Insight

Prepare & Prevent instead of Repair & Repent

In the second half of 2015 the Health and Safety Reform Bill will come into force as the Health and Safety at Work Act. The aim of this new legislation is to substantially reduce work-related harm in New Zealand. Leaders in organisations hold the duty to enforce the changes as prescribed under the Act.

There are three tiers to the penalty and fine regime under the new Act.

  1. The Workers must comply with all company health and safety policies, procedures, and ensure that their actions/inactions do not harm anyone including themselves
  2. The Directors (also known as officers) of the PCBU – Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking have the duty of exercising due diligence to ensure that the PCBU complies with their duty
  3. The PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) has a duty to actively uphold health and safety.

The new Act provides strong penalties for unfulfilled obligations, on a graduated basis, depending on who the duty holder is.


Penalty chart and act


Under the new Act a person or business does not have to be reckless or intentionally vague about health and safety obligations in order to be considered unlawful. If the person or organisation fails to meet their obligations under the Act they can be liable for an offence. This puts the responsibility to uphold health and safety on all levels of a company, from the PCBU, the officers right through to the workers.