New regulatory body begins operation

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New Zealand’s new stand-alone Crown health and safety regulator, WorkSafe NZ, begins operation today.

It takes on the health and safety responsibilities from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and has an annual budget of $80 million.

It will have the power to inspect workplaces, issue infringement notices and prosecute organisations whose safety standards fail to make the grade. It will also enforce certain legislation including Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992; Electricity Act 1992; Gas Act 1992; Plumbers Gasfitters and Drainlayers Act 2006 and the new legislation that will replace the Health and Safety in Employment Act next year.

Additionally the new regulatory body will have its total inspectorate resource boosted by more than 65%, including increasing the number of core inspectors from 115 to 200 and the number of High Hazards and Major Facilities inspectors from six to 29.

Labour Minister Simon Bridges stated it was a “new era” in workplace safety.

"Too many people are killed or seriously injured in our workplaces and the injury rate must come down,” he said.

"WorkSafe NZ has high targets and will work with other Government agencies, businesses and workers to reduce the fatalities, serious injuries and illnesses caused in the workplace."

Its aim is to reduce workplace deaths by 25% by 2020. 

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