What you need to know about Health and Safety law changes
Date: 26th April 2015
The Health and Safety Reform Bill is expected to be passed into law later this year and come into effect several months after that. While not all the changes are confirmed, enough is known for you to check what action your business may need to take.
The new legislation shifts the focus from monitoring and recording health and safety incidents to proactively identifying and managing risks so everyone is safe.
Who will be responsible for workplace H&S?
Everyone in a business, that means:
- The Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), usually a business entity, such as a company will have the primary duty under the new law to ensure the health and safety of its workers and others affected by the work it carries out. As a PCBU you may need to consult with other PCBUs if you share a worksite or are part of a contracting or supply chain, to make sure all workers are safe and healthy.
- Officers – includes directors and other people who make governance decisions that significantly affect a business. Officers have a duty of due diligence to ensure their PCBU complies with its H&S obligations.
- Workers – must take reasonable care to ensure the H&S of themselves and others, and to comply with the PCBU’s reasonable instructions and policies.
- Other people who come to the workplace, such as visitors or customers, also have some H&S duties.
What do you need to do?
It’s the PCBU’s duty to think about who may be affected by its business. This includes staff, contractors, customers and visitors. The PCBU will need to engage its workers in health and safety matters through toolbox talks and H&S representatives, etc.
You need to think about what could go wrong in your business and how to manage your health and safety risks. Make sure all staff understand it, and use these tips to get on the right track:
- Identify H&S hazards and risks, and take steps to prevent these from happening.
- Make sure your H&S policies are led by management, understood by all staff and reviewed regularly.
- Hold regular training on H&S matters.
- Engage workers in H&S matters that affect them.
- Support all officers to get up to date with H&S issues and key risk factors.
- Report and monitor H&S goals.
- Regularly review any incidents.
- Carry out frequent H&S audits.
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