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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

Significant changes to New Zealand’s safety laws will take effect in April next year, following the passage of the Health and Safety Reform Bill through the New Zealand Parliament.

The laws are based on the Model Work Health and Safety laws in Australia and will be called the Health and Safety at Work Act.

However, before being given the New Zealand parliamentary green light, the Reform Bill was amended. This included exempting small businesses with fewer than 20 workers in low-risk sectors from the requirement of having a health and safety representative—even when requested by workers.

Also among the amendments, an officer of an organisation is now defined as a person who has a very senior governance role in the organisation: for example, a chief executive. In an attempt to make the role clear, the bill excludes those who advise or make recommendations to an officer.

Regulations and guidance material are being created to support the new Act.

For more details, visit the new laws

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.

A New Zealand company director has been sentenced to home detention after sheep and dogs were electrocuted and people were put at risk from live electrical wires.

Britton Housemovers Limited was moving a house along Herbertville Road in Herbertville when it crashed into powerlines.

The powerlines fell onto the roof of the house and then an employee of Britton Housemovers Limited used a stick to move them into a ditch on the side of the road, according to a WorkSafe New Zealand media release.

Several sheep walked into the ditch, followed by two sheepdogs, and all were electrocuted. “The shepherd reached out to grab the dead sheep but was pulled back at the last moment by the farmer, narrowly avoiding electrocution,” WorkSafe said.

The house movers continued on their way but were chased down by the farmer and the shepherd. “Following a verbal dispute, a Britton Housemovers employee returned to the scene to put cones down,” WorkSafe said.

“Even after this argument, no Britton Housemovers employee called the appropriate authorities – they were called by the farmer.”

Arthur Britton and his company, Britton Housemovers Limited, were prosecuted in the Hastings District Court for breaching New Zealand’s Electricity Act 1992 and Health and Safety in Employment Act.

Britton was sentenced to four months’ home detention and his company was fined $60,000.

“Electricity is unforgiving. Leaving a live line on the side of the road and not notifying anyone is unacceptable – the shepherd and others in the vicinity could have been killed,” said Brett Murray, general manager of High Hazards and Specialist Services, WorkSafe.

For more details, visit WorkSafe New Zealand

Published on 26 February 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin


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