Health & Safety Representatives and Committees
New Requirements for Health & Safety Representatives and Committees
Effective Date: June 12, 2023
It’s important to share this vital update regarding workplace safety through the Health and Safety at Work (Health and Safety Representatives and Committees) Amendment Act 2022, which became law on June 12, 2023.
The Act focuses on enhancing workers’ access to health and safety representatives and committees, amending the existing Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).
- Worker-Initiated Requests: The Act mandates that a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must initiate the election of a health and safety representative upon workers’ request.
- Prompt Committee Establishment: If a health and safety representative or five or more workers request a committee, the PCBU must establish it swiftly.
- Elimination of High-Risk Sector Constraint: The Act removes the ‘high-risk sector or industry’ restriction, allowing flexible establishment of health and safety representatives and committees.
Previously, a PCBU could decline a request based on factors like a small workforce or non-high-risk sector. Under the HSWA, prompt committee establishment is vital, with practicality depending on circumstances and the PCBU’s capabilities.
Industries previously deemed high-risk included aquaculture, forestry, coal mining, and more. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) indicates that this change aligns with improved worker engagement and representation goals. Though the Act doesn’t mandate representatives or committees, non-compliance could result in fines up to $5,000 for individuals or $25,000 for organizations.
Prioritizing safety is crucial, as breaches lead to fines and harm workplace culture. A strong safety culture starts from senior management and involves all staff. The Act emphasizes involving workers across levels to nurture a robust health and safety culture.
Enhance a safe environment by adhering to these changes. Reach out for further information or inquiries. Together, we can foster a safety culture that showcases our commitment to our workforce’s well-being.