Most Read Contributor in New Zealand, September 2016
A new health and safety Bill has been introduced to Parliament
to enable implementation of the recommendations made by the Pike
River Royal Commission of Inquiry.
If passed, the Health and Safety (Pike River Implementation)
Bill is expected to come into force on 1 December 2013.
establishes an independent workplace health and safety
organisation called WorkSafe New Zealand
amends the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 in relation
to mining, and
creates a new Mines Rescue Act 2013.
Worksafe New Zealand will be a stand-alone agency with a
dedicated focus on health and safety, consistent with the Pike
River Royal Commission's recommendation.
WorkSafe will carry out the operational functions relating to
workplace health and safety and energy safety which are currently
the responsibility of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and
WorkSafe's main objective is to "promote and contribute
to the prevention of harm to all people at work and in, or in the
vicinity of, the workplace". It is also envisaged that
WorkSafe will develop codes of practice, enforce compliance with
health and safety legislation and encourage relevant stakeholders
to share considerably more health and safety information than is
currently the case.
Amendments to the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
The amendments to the Health and Safety in Employment Act
primarily involve the introduction of a new set of mining
regulations which set clear expectations around the management of
hazards in the mining industry. This is to make mining operations
safer and to align New Zealand with international best practice in
the mining industry.
The regulations will include:
processes for managing hazards
more robust minimum standards (e.g. for acceptable methane
levels, and necessary emergency equipment)
requirements for health and safety management systems
new safety-critical roles, and
strengthened training and competency requirements.
Mines Rescue Act 2013
The Mines Rescue Act 2013 will repeal the Mines Rescue Trust Act
1992. The 2013 Act will better reflect the role and functions of
the Mines Rescue Trust.
Chapman Tripp comment
The new Bill is likely to help ease some uncertainties and
anxieties following the Pike River tragedy. It will strengthen and
provide more structure to the regulation of the mining industry
which may come as some comfort to operators left in doubt as to
requirements post-Pike River. Industry players will need to spend
considerable time studying the new mining regime and its detailed,
WorkSafe's value will come from its independence and sole
dedication to health and safety in the workplace. The provision of
more information to stakeholders is welcome. We have already seen
an example in the Guideline issued by MBIE and the New Zealand
Institute of Directors. Chapman Tripp's commentary on this
Guideline is available
Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
This WHS decision clarified the interpretation of s 19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW).
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