Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
License needed for work use Register

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Increased Health And Safety Representation For Workers

Hon Michael Wood

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety

Workers in small and lower-risk businesses will have greater choice about how they are represented on health and safety matters, Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Wood has announced.

“Our Government is committed to supporting New Zealanders to feel safe when at work. Today I can confirm that we intend to deliver on our 2020 election promise to strengthen the role of worker representation in health and safety issues,” Michael Wood said.

“We intend to progress changes to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 so that when a worker in a business asks for health and safety representatives, the business will need to initiate an election.

“Health and safety representatives play an important role, acting as the conduit between the frontline and management to help drive pragmatic changes in the workplace that benefit everyone.

“Currently, small businesses in lower-risk sectors can refuse a worker’s request for a health and safety representative. These workers have less choice about how they are represented on health and safety matters than workers in larger or higher-risk businesses.

“Health and safety representatives can also have a vital influence on workers, creating meaningful engagement and participation. And most of all, as these roles are designed to drive change, this demonstrates the care they have for their peers and for creating more productive workplaces.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

“Having good worker engagement, participation and representation is a core foundation of our health and safety system and an important duty on all businesses. This requires a culture where leaders listen with a view to being influenced, workers understand their rights and are able to influence decisions, and all layers of an organisation are clear about their health and safety accountabilities.

“I’m confident that this mahi, alongside other work underway in the wider health and safety system, will make a difference. New Zealanders deserve to come home safely from work,” Michael Wood said.

The Bill is expected to be introduced by the end of 2022.

Media contact: Sam Jaffe, 021 860 263

Notes for editors:

The Bill will not make health and safety representatives mandatory for businesses. Businesses will only be required to initiate an election where workers request them, and workers may prefer to engage in less formal ways such as through regular health and safety meetings.

The Bill will also propose changes to health and safety committees so that if 5 workers, or a health and safety representative, ask for a health and safety committee, a business will need to form a committee.

Health and safety committees are another important form of worker representation and participation where worker choice is currently limited because businesses do not have to agree to a request to set them up.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA), a business must support its workers in their role as health and safety representatives.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On How Climate Change Threatens Cricket‘s Future

Well that didn’t last long, did it? Mere days after taking on what he called the “awesome responsibility” of being Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon has started blaming everyone else and complaining that he's inherited “economic vandalism on an unprecedented scale” - which is how most of us would describe his own coalition agreements, 100-Day Plan, and backdated $3 billion handout to landlords... More

Public Housing Futures: Christmas Comes Early For Landlords

New CTU analysis of the National & ACT coalition agreement has shown the cost of returning interest deductibility to landlords is an extra $900M on top of National’s original proposal. This is because it is going to be implemented earlier and faster, including retrospective rebates from April 2023. More

Green Party: Petition To Save Oil & Gas Ban

“The new Government’s plan to expand oil and gas exploration is as dangerous as it is unscientific. Whatever you think about the new government, there is simply no mandate to trash the climate. We need to come together to stop them,” says James Shaw. More

PSA: MFAT Must Reverse Decision To Remove Te Reo

MFAT's decision to remove te reo from correspondence before new Ministers are sworn in risks undermining the important progress the public sector has made in honouring te Tiriti. "We are very disappointed in what is a backward decision - it simply seems to be a Ministry bowing to the racist rhetoric we heard on the election campaign trail," says Marcia Puru. More




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.