Health and safety legislation

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) replaced the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSE). 

Many aspects of the new act are similar to the old legislation. The key emphasis is that everyone in the workplace is responsible for health and safety.

The act encourages a proactive approach to keeping people safe from harm.

A failure to put appropriate systems in place to identify potential harm and work collaboratively to keep people safe may lead to prosecution and penalties – this is the same as the 1992 act. 

Duties of officers

Elected board members and the principal must take reasonable steps to:

  • know about current work health and safety matters
  • understand the hazards or risks associated with the workplace operations
  • make sure there are resources and processes for managing risks
  • ensure there are processes for receiving and reviewing information on and responding to incidents, hazards and risks
  • ensure workplace health and safety processes and resources are being used.

Duties of officers – Legislation website

The HSWA is a critical part of the government’s blueprint for improving workplace health and safety – Working Safer. The government has set an ambitious target of at least a 25 percent reduction in workplace injuries and fatalities by 2020.

Further information

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 – Legislation website

Health and Safety practical guide – Ministry of Education website

Understanding health and safety – NZSTA website

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 – WorkSafe NZ website

Health and safety FAQs for schools – WorkSafe NZ website

Health and safety risks in schools – WorkSafe NZ website

Updated: June 2017

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