How to manage health and safety within a business

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Both the Royal Commission on the Pike River Mine and the Independent Taskforce on Health and Safety have recommended that those in governance roles have greater responsibility for workplace health and safety. This has led to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Institute of Directors, producing the Good Governance Practices Guideline for Managing Health and Safety Risks.

Directors are responsible both for issuing health and safety policy, but also for ensuring its implementation, according to the guidelines. To do so, directors need to hold management to account through four key processes: policy and planning; deliver; monitor; and review.

Some of the key ideas include:

Policy and planning:


  • The directors should determine high level health and safety strategy and policy, including providing a statement of vision, beliefs and policy
  • The directors should hold management to account for implement this strategy
  • The manager should determine and implement business and action plans to give effect to board strategy and determine targets that will enable them to tack their own performance



  • The directors should lay down a clear expectation for the organisation to have a fit-for-purpose health and safety management system
  • The managers must lead the implementation of health and safety management systems sand programmes



  • Directors should monitor the health and safety performance of the organisation
  • Management should provide the board with reports on health and safety management system implementation, and performance as required



  • Directors are to ensure the board conducts a periodic formal review of health and safety to determine the effectiveness of the system and whether any changes are required
  • The managers are to organise regular audits and reviews of the health and safety management system and its implementation

You can read the Good Governance Practices Guideline for Managing Health and Safety Risks here.



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