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Health and Safety Reform Bill introduced to Parliament

Published 14 March 2014, from Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

The Health and Safety Reform Bill has been introduced to Parliament, representing the first major reform of New Zealand's workplace health and safety system in 20 years. 

This Bill is part of the Working Safer reform package, which will substantially improve New Zealand's workplace health and safety performance across all sectors, including forestry, and other high risk areas where the workplace death and injury toll is unacceptable.  

It will be supported by effective guidance and education and will play a major role in helping New Zealand to meet the Government's target of reducing workplace injury and death by 25 percent by 2020. 

The Health and Safety Reform Bill will: 

  • Continue to place requirements on the people in workplaces who create the risk and are best able to manage it, including upstream parties such as designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers. 
  • Create a due diligence duty so that those in governance roles must proactively manage workplace health and safety.
  • Strengthen worker participation requirements, which will mean workers are more involved in health and safety in their workplace
  • Establish a more effective enforcement regime with new enforcement tools, graduated offence categories and stronger penalties.
  • Support the effective sharing of information among participants in the health and safety system
  • Amend the WorkSafe New Zealand Act 2013, Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, Accident Compensation Act 2001, Employment Relations Act 2000 and other Acts
When will the changes happen?

The Health and Safety Reform Bill will create the new Health and Safety at Work Act, replacing the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. The Government's intention is that the Bill will be passed in 2014, with the new Act coming into force from 1 April 2015.

The next step is for parliament to refer the Bill to a parliamentary Select Committee, which will call for submissions. 

The Bill will be supported by two phases of regulations, the first of which is expected to be released for consultation early next month. 

Find out more... 

Read the Minister's press release