91 – An Overview of the New Health & Safety Regulations

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 will be coming into force on 4 April 2016. Under the Act, Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs) have duties to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the workplace is without risks to the health and safety of any person.

The first phase of regulations to support the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 have been finalised and will come into force at the same time as the Act.  These regulations, along with guidance and information from WorkSafe New Zealand, are intended to support businesses to understand what they need to comply with the general duties of the Act.  WorkSafe New Zealand has given a brief outline of each:

Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016

These regulations outline additional duties on PCBUs relating to managing risks, monitoring in the workplace, and specific duties related to young persons in the workplace and obtaining a police check for workers at limited child-care centres.

Health and Safety at Work (Worker Engagement, Participation and Representation) Regulations 2016  

These regulations prescribe matters relating to work groups, health and safety representatives, and health and safety committees to support more effective worker participation.  This includes information on who can be a health and safety representative or on a health and safety committee, and health and safety representative training.

Health and Safety at Work (Major Hazard Facilities) Regulations 2016  

These regulations deal with matters relating to the health and safety of people involved in the operation of, and local communities located near, major hazard facilities.

The regulations provide threshold quantities of specified hazardous substances and ways to determine whether a facility is a lower tier or an upper tier major hazard facility and the duties of operators.

Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 

These regulations impose additional duties on PCBUs in relation to work involving asbestos. This includes managing asbestos risk, removal of asbestos and licensing of asbestos removalists.

Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2016 

These regulations deal with the provision of adventure activities. They set out the process for becoming registered as an adventure activity operator and make it an offence for unregistered operators to offer adventure activities to participants.

These regulations revoke and replace the Health and Safety in Employment (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2011.

Health and Safety at Work (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2016 

The regulations prescribe matters concerning health and safety in mining operations, including competency requirements in relation to safety-critical roles in mining operations, quarrying operations, and alluvial mining operations.

These regulations revoke and replace the Health and Safety in Employment (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2013.

Health and Safety at Work (Petroleum Exploration and Extraction) Regulations 2016 

These regulations deal with matters relating to the health and safety of people involved in the operation of installations for petroleum exploration and extraction.

They revoke and replace the Health and Safety in Employment (Petroleum Exploration and Extraction) Regulations 2013.

Health and Safety at Work (Rates of Funding Levy) Regulations 2016

These regulations prescribe the levy required to be paid by employers and self-employed persons under section 201 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

They also revoke and replace the Health and Safety in Employment (Rates of Funding Levy) Regulations 1994.

What’s Still to Come?

Some regulations are still being finalised. The second phase of regulations will be developed over the next two years. It is essential for those currently involved in workplace health and safety systems to be familiar with the regulations because they prescribe matters of detail and compliance is mandatory.

Disclaimer: Our aim is to assist our clients to be proactive in ensuring statutory compliance and best risk management in the area of employment law. This publication is, however, necessarily brief and general in nature. You should therefore seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.