The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 was replaced with the new 2015 Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA). The HSWA became effective on April 4, 2016, and compromises approx 800 pages regulating the workplace safety requirements for ALL New Zealand businesses

The Act introduces a new entity, the PCBU (Person Conducting Business or Undertaking) which applies to almost every situation except you sitting at home (not working) or shopping as a member of the public. Paid or unpaid there is scope in the act to cover you if you are doing something for a reward or gain or even just for volunteering.

To be fair WorkSafe is focusing on businesses and not so much on churches and volunteer groups. Though there is still a need to have a plan for your environment and especially so if you are running events.

For you as a business person you need to be taking reasonable practical steps to maintain health and safety in your workplace, yes even if you are a sole trader at home.

Primary Duty of Care

There is a primary duty of care component to the legislation which means you need to ensure the health & safety of:

  1. all workers who work for you, while the workers are at work in the business or undertaking; and
  2. all workers whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by you as the PCBU, while the workers are carrying out the work.

You must have workplace risk assessment procedures to identify and eliminate or if it is not possible to eliminate, you must minimise all hazards within the workplace and create a control action plan to prevent an accident or near miss occurring. 

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