The Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee was due to provide its report on the Health and Safety Reform Bill this week. In the wake of reports that the legislation will be watered down, the release of the report has now been delayed until 24 July.

Prime Minister John Key said that the Government wants to make sure that the legislation is workable and isn't overly onerous on smaller businesses, and that they need to check that they have "the settings in about the right place". In the past months the Government has been lobbied by business, fishing, forestry and farming groups, all trying to ensure the changes don't affect them radically.

Information about what changes may be made is scarce, but the changes may include:

  • an exemption for small businesses from the requirement to appoint health and safety representatives, although there is disagreement as to whether this exemption should be for business with fewer than 20 or fewer than 10 employees;
  • assurances for farmers about their responsibility for people on their land; and
  • alterations to the rules covering volunteers.

The new legislation had been expected to be in place by the end of this year, but these delays are likely to mean that the start date will be delayed until 2016.

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