Network News June 2016

Key Points about the new Health & Safety at Work Act 2015

by Denise Lormans, Manager Southland Community Law Centre and Chair Community Networks Aotearoa

The new legislation:

  • Focuses on a duty to manage risk
  • Introduces the concept of “Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking” (PCBU), as the principal duty holder.
  • Has some exclusions which include volunteer associations who don’t employ anyone, or home occupiers who employ or engage people to do residential work.
  • Describes and requires due diligence (a new duty on “officers”) to ensure that the PCBU complies with its duties.
  • Defines Workers as including employees, contractors, volunteers.
  • Requires real worker participation in risk management.
  • Encompasses a new enforcement regime.

The new legislation is all about raising the requirements for providing the highest level of protection against harm.  It also emphasizes that all measures should be “reasonable and practicable”.

It is all about:

  • Protecting workers and others by eliminating and minimizing risk.
  • Providing a fair and effective level of workplace representation, consultation, co-operation and resolution of issues.
  • Encourages unions and employer groups to work constructively TOGETHER.
  • Promotes advice, information, education/training regarding Health and Safety.
  • Compliance with the Act through effective means.
  • The need for scrutiny and review of actions taken by duty holders.
  • The new framework of continuous improvement to achieve higher standards of Health and Safety. ​

Workplaces are clearly defined:

  • A place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking; and
  • Includes any place where a worker goes or is likely to be while at work.
  • This includes:
    • Vehicles, vessels, aircraft, ships or other mobile structures.
    • Waters, installations on land, on the bed of any waters or floating on any waters.
    • Farm buildings and structures necessary for the operation of the farm, but no other parts of the farm

Workers are clearly defined too:

  • An employee
  • A contractor or subcontractor
  • An employee of a contractor or subcontractor
  • An employee of a labour hire company who has been assigned to work in the business or undertaking
  • An outworker (including a home worker)
  • An apprentice or trainee
  • A person gaining work experience or completing a work trial
  • A volunteer worker

To assess risk a reasonable person should ask:

  •                 What can be done?
  •                 What is reasonable in the circumstances?
  •                 What should be done?

The aim is to ensure that workers and others are provided with the highest level of protection that is reasonably practicable.

More emphasis has been placed on any person at the work place (workers or visitors) have a duty of care for themselves and others (just as much as the PCBU officers really)

They must take reasonable care of:

  • His/her own health and safety
  • That their own acts or omissions don’t adversely affect the health and safety of others (don’t ignore a hazard, report it).
  • Comply with reasonable instruction given by PCBU
  • Cooperate with reasonable health and safety policy/procedures of the PCBU (provided the workers
  • Actually know about them!)

Key Principles of “Duty of Care” for all PCBU’s:

  • Duty to manage Risk
  • Duties can’t be transferred to another person/role (No delegation)
  • A person/role can have more than one duty
  • More than one person/role can have the same duty
  • Duty as a PCBU to consult with other PCBUs with the same duty (if you share a building or worksite then work together to formulate and enact a risk plan).
  • PCBUs cannot ask workers to pay for Health & Safety gear or resources – this is a duty of the PCBU which it cannot opt out of.
  • No PCBU can insure against fines imposed should they be charged with an offence under the Act. (They may be able to insure against the litigation, but not any fines if they are found guilty). ​

Templates – Health & Safety at Work Act

In the April issue of Network News we drew your attention to a series of useful templates developed by the Southland Community Law Centre which were available via our website. Some of these have now been updated and new ones added and, can be downloaded from CNA’s website. Click here

CNA Biennial Hui Logo RGB for WEB_ ACTUAL

A reminder to put Wednesday 19 October 2016 in your diary as the date for this year’s Hui in Wellington. This will be presented in conjunction with Inclusive NZ with whom we will share some of the day. Work is currently underway to firm up the programme so watch this space for details. Don’t forget to book your travel early to take advantage of cheaper flights.

Get ready to vote in the 2016 local elections 

The Electoral Commission wants everyone who’s eligible enrolled to vote in this year’s local elections.

Local elections are held once every three years. The next local elections will be held by postal vote in September and October this year.

The local elections are for city and district councils, regional councils and District Health Boards.  In some parts of New Zealand, elections will also be held for local and community boards, licensing trusts and some other organisations.

Local elections give people the chance to have their say on who will make decisions on things that affect their communities like the local environment, rates, parking, rubbish, parks and health services.

Helping communities get ready

Voting in the local elections is by postal ballot, which means that everyone who is enrolled to vote by 12 August will be sent voting papers in the mail. So it’s important that voters’ enrolment details are up to date, especially if they are moving around.

You can help spread the word amongst the communities that you work with about the importance of getting involved in the elections and what they need to do to be ready to take part.

Everyone who is currently on the electoral roll will be sent enrolment update packs in the mail from 27 June.  If you get your pack and your details are correct, you don’t need to do anything more. If you need to change anything fill in the form, then sign, date and return it straight away.

If you don’t get a pack by Monday 4 July, you are either not enrolled or you need to update your enrolment details.  Enrolling is easy and there are a number of ways you can do it.  You can get an enrolment form at, by Freetexting your name and address to 3676, by calling 0800 36 76 56 or from your local PostShop. Information on enrolling to vote is also available in a wide range of languages.

Do you work with whānau who need to enrol? Help them get enrolled so that their voice can be heard.

Voting in the 2016 local elections

Everyone correctly enrolled by Friday 12 August will be sent their voting papers by their local council in September.  They will include full instructions about how to vote.

People enrolling after 12 August will need to cast a special vote, and will need to contact the electoral officer for their local council to obtain voting papers.

Enrolling by 12 August is the easiest way for you to have your say in the local elections.

To blog, or not to blog…

Here are the links to the latest ComVoices blogs on Community Scoop. Interesting reading as always…
The more we are together… by Peter Glensor, General Manager Hui E!
Open Government Partnership – will it help me and my organisation? by Dave Henderson, External Relations Manager Hui E!
It’s just what we do by Gabrielle O’Brien, Chief Executive Officer Birthright NZ

Upcoming Conferences

Elevate 2016 – Climate Change Solution – Engineers Without Borders NZ, 23 July 2016, Christchurch
This year’s annual conference brings together students and professionals, academics, development workers and representatives from our community partners. This year’s conference will tackle a topic with enormous implications, climate change. Engineers have a key role to play in adapting to climate disruption and building a zero-carbon world. For more information and to register please visit

Creating places where people love to live, work and play – LGNZ, 24 – 26 July 2016, Dunedin
LGNZ’s 2016 conference will focus on place making – creating places where people love to live, work and play. There will be a strong focus on leading change and building places for tomorrow where families and businesses can prosper. For more information please visit

Gender Equality – National Council of Women NZ, 15 – 17 September 2016, Wellington
You are invited to join leading thinkers from across New Zealand and overseas to explore how we as a nation can do more to ensure women’s full and effective participation, and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision making in their political, economic and public life.  Ear;y Bird special until 30 June.  For more information and to register please visit

And don’t forget, we’re here to help.  If you have any problems or issues, or just need some information, please don’t hesitate to contact Ros at the CNA office on Wellington (04) 472 3364 or  Both Ros and Fionn are here to provide support to our membership and always welcome your contact.

Photo: bruceandrobyn