Health and Safety

New Zealand law aims to prevent harm to workers and others in places of work. It does this by setting out the responsibilities of all people involved in the workplace to make sure it is safe.

Employers are responsible for:

  • making sure their employees are safe at work
  • identifying all hazards in the workplace
  • eliminating, isolating or minimising their employees’ exposure to any hazards
  • having procedures for dealing with emergencies at work.

If you are an employee, you must not do anything at work that will harm yourself or other people. The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 governs safety in the workplace. WorkSafe can give you more information on health and safety in employment.

All New Zealand workplaces must have areas that are designated “smoke-free” in which no smoking is allowed. These include shared space, such as lifts and reception areas. Some organisations have designated rooms or areas where people can go to smoke. The Smoke-free Environments Act 1990 requires every employer to have a written policy on smoking in the workplace. These policies are to be based on the principle that employees who do not smoke, or do not wish to smoke in the workplace, should be protected from exposure to tobacco smoke in the workplace.

Employers must provide a safe workplace, with proper training, supervision and equipment. This duty includes identfying, assessing and managing hazards, and investigating health and safety incidents. Employers are also required to report serious injuries at work to WorkSafe.

Employees must take reasonable care to keep them-selves safe, and to avoid causing harm to other people by the way they do their work. Employees may refuse work likely to cause them serious harm and have the right to participate in improving health and safety.

More information on New Zealand work place Health and Safety can be found here: http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe