Le Pine & Co Lawyers and Safe T Works have joined forces to help your business keep its staff safe and healthy. You don’t want to be next to have a workplace accident and face the horrendous costs to you, your worker, your families and your business.
In April 2015 the new Health and Safety at Work Act comes into effect. The Act has important new obligations for businesses, including trading trusts, profit and not-for-profit organisations and unincorporated societies. Ignorance is no defence, which is why you need to know how these changes may affect you. Le Pine & Co and Safe T Works are running a range of seminars beginning in November – keep an eye on the Le Pine & Co website and Facebook page or get in touch for more information
If you are a business or enterprise owner, director, partner or senior manager responsible for health and safety activities you will become personally liable for breaches of the new Act. To help businesses navigate the implications and be compliant, Le Pine & Co lawyers have joined forces with Safe T Works and offer a suite of advice and practical help. The Safe T Works website: http://www.safetworks.co.nz/ has detailed information on the new Act and what the law requires.
Le Pine & Co employment law specialist, Louise Foley, says a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) will be the primary entity responsible for taking all reasonably practicable steps to ensure a safe and healthy working environment.
“This ‘reasonably practicable’ test is similar to the existing ‘all practicable steps’ to mange a workplace hazard,” she says. “However, changes to the Act mean there are new responsibilities to consult with workers, to co-ordinate and monitor health and safety activities, and the penalties for breaches of the Act have increased.”
Officers who are reckless and breach a duty of care under the Act could face fines of up to $600k and five years imprisonment and PCBUs could be fined up to $3million.
Paula Nordstom has run the Taupō-based safety consultancy, Safe T Works for 11 years. She says a good health and safety management system is set up in consultation with staff.
“The system should record hazards implement controls, monitor compliance and build in opportunities for continual improvement,” she says. “A robust system goes a long way to complying with legal obligations and more importantly it helps to keep staff safe and healthy.”
Businesses can do a lot to prepare themselves for changes to the Act; suggestions include making health and safety part of daily operations, reviewing or preparing a written health and safety management system and having health and safety as an agenda item at all board and management meetings. However, Louise and Paula say it’s often all too easy to put off a review or to postpone agenda items and strongly recommend using an external agent to advise on health and safety.
“When businesses’ employ a specialist contractor, they actually make time for safety,” says Paula. “And a few dollars spent with an expert could save horrendous personal and financial costs in the future.”
Paula and Louise welcome enquiries from anyone wanting more information about the new Health and Safety at Work Act and how they can help your business prepare for the changes.
Paula 07 376 5008 firstname.lastname@example.org
Louise 07 378 5030 email@example.com