Certified Builders prepares industry ahead of changes
4 April 2016
Certified Builders prepares industry ahead of changes to health and safety laws
Certified Builders welcomes the Health and Safety at Work Act which marks the biggest changes to health and safety laws in years. The Act comes into force as the trade association holds its final Toolbox Seminars in a series on health and safety to prepare the industry for the changes, however it warns that there are still a lot of builders out there who aren’t prepared.
The Seminars, which have been taking place across New Zealand since February with the support of Worksafe New Zealand, have seen an overwhelming response from builders and tradespeople keen to get up to speed with the new requirements.
Certified Builders Chief Executive, Grant Florence, said that given the industry’s history of being slow to respond to change and in the context of the current fragmentation of skills maintenance across the industry, the number of builders who aren’t adequately prepared for the changes is a real concern.
“About one third of builders aren’t affiliated with a major trade association that provides education and training for its members on industry matters such as health and safety, which leaves a significant gap.
“Certified Builders’ number one priority is the health and safety of both members and consumers. It’s important that businesses, regardless of what industry they are in, understand how the Act will affect them. That’s why we’ve been actively helping our members understand and prepare for the changes,” said Mr Florence.
The building and construction industry is identified as a ‘high risk sector’ and is therefore particularly affected by the changes to health and safety laws. The Act emphasises shared responsibility for health and safety by everyone in the workplace, making it important that responsibilities are well understood by all parties (such as builders and sub-contractors, and employers and employees) and importantly, carried out.
“Through these Toolbox Seminars, builders and other tradespeople have been telling us that learning about how the changes affect them and working through real-life examples has saved them a lot of time and worry down the track trying to figure out whether they are properly complying.
“While health and safety is often seen as a compliance burden on businesses, it’s a very necessary one, especially for the building and construction industry.
“We strongly encourage builders who aren’t a member of a trade association to consider joining one, to receive the necessary training and support around regulatory matters such as this,” said Mr Florence.
Certified Builders is the only building trade association in New Zealand that requires trade qualification for membership. Its members tend to be small to medium size building firms that offer a full spectrum of residential and light commercial building services.