Taskforce calls for sweeping change in health & safety

Taskforce calls for sweeping change in health & safety


The Independent Taskforce on Health and Safety has today issued its report to Minister of Labour Simon Bridges. The taskforce calls for change in all areas of New Zealand’s health and safety system and warns that to be effective all of its recommendations need to be implemented. The minister says the Government expects to respond to the taskforce’s report in July.

The taskforce’s recommendations include:

  • A new workplace health and safety agency with a clear identity and brand;
  • Replace the HSE Act with new legislation based on Australia’s Model Law;
  • Clarify the duties of all involved in workplaces by adopting a ‘persons conducting a business or undertaking’ approach;
  • Strengthen the legal requirement for worker participation in OHS;
  • Develop guidelines and other material explicitly outlining how worker participation should occur;
  • Transfer regulation of hazardous substance use in workplaces to the proposed new OHS legislation;
  • ACC funding for workplace injury prevention to be transferred to the new Crown OHS agency;
  • Establish an occupational health unit within the new agency;
  • Strengthen the regulatory regime for major hazard facilities;
  • Government to develop a public OHS awareness programme to change NZ’s culture of tolerance of poor practice;
  • Government to ensure its own departments achieve OHS excellence as models;
  • Government procurement policies to drive good OHS practice through the supply chain;
  • Extend existing manslaughter offence to corporations (but no new offence of Corporate Manslaughter);
  • Implement a levy regime that acknowledges lead as well as lag indicators to reward or penalise performance;
  • New agency to prioritise development of regulations, approved codes of pratice and guidance material to clarify expectations;
  • Establish within the new agency a research, evaluation and monitoring function to collect accurate data and commission research;
  • New agency to lead development of an OHS professionals alliance;
  • Focus the new agency’s enforcement activity on harm prevention and root cause analysis.

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