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Phase one of New Zealand’s new work health and safety (WHS) regulations has been released as the country prepares for the start of its new workplace safety regime in April.

The New Zealand Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016 support the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA). Both laws come into force on 4 April.

The regulations cover managing risks in specified circumstances, as well as managing health, isolated work, young people and limited-attendance childcare centres, among other activities.

Under the Act, persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) have a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the workplace is without risks to the health and safety of any person.

For more details, visit the NZ laws

Published on 25 February 2016 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today

The draft ISO 45001 international occupational health and safety systems management standard is ready for public consultation.

The standard, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements, is being developed by ISO’s technical committee, including representatives from ISO and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

In a media statement, Kevin McKinley, ISO Acting Secretary-General described the draft standard as a “very useful tool to help organisations save lives and protect the health and safety of their employees”.

ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Policy, Sandra Polaski, said in the media statement: “A major motivation for the ILO’s participation in the meeting is to help ISO develop this standard to arrive at a result that is consistent with the international labour standards and guidelines that cover this subject.”

The draft standard is expected to be released for public comment via Australia’s ISO member body Standards Australia.

The final version of ISO 45001 is due to be published in October 2016.

For more details, visit an overview of the draft standard and/or contact Standards Australia

Published on 8 October 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.

Workers on the Canterbury rebuild in New Zealand are being exposed to high levels of crystallised silica dust, says a new study.

The Massey University pilot study commission by WorkSafe New Zealand assessed 39 construction workers involved in the Canterbury rebuild for exposure to silica dust and the controls used to manage the exposure.

Inhalation of silica dust can cause the lung disease silicosis.

Among the study’s findings, 12 of the workers were exposed to dust samples that exceeded the New Zealand workplace exposure standard for respirable dust.

“The majority of samples exceeding these limits were collected from concrete polishers and grinders with average respirable dust concentrations of 15.2mg/m3 and 13.8mg/m3, respectively,” the study says.

“Drilling and Linea board cutting was also associated with higher dust levels, with one in four samples exceeding New Zealand (and international) standards.”

Also, many construction workers were not using respiratory protection, and those who were wearing it were not using it properly.

For more details, visit WorkSafe New Zealand

Published on 30 July 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

Work health and safety (WHS) was in the spotlight at the Labour 20 (L20) Summit in the lead-up to the G20 meeting in Brisbane last weekend.

Kicking off the L20 Summit, federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz pointed to the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ Declaration made in Melbourne in September.

“[It] includes the G20 Statement on Safer and Healthier Workplaces – the result of some challenging and thoughtful work by a sub-group of the Taskforce on Employment,” Abetz said in his speech to the Summit.

“The issue of safer workplaces was put on the agenda in response to the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh. This tragedy, of course, is only part of a bigger issue.

“Poor health and safety practices result in an estimated 2.3 million deaths every year.”

The statement commits G20 members to develop robust WHS legal frameworks, and effective WHS enforcement, compliance, safety management and data collection in their own countries.

It also encourages countries to consider their international obligations, including ratifying relevant ILO conventions and using UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises.

For more details, visit the Minister and the L20 Declaration

Published on 20 November 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

Asbestos risks are on the increase as residential demolitions ramp up in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the ongoing post-earthquake rebuilding effort.

Christchurch has been on a long road to recovery following the devastating earthquake that hit the city in 2011.

WorkSafe New Zealand says the residential demolitions are “set to increase between now and December”.

The removal of asbestos was of particular concern, WorkSafe’s Canterbury Rebuild Health and Safety Programme Director, Kathryn Heiler, said in a media statement.

“We are still seeing far too many instances where asbestos is either not being identified accurately or not being safely removed and disposed of prior to demolition. This is simply not acceptable,” Heiler said.

Safety inspectors are targeting residential sites to help keep the risks at bay. Work would stop and enforcement action taken if inspectors uncovered unsafe work practices and breaches of the NZ Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992, Heiler said.

Use of plant and working at height were also a concern, she added.

For more detail, visit the demolition risks.

Published on 23 April 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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