Workplace Health and Safety

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NZPPI Member Workplace Health and Safety Guide

NZPPI today released its recently developed guidance to assist members develop or refine their Workplace Health and Safety policies and procedures. It’s a wireframe of a complete system with a series of questions to help businesses as they work through their system.

And it’s not just for those who have yet to complete their system, the guidance, which was developed in collaboration with OSHbox, will assist those more advanced in their implementation of Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

The Guide was distributed to members by email late in December 2016 and is available from the office, office@nzppi.co.nz.

It joins joins NZPPI’s EMA membership deal as part of a revamped member-exclusive benefits package. More on membership here

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSAW Act) replaces the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSE Act). The principal objective of the Act is to provide a balanced framework to secure the health and safety of Workers and workplaces by:

  • protecting Workers and other persons against harm to their health, safety, and welfare by eliminating or minimising risks arising from work or from prescribed high-risk plant; and
  • providing for fair and effective workplace representation, consultation, co-operation, and resolution of issues in relation to work health and safety; and
  • encouraging unions and employer organisations to take a constructive role in promoting improvements in work health and safety practices, and assisting PCBUs and Workers to achieve a healthier and safer working environment; and
  • promoting the provision of advice, information, education, and training in relation to work health and safety; and
  • securing compliance with this through effective and appropriate compliance and enforcement measures; and
  • ensuring appropriate scrutiny and review of actions taken by persons performing functions or exercising powers under the Act; and
  • providing a framework for continuous improvement and progressively higher standards of work health and safety.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 is supported by regulations, guidelines and codes of practice which control specific health and safety issues.

The Act does not tell businesses specifically how to make their workplace safe; rather, it requires that each entity has done everything that is reasonably practicable to make work safe. It recognises that all parties involved in the work undertaken and each workplace (including Officers, Workers, Contractors and Volunteers) have the best knowledge about the specific risks arising from the work undertaken, and are best placed to provide solutions about how to manage those risks.

The information in this guide is designed to help you as a PCBU, and your Officers, Workers, Contractors, Volunteers and Others to better understand and fulfil your roles and responsibilities, and begin creating policies and procedures around those.

For more guidance from WorkSafe: http://www.worksafe.govt.nz/worksafe/hswa/understanding-hswa
To view the HSAW Act: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2015/0070/latest/DLM5976660.html


Some simple steps

Changes to NZ Health and Safety Legislation

NZ businesses have known for some time now that were changes coming to the Health and Safety Act and many have or are taking steps to ensure they are compliant with the legislation that came into force on the 4th of April 2016.

From that date, the responsibility for safety in the workplace no longer just fell on the Employer. The new legislation shares various duties on Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), Officers (Directors and Board Members), Workers, and Others. In essence, this means no one can ‘opt out’ of Health and Safety, put their hands in the air and say “it’s not my problem”. Safety is everyone’s responsibility. 

The primary duty to ensure Health and Safety sits with the PCBU – as the person or business in the best position to control risks in the workplace. On a site, there may be multiple PCBU’s who share the responsibility of the Health and Safety of anyone working for them (including Contractors and Employees) as well as those within the vicinity of the work they are carrying out or by using the products and services they provide (including Customers and Visitors).

Now is the time to ensure your business has a system in place to help manage safety on your worksites, and to ensure the other businesses you work alongside are doing the same.

Safety can be simple, your system doesn’t need to be time consuming and it also doesn’t need to cost a fortune. If you don’t feel you can do it alone, find a trustworthy consultant and shop around until you find a solution that is customised to your industry, which includes help understanding the system and one that will work for you long-term.

So what can you start looking at? OSHbox suggests starting your system by looking at what they call the ‘High Five’ – five areas you can start working on now to create your safety system.

  1. Check you have policies and procedures up to date and documented (Ie. Drug and Alcohol Policies, Incident Reporting Procedures and Hazard/Risk Identification Procedures)
  2. Check that you are documenting down the hazards/risks that you have noticed in your work and then ensure those hazards are either Eliminated or Minimised and record those controls you have put in place. Remember this could include the work you do, the tools you use or the environments you work in.
  3. Ensure you are documenting and reporting any work related Incidents, Injuries or Illnesses that occur, investigating them and putting preventative measures in place where possible – and that you have a process for reporting notifiable events to WorkSafe NZ.
  4. Look at how you document the training and induction that you do with your Employees to make sure they know how to work safely and look at how you induct any contractors as well.
  5. Write up emergency procedures for all situations you work in.

These five areas are the basis of a simple and easy to manage safety system. Of course some businesses will require more or less than this, but if you are looking at writing a system yourself, these are great areas of your business to start looking at first”.

Putting time and resources into your Health and Safety system is not only complying with legislation, it is the right thing to do – and if you can’t do it alone, ask a specialist consultant to help. Implementing a Health and Safety system that works could be the best investment you make.

 

Material kindly provided by

OSHbox Logo \

Angie Williams, angie@OSHbox.co.nz
P  07 839 2980
M  021 396 665
oshbox.co.nz

26-Apr-2016

H&S risks: Identify yours a new tool

31-Jan-2017

Worksafe are building their collection of tools to assist businesses develop their workplace health and safety programmes. A recent addition is a tool that features 13 businesses. While a nursery or garden retailer is not one of the businesses featured, the tools nevertheless will provide industry members with an insight to risk hotspots - check it out, Around The Block - WorkSafe's look at what can affect safety in town.

It's part of WorkSafe's Toolshed - which has page on "farm risks" (a little closer to our neck of the woods) and other highly relevant guidance.