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Health and safety reforms - what you need to know

By Claire Mansell - 17 Jul 2014

The New Zealand health and safety regime is in the midst of major reform. Directors, CEOs and senior employees need to be aware of new duties expected to be imposed on them under the Health and Safety Reform Bill 2014, once it becomes law. This Bill prescribes significantly higher penalties up to a maximum of $600,000 and/or 5 years imprisonment for individuals. Failure to comply can lead to directors, CEOs and key employees being held personally liable. It is important to remember that as is the case under current law, insurance will not cover fines and infringement fees.

The Bill introduces the concept of a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) and imposes personal due diligence duties on officers (directors, CEOs and key employees) of PCBUs to ensure that the PCBU complies with its obligations.

To satisfy the due diligence obligation officers of PCBUs will need to take reasonable steps to:

  • acquire, and keep up-to-date, knowledge of work health and safety matters;
  • understand the nature of the business and the hazards and risks associated with its operation;
  • ensure appropriate resources and processes are available to eliminate or minimise risks;
  • ensure there are appropriate processes for reporting and responding to incidents, hazards, and risks;
  • confirm there are processes in place to ensure compliance with any duty or obligation; and
  • verify the provision and use of resources and processes.

It is anticipated that the Bill will be passed towards the end of the year and come into force around April 2015. For more information about how these changes affect your organisation, contact Claire Mansell.  

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Health and safety in the workplace - what the new regulations could mean for you


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