (HSW Act)
The aim of the new Health and Safety at Work Act (HSW Act) is to reduce New Zealand’s workplace injury and death toll by 25 per cent by 2020. This will need action and leadership from businesses, workers and government.
The HSW Act came into effect on 4 April 2016.
The Acts key emphasis is on everyone in the workplace being responsible for health and safety. Are you prepared for how the changes will affect you and your business?
HSW Act Help Videos
We've produced a free six part video series with all you need to know about the new Health and Safety at Work legislation. Start with part one here:
Some of the key changes under the HSW Act:
- Worker engagement and participation
- Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs)
- The duty of officers
- Volunteer workers
- Stronger penalties
- Definition of workplace
- Duty of PCBUs who manage and control a workplace
For Business Owners / SMEs
The PCBU or 'person conducting a business or undertaking' is one of the key terms introduced in the new Act. Despite the name the PCBU is not necessarily one person. In most cases a PCBU will refer to a business entity, such as company or organisation.
A PCBU may also be an individual in the case of someone running their own business. For example a builder operating as a sole trader will be a PCBU.
For CEO's and Directors (Officers)
Under the new Act Officers are now personally liable to ensure health and safety action. The term 'officer' refers to people with senior positions, who have a significant influence over the management of the business. This includes chief executive officers, directors and anyone else at that level.
Concerned about your responsibilities under the Act? The Business Leaders' Health and Safety Forum have produced a range of free guides for those at director or CE level, including:
- Safety governance and leadership for directors and senior executives - due diligence and beyond
- Safety Leadership - a guide for chief executives
Site Safe also offers a range of leadership courses which also cover the new HSW Act:
A series of regulations have developed to support the new Act. These include:
- General risk and workplace management
- Worker participation, engagement and representation
- Hazards substance
- Major hazard facilities
More information on the regulations is available on WorkSafe's website.
Useful information and links
- What events have to be notified - fact sheet on notifiable events
- Where can I get more technical information - download this 'special guide' from WorkSafe's website
- Where can I read the actual law - available on the NZ Legislation website
- Do I need a health and safety representative - read this article and flow chart
- What are my responsibilities as a small business - see this flowchart for an example of different responsiblities in a business
- An overview of the HSW Act - watch this video fronted by WorkSafe CEO Gordon MacDonald.
- Learn the lingo - understand some of the key terms and acronyms around the new Act with our cheat sheet.
- Health and Safety Rep roles and responsibilities - Site Safe has an updated course for HSR reps.
Site Safe can help
Site Safe has a nationwide team of expert health and safety consultants who can help you get the right systems and culture in place, so you're ready for the new HSW Act. Our consultants can help you improve your existing systems, or put the basics in place if you're starting from scratch. Site Safe is also running a series of free seminars based on the new HSW Act, click here for more details.