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Health and Safety

What you need to know about: Health and Safety

Who should read this?

Why is it important?

What you need to do

The key steps associated with health and safety management are outlined below:

The page provides a checklist of the key tasks involved with each step. It provides a description of your key legal duties as an employer, together with other good practices for managing health and safety in smaller workplaces. Further information is available on our website or by contacting us on 0800 20 90 20.

More detailed health and safety information is available from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and references are included on this webpage.

Hazard Management Process

Hazard  Management Process Flowchart
Click image to view larger copy and text of content

Footnote 1: A ‘significant hazard’ is one that is an actual or potential source of serious harm or other harms arising from the exposure to the hazard.

Health and Safety Checklist

If you answer no to any of the questions you may need more information.

Legal requirements Yes No n/a
Do you know that creating a safe and healthy workplace is a legal requirement?      
Do you know what your responsibilities are under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992?      
Do you know that your employees have responsibilities for health and safety too?      
Do you know that you can’t insure against a fine or infringement fee that is imposed if the Act is breached?      
Do you know there are specific restrictions on hiring young people under 15 years for hazardous work?      
Do you know there are specific restrictions on hiring young people under 16 years to work between 10pm and 6am?      
Do you know that in most cases, if you have someone doing ongoing and regular voluntary work as an integral part of your business, you have a duty to ensure their health and safety?      
Do you know that for any volunteer doing work activity for you, you must take account of hazards in planning their work?      
Do you know that you must ensure the health and safety of people on work experience?      
Do you know there are specific legal requirements if you engage contractors and subcontractors?      
Do you know that all employers must belong to ACC’s workplace insurance scheme?      

For more information visit business.govt.nz, our website and ACC

Employer commitment Yes No n/a
Are you able to demonstrate an active, consultative commitment to all areas of health and safety management in the workplace?      
Do you have a documented and up-to-date health and safety policy?      
Do you consider injury prevention issues at senior management meetings?      

For more information visit ACC

Planning Yes No n/a
Have you reviewed existing practices in:
  • premises
  • plant and substances
  • procedures
  • people
Have you determined the milestones you need to complete to successfully implement injury prevention plans?      
Do you link injury prevention to other forms of business planning?      

For more information visit ACC

Hazard identification, assessment and control Yes No n/a
Do you know that you must ensure you have effective processes for systematically identifying and assessing hazards?      
Have you identified specific injury hazards in your workplace?      
Do you record and investigate all accidents and near misses to determine if they were caused by a ‘significant’ hazard?      
Have you developed and implemented action plans for significant hazards to eliminate/reduce likelihood of harm?      
Do you know your responsibilities regarding the provision of protective clothing and equipment?      
Are you aware of requirements relating to specific hazards that may exist in your business?      

For more information visit our website

Information, training and supervision Yes No n/a
Do you know you have a legal obligation to train your employees on hazards to which they are exposed; the use of safety equipment and clothing; emergency procedures; and Health and Safety systems and issues?      
Do you know that you must provide employees with ready access to clear information about emergencies, identifiable hazards, and where to find all necessary safety clothing, devices and equipment?      
Have you ensured your employees are informed of their own and your responsibilities for health and safety in the workplace?      
Have you developed induction and ongoing education packages in the ACC WorkSafe Cycle, the ACC WorkSafe Injury Model and the actions required to manage injury factors?      
Are you educating staff in injury prevention issues at least six monthly?      
Are your staff trained and supervised by a knowledgeable and experienced person?      

For more information visit ACC

Incident and injury reporting, recording and investigation Yes No n/a
Do you know the difference between an incident and an injury?      
Do you know that you must have a system that ensures incidents and injuries are reported, recorded and investigated and that the appropriate corrective action is taken?      
Have you implemented a system to analyse incident and injury data (and report results to management and staff)?      
Do you know what ‘serious harm’ is and that you need to notify the Department of Labour if it occurs and manage the hazards that caused it?      

