September 2015
Shine People Consulting

September already.  Spring is here and with it the prospect of longer, warmer days.  I don't know about you but I'm pleased to put the winter behind me!

This newsletter focuses on the new Health and Safety at Work Act and what it means for employers.  Big changes, higher penalties and additional liability are key takeouts.



Health and Safety at Work Act - What does it mean for Employers?

Many of you will be aware of the Health and Safety Reform Bill which has been before Parliament.  Working Safer: a blueprint for health and safety at work reforms New Zealand's health and safety system following the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety and the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine tragedy.

The  new Health and Safety at Work Act replaces the Health and Safety in Employment Act and the Machinery Act 1950.  The Act will come into force on 4 April 2016, after which new obligations – and consequences for breaching them – will be enforceable.  What does the new Act mean for employers?

Once in effect, the HSW Act will place new obligations on:
  • A ‘person’ conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) – this includes individuals, partnerships, companies and associations
  • The officers of a PCBU
  • Other people at a workplace
  • While employers must ensure the health and safety of its workers and other workers whose activities are influenced by their business, they must also ensure that the health and safety of any other person isn’t put at risk because of the work being carried out.
The change that businesses are most concerned about is the inclusion of liability for officers.

Under the Act, an officer at a company –  anyone who occupies a position that allows them to exercise significant influence over the management of the business (such as a CEO or director) – would run the risk of being personally liable over serious harm incidents if they haven’t been carrying out due diligence.  For more information on what due diligence looks like in practice click here .

For many business operators the risk of additional liability and focus on due diligence is a different way of thinking around health and safety at work.  Organisations that have in-house health and safety specialists need to ensure that those people are up to speed with the new Act and that they have appropriately briefed both staff and management, including Directors.  Small to medium sized organisations who may not have in house health & safety expertise are more at risk.  They should ensure they seek specialist advice and support around what the Act means for their business, carry out an audit of their systems and processes and make changes as necessary.
Things you can do to prepare:
  • Familiarise yourself with the legislation at the WorkSafe NZ website 
  • Ensure your health and safety plans and  hazard management registers  are regularly reviewed and updated; an annual check won’t cut it;
  • Review your health and safety policies and practise
  • Ensure you have appropriate resources applied to health and safety management
  • Ensure that you are regularly monitoring and reviewing your processes
  • Ensure that your staff are aware of how to report health and safety issues along with reporting workplace accidents, incidents and near misses
  • Where staff raise health and safety issues, listen and act on it; ensure you document the outcomes
A WorkSafe inspector will have a number of options under the HSW Act to issue notices, without an incident having taken place.  The inspector can issue:
  • Improvement notices, which requiring an organisation to take steps to prevent a breach of the legislation or to remedy a current breach
  • Prohibition notices, which ban the continuation on of an activity that involves a serious risk to a person’s health and safety
  • Non-disturbance notices, requiring a site to be preserved, both where a notifiable event has occurred and in other circumstances
If a prosecution for a breach is successful, the court can impose a range of penalties. These include fines, which vary depending on the breach, up to a maximum of $300,000 for an individual, $600,000 for an officer, and $3,000,000 for a PCBU.
Courts can also order reparation to be paid to a person injured by a breach, costs to be paid to WorkSafe, adverse publicity orders, and orders for restoration – amongst others.

Worker participation

Workers – including employees, contractors, volunteers, apprentices and trainees – will have their own obligations to take care of their own health and safety, and to ensure that they do not put the health and safety of others at risk.  They are also obligated to comply with any policies and procedures issued by their employer.

Because duties are owed by workers as well as by companies and officers, it is important that workers are involved in drawing up the health and safety policies of a business.  To facilitate this, the HSW Act sets out a number of requirements for worker participation.

A company will need to consult with their workers when identifying hazards in the workplace, making decisions about how to eliminate or minimise those hazards, developing procedures for anything to do with health and safety, and making decisions about facilities for worker welfare.

You can find more information at

source: HRM Online


Workplace Bullying a significant hazard

Did you know that workplace bullying is identified as a significant hazard in New Zealand?  Research undertaken for the Department of Labour in 2009 revealed that the majority of employees will, at some time during their careers, be exposed to workplace bullying directly, or indirectly as observers. 

I was recently a panel speaker at the 2015 Human Resources Institute of New Zealand Annual Conference, talking about workplace bullying.  My observations were that many organisations felt ill equipped to deal with workplace bullying issues, in particular how to identify if it is occurring, how to manage and investigate workplace bullying complaints.  They also struggled to distinguish between what constituted bullying and what constituted harassment. 

I work across New Zealand advising and supporting employers to address this issue, putting in place the frameworks and tools to deal effectively with workplace bullying and harassment.Policy development and implementation
  • Training line managers and supervisors to identify and manage workplace bullying and harassment issues
  • Training your people  to understand what workplace bullying is, and isn't, and their role in creating respectful and bully free workplaces
  • Carrying out investigations into workplace bullying and harassment complaints
  • Coaching to help a bully to understand the behaviours that are getting them into trouble
  • Coaching of a target to help them to become 'bully proof'
You can find more information on this topic at my websiteGive me a call if you need advice and support.


Gen Z are here!

 Gen Z (age 20 & under) are entering the workforce.  Like Gen Y they bring different characteristics, motivators and ways of working.  I was recently working with Venture Southland on their Youth Futures Project  talking to employers about youth friendly practices they could use when recruiting and retaining young people.  There was general acknowledgement that employers  needed to adapt accepted workplace practices to build the next generation workforce.  Hats off to Venture Southland for their leading work in this area.

If you're facing similar challenges in knowing how to best tap into this youth talent give me a call.  Happy to help.  In the meantime you can find some tips in this blog post


Upskill your staff

Shine People designs and delivers practical courses and workshops that are aligned to your business strategy.  We work with you to understand the business outcomes you are looking for and then customise our courses to suit.  Designed specifically for the busy first line, middle and senior managers, sessions are practical, fun and participative, drawing on real life examples and participants own experiences.  Every participant comes away with their own personal manual of course notes.  We can also build in one-to-one coaching to ensure that the learnings are quickly put into practice, and, as importantly, are sustained.

Check out our range of  courses here

I'm also presenting two courses for the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand.  

From the Shine Blog

From time to time we post information, tips, tools, advice & guidance on our blog page.  Click here to read more.  Check out this post on 23 Things Great Leaders Do.

To have a further discussion about anything in this newsletter, or for a general chat about anything HR please feel free to contact  us at  Shine People.   We love to hear from you.


Copyright © 2015 Shine People Consulting, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp