After much publicity and debate Parliament, on the evening of 27 August 2015, passed the new Health & Safety Reform Bill that will come into effect on 04 April 2016 and replaces the current law.
The new Act is called “The Health & Safety At Work Act” and between now and 04 April 2016 there will be a series of regulations covering major hazards, general risk and workplace management, asbestos handling, and the engagement of employees participating in workplace health and safety issues.
This is the Government’s response to the Pike River Disaster Royal Commission.
The new law focuses on:-
- more effective worker engagement and participation; and
- it changes the focus from the physical workplace to the actual conduct at work; and
- it shifts from hazard spotting to managing critical risk, and actions that reduce workplace harm rather than trivial hazards; and
- it introduces “the reasonably practical concept” and focuses attention on what is reasonable for any particular business to do; and
it reinforces the principle of proportionality. In other words, what a business needs to do which is dependant on its level of risk and what it can actually control.