Health and Safety in the Workplace
Since the inception of the Health and Safety at Work Act (the Act) in 2015 and associated Regulations, industry professionals now acknowledge that the sun has set on the kiwi ‘she’ll be right’ safety culture.
Our region is bustling with the likes of building and construction; horticulture; viticulture; farming; and adventure activities – which by their nature carry a relatively high level of intrinsic risk. Overall, business owners and operators have done a good job of stepping up to their obligations under the Act to ensure their health and safety management systems meet the required standard.
Accidents can happen
If your business does not have a health and safety management system in place, then it needs to! Despite best efforts, things can go wrong - accidents and near-misses can and do happen. The seriousness of the event that caused harm or had potential to cause harm determines whether or not it’s a ‘notifiable event’ under the Act, that is, notifiable to Worksafe – New Zealand’s health and safety regulatory body.
If the event is notifiable then, once immediate appropriate measures have been put in place to prevent recurrence, at minimum the business or individual must carry out an internal investigation. This helps determine the root cause and how best to prevent a similar future occurrence.
It’s possible that you or your business can provide Worksafe with the right information and they choose not to investigate any further. It’s also possible that you do not or cannot satisfy Worksafe that there is no cause for further action, in which case you are likely to hear from them again with further questions.
How far Worksafe might choose to take its enquiries depends in part on the nature of the harm that was or could have been suffered, the systems and processes the operator had in place at the time of the accident; and what steps the operator has since taken to identify and ensure associated risks have been managed appropriately, moving forward.
Offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
Things may ultimately lead to a business or individual being charged with a health and safety infringement or offence under the Act. Offences under the Act can include failing to comply with duties under the Act; reckless conduct in respect of duties under the Act, or any other infringement of the Act.
What we can do to help
If you are unsure of your rights, obligations, or next best steps then we recommend you give us a call so we can best advise you.
We can assist with all workplace health and safety matters including:
- Advising of your rights and obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and Regulations
- Reviewing your business’ occupational health and safety management system (OH & SMS)
- Advising on OH & SMS policy development
- Advising you in your dealings with staff and external parties
- Acting for you in the event of a potential, likely or pending prosecution
- Acting for you in all related Court proceedings