Health and Safety Reform Bill hits parliament

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The shake-up of New Zealand workplace’s health and safety requirements is now in its final stages with the introduction of the Health and Safety Reform Bill into parliament.

The Bill is part of ‘Working Safer: a blueprint for health and safety at work’ and reforms New Zealand’s health and safety system following the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety.

It will create the new Health and Safety at Work Act, replacing the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.

Labour Minister Simon Bridges states: “The Bill will beef up penalties for non-compliance, and will place more regulatory responsibility on people at every level of the supply chain to ensure their workplace is safe.  This will be particularly important in contractor-dominated sectors like forestry.

“The law will also improve worker participation to ensure workers know how to keep themselves and their colleagues safe.”
Specifics of the Bill include:
  • Putting more onus and legal requirements on managers and company directors to manage risks and keep their workers safe;  
  • Requiring greater worker participation so workers are more involved in health and safety in their workplace;
  • Establishing stronger penalties, enforcement tools, graduated offence categories and court powers;
  • Amend the WorkSafe New Zealand Act 2013, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, Accident Compensation Act 2001, Employment Relations Act 2000 and other Acts.
It is expected the Bill will pass into law by the end of the year and will come into force in April 2015. It will also be supported by two phases of regulations; proposals for the first phase of regulations are expected to be released for consultation in early April.

To read the bill click here.

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