Review of the key characteristics that determine the efficacy of OHS instruments: Report to the Minister of Labour
Appendix 3 – Definitions
Approved Codes of Practice
“The HSE Act allows for the development and approval of statements of preferred work practice, known as “approved codes of practice”.
These are recommended means of compliance with the requirements of the Act, and have been developed after consultation with the industry or industries concerned. They are approved by the Minister of Labour after consultation with affected groups and individuals.
A code of practice applies to anyone who has a duty of care in the circumstances described in the code – which may include employers, employees, the self-employed, principals to contracts, owners of buildings or plant, and so on.
An approved code does not necessarily contain the only acceptable ways of achieving the standard required by the Act. But, in most cases, compliance will meet the requirements of the Act, in relation to the subject matter of the code.
An approved code does not have the same legal force as a regulation, and failure to comply with a code of practice is not, of itself, an offence. However, observance of a relevant code of practice may be considered as evidence of good practice in a court.”
“OSH publishes a wide range of guidance material on the application of the HSE Act in New Zealand workplaces.
Some of this material describes the application of the legislation generally, while other material describes controls for specific hazards or recommended practices for particular types of workplace. In the second case, guidance is frequently developed and/or published in conjunction with industry groups.
Guidance material frequently explains the law in general terms and leaves the reader with duties under the legislation to determine how the law applies in their situation.
Where specific guidance is given on the “practicable steps” that are required to fulfil a duty under the Act in a particular situation, it does not have the same legal standing as an approved code. Therefore, in using such information, employers and others should give consideration to its currency and application to the hazards in their own situation, and consider it in addition to the requirement to take “all practicable steps” in the legislation itself.”