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Stronger health and safety legislation welcomed

Leaders’ Forum welcomes introduction of stronger health and safety legislation


The Health and Safety Reform Bill makes it clear that business leaders must play an active role in keeping their workplaces safe, the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum says.

The Bill, introduced into Parliament yesterday, promises a much needed overhaul of New Zealand’s 20 year old health and safety legislation, Forum Executive Director Julian Hughes says. “In particular, the new law will increase the accountability of senior leaders and company directors.

“Hopefully this Bill will bring about a new way of thinking about health and safety, and create an environment where senior managers and company directors are much more actively involved in health and safety,” Julian says.

“The Bill makes it clear that safety is a core leadership responsibility and should be front of mind for anyone running a business or organisation in New Zealand.”

Although the Bill includes increased penalties for leaders who don’t keep their workers safe, business leaders already committed to safety should have nothing to fear. “They will already be doing everything they can to keep their workers safe - not because the law tells them to - but because that’s the right thing to do.”

However, Julian says the Bill is just the start of what’s needed to make New Zealand workplaces safer. “Legislation alone won’t make workplaces safer. That can only happen if everyone involved – workers, bosses, unions, industry groups and regulators – all play their part to keep themselves and others safe at work.”

The Bill is expected to pass into law by the end of the year and will come into force in April 2015. Specifically it will:

· Put more onus on senior managers and directors to keep their workers safe.

· Require greater worker participation so workers are more involved in safety.

· Establish stronger penalties, enforcement tools and court powers.

· Create the Health and Safety at Work Act, replacing the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.

Ends

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