New Zealand's WHS regulations are always changing in order to provide workers with the protections they need to stay safe at work.
The Health and Safety at Work Act is just one example of this commitment, and it's changing the way construction companies approach their WHS responsibilities.
Non-compliant businesses can be liable for fines up to $3,000,000!
Why is there new legislation?
In response to the Pike River mine tragedy, the government has passed the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. The legislation is based upon the Australian Work Health and Safety Acts, which have managed to reduce workplace deaths in Australia by 16 per cent. New Zealand will likely see a similar reduction.
What is the main change?
A PCBU (Person Conducting Business or Undertaking) is obliged under Section 36 of the new Act to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all workers and persons on the property. This requires businesses (including boards of directors) to be proactive and take a broad view of compliance. It is no longer sufficient to assume that because no injury has occurred, you are safe.
What's the risk of not following the rules?
The new act is in place and some kiwi businesses have already felt the effect. Worksafe dished out 25+ five-figure fines last year alone. Any non-compliant businesses can be liable for fines up to $3,000,000! It's more important than ever to wrap your head around what you need to have in place check out the general requirements here .
Responding to compliance needs with new technology
While the compliance requirements that come with new legislation are a major challenge, many companies are looking to technology to help them stay compliant across the board.
This is especially true in the construction sector, where a company will have staff operating across multiple sites, each with unique risks that staff will have to manage. This is exactly where new technologies and processes can add value.
Site App Pro is just one example of how construction firms are going digital, providing a single platform to track safety hazards on site and meet compliance requirements under new legislation.
As New Zealand's compliance landscape continues to evolve, companies will have to remain vigilant and maintain these standards. The good news is that there are a range of digital tools like Site App Pro that are making it easier than ever to stay up-to-date with these obligations.