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Health and Safety Reform Bill

This Bill is an omnibus one that proposes reform of New Zealand's workplace health and safety system. The Bill seeks to replace the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and the Machinery Act 1950.

This Bill reforms New Zealand’s workplace health and safety system, following the work of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety and the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy. Its main purpose is to provide for a balanced framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces. The Bill is part of a package of major changes to the health and safety system that has already resulted in the establishment of WorkSafe New Zealand. The new regime is based on the Australian Model Work Health and Safety Act, with modifications to take account of differences in the New Zealand context. The new regime recognises that a well-functioning health and safety system relies on participation, leadership, and accountability by government, business, and workers. This includes:

  • a law that is flexible enough to work appropriately for small and large businesses and high-risk and low-risk sectors, without imposing unnecessary compliance costs:
  • obligations placed on the people in a work environment who create the risk and are best able to manage the risk:
  • a worker participation model that provides for better levels of participation and helps workers to have the knowledge and accountability to keep their colleagues safe:
  • an appropriate system of regulations and guidance to ensure that people understand their obligations and can comply with them:
  • an effective enforcement regime with graduated categories of offences and penalties to provide better guidance to the courts about appropriate fine levels:
  • a Workplace Health and Safety Strategy that is approved by the Minister of Labour following development through an open consultative process:
  • ensuring that participants in the health and safety regulatory system are able to share information where appropriate.

This bill will have widespread ramifications in the workplace and we are interested in your feedback. 

A copy of the legislation is available here:

Feedback Due: Please send your feedback to Senior Policy Analyst, Marilyn Head, or 04 494 6372 by April 4th 2014.