Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Partial insurance against OSH penalties legal

Partial insurance against OSH penalties legal

Buying insurance to cover the risk of being fined under the new Health & Safety Amendment Act becomes illegal on May 5th when the Act comes into force. But employers will be able to insure against reparation costs awarded by the Courts, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) advises.

"Existing insurance policies covering workplace accidents become null and void on May 5th, and it will be illegal to try and purchase any policy that indemnifies employers against fines awarded under any OSH prosecution," said Paul Jarvie, EMA's Manager of Occupational Health & Safety.

"But this does not affect an employer's ability to insure against the awarding of reparation costs.

"Under the Health and Safety in Employment Act a penalty is defined as any fine awarded in combination with any reparation awarded. The penalties under the Act include both the fine and the reparation awarded by a Judge.

"The new Sentencing Act last year gave District Court Judges discretion to award reparation, which is a payment made to an employee which is not considered to be compensation but for consequential or emotional loss suffered.

"Since then a small number of cases have awarded minimal fines but with amounts of reparation up to four times larger than the fine.

"When a penalty including a fine and reparation is awarded, an employer might be liable to pay the fine with their insurer indemnifying them against the costs of reparation.

"For this to happen employers must:

a) make sure the word fine is removed from their policy, and

b) that reparation is clearly stated as part of the insurer's indemnification."

Mr Jarvie said the Courts currently award about 30 per cent of the present law's maximum penalty of $50,000 so it is reasonable to assume with maximum penalties under the Act rising to $250,000 that a breach of the new OSH law would rise proportionately.

"Employers should remember a single event can attract several prosecutions," Mr Jarvie said.

"Employers can also still insure against the costs associated with defending a prosecution.

"If the amounts of reparation awarded rise, and insurance policies are called upon, then premiums will rise. Prevention is obviously far better than cure.

"EMA's advice is that companies insist on good health and safety systems in their workplaces to prevent accidents happening in the first place."

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


ScoopPro: Helping The Education Sector Get More Out Of Scoop

The ScoopPro professional license includes a suite of useful information tools for professional users of Scoop including some specifically for those in the education sector to make your Scoop experience better. More>>

Big Tax Bill Due: Destiny Church Charities Deregistered

The independent Charities Registration Board has decided to remove Destiny International Trust and Te Hahi o Nga Matamua Holdings Limited from the Charities Register on 20 December 2017 because of the charities’ persistent failure to meet their annual return obligations. More>>

57 Million Users' Data: Uber Breach "Utterly Preventatable"

Cybersecurity leader Centrify says the Uber data breach of 57 million customer and driver records - which the ride-hailing company hid for more than a year - was “utterly preventable”. More>>

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>

Having A Cow? Dairy Product Prices Slide For Fourth Straight Auction

Dairy product prices fell at the Global Dairy Trade auction, retreating for the fourth straight auction amid signs of increased production... Whole milk powder fell 2.7 percent to US$2,778 a tonne. More>>


Statistics: Butter At Record $5.67/Block; High Vegetable Prices

Rising dairy prices have pushed food prices up 2.7 percent in the year to October 2017, Stats NZ said today. This followed a 3.0 percent increase in the year to September 2017. More>>


Science: New Research Finds Herbicides Cause Antibiotic Resistance

New University of Canterbury research confirms that the active ingredients of the commonly used herbicides, RoundUp, Kamba and 2,4-D (glyphosate, dicamba and 2,4-D, respectively), each alone cause antibiotic resistance at concentrations well below label application rates. More>>