For more information visit ACC and our website

Emergency readiness Yes No n/a
Do you know that you must have an emergency plan to manage all types of emergency likely to happen in any part of your workplace?      
Have emergency procedures been implemented and communicated to staff?      
Do you have designated wardens for each work area to take control in an emergency?      
Do you test your emergency procedures periodically?      
Do you review and update emergency plans?      

For more information visit ACC

Employee participation Yes No n/a
Do you know that your employees must have the opportunity to be involved in developing safe workplace practices?      
Are you aware that a business with fewer than 30 employees requires the development of an employee participation system when one or more employees request it?      
Do you know that employees may elect health and safety representatives, and they are entitled to paid health and safety representative training?      
Have you ensured that injury prevention is part of all weekly staff meetings?      

For more information visit our website

Contractor management Yes No n/a
Do you have a system to ensure that contractors, subcontractors and their employees are not harmed on-site?      
Have you developed a health and safety clause to be written into all contracts?      
Have you ensured that induction to on-site health and safety procedures is coordinated by a designated person(s) for all contracted staff?      

For more information visit ACC

Return to Work Yes No n/a
Do you have a system in place to help injured employees make the transition back to work?      

For more information visit ACC

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How to resolve issues relating to health and safety

The employee participation provisions in the Health and Safety in Employment Actare intended to promote communication between employers and their employees. Most workplace health and safety issues will be resolved by employers and employees working together in good faith. Employers can also get help from guides like approved codes of practice, and from advisors like industry associations and health and safety professionals. When an employer and a trained health and safety representative cannot agree on a way to resolve a potentially hazardous situation in a workplace, a hazard notice may be used.

Hazard notice

For more information on Enforcement.

Other ways of enforcement

Improvement notice

Sometimes if discussion with an employer or another person does not give an inspector assurance that defects will be rectified the inspector can issue a formal document to require compliance.

This document is called an improvement notice and it means what it says – the recipient is required to take some action to comply with the Act.

The notice will specify:

For more information on Improvement notices.

Prohibition notice

Sometimes an inspector will find a workplace situation so dangerous that it just has to be stopped.

To do that the inspector can issue a prohibition notice. The inspector has to feel that unless the hazardous activity is stopped serious harm is likely to occur to somebody.

The notice requires the employer or recipient to immediately stop the activity, machine, process etc.

The notice will specify:

For more information on Prohibition notices.

Infringement notice

A health and safety inspector may issue an infringement notice if:

An infringement notice informs you that you have breached the Act and that you are required to pay an infringement fee. There are two categories of infringement fee:

  1. $800-$4,000 (in $100 increments) for breaches of the requirement to have a system for systematic hazard identification, and
  2. $100-$3,000 (in $100 increments) for all other breaches of the Act.

For more information on Infringement notices.

Prosecution and fines

The Department of labour’s overall approach to enforcement, notices and prosecutions is set out in our enforcement policy, Keeping Work Safe (published April 2009). This sets out how and why the
Department responds to non-compliance with the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.

Prosecutions are taken in the most serious situations, such as wilful non-compliance or where the harm or potential for harm is severe, taking account of the public interest and the realistic prospect of conviction.

For most offences, the maximum fine following conviction is $250,000, although in cases where the person’s action or failure to act occurs, and they know it is likely to cause serious harm; the maximum fine is $500,000 and/or a maximum term of imprisonment of 2 years.

For more information on Prosecution and fines.

For More information

Accident Compensation Corporation

New Zealand government business site

Department of Labour

If you need more information about the topics covered in this brochure:

Call us free on 0800 20 90 20
Or visit our website at www.dol.govt.nz

The Department of Labour’s website contains detailed information relating to health and safety, recruiting, pay, holidays and leave, performance management, and ending employment relationships. Our website also has answers to frequently asked questions and case studies.

Our free online tools – to improve your business

In addition to The Big 6, we also provide tools and services that are designed to make management simpler and free up time for small business owners to concentrate on the bigger picture. These tools help you implement good health and safety, and employment relations practice.

The tools are:

You can find these online tools at www.dol.govt.nz/onlinetools

How Do I...?

Our "How Do I" page outlines ways government organisations can help you with your business.