Engaging Employees in Health and Safety

Tuesday August 3, 2021 09:34

Welcome to the latest update from Securo New Zealand.

An important part of the Health and Safety At Work Act – 2015 is Part 3 - Worker engagement, participation, and representation.

Sub Part 1.

This states quite clearly that a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) must, as far as is reasonably practicable, engage with workers.

It goes on to outline what engagement is required, how that engagement may be applied and that workers be given a reasonable opportunity to:

  • Express their views on H&S matters
  • Contribute to the decision-making process relating to the matter, and
  • That the views of the workers be considered by the PCBU, and
  • That the workers be advised of the outcome of the engagement in a timely manner.

The Legislation in Sub Part 2 then explains the requirement for Health and Safety representatives and Health and Safety committees.

In the drafting of the HSAW Act 2015 and its reading in Parliament there was considerable debate over Sub Part 2, its impact on small NZ businesses and indeed the need for it in legislation.

As a result, clause 62 (4) was amended to state that a PCBU is not required to initiate the election of 1 or more Health and Safety representatives, if the work of the business or undertaking:

  • Is carried by fewer than 20 workers and
  • Is not within the scope of any high-risk sector or industry.

Having said that, all workplaces benefit from having all workers actively involved in Health and Safety.

The term Health and Safety committees can in fact manifest itself in many forms and can be a daily short five minute briefing of workers on critical issues, a regular weekly/monthly meeting (Toolbox) of key staff empowered to communicate discussions and findings to all workers and/or a formal sit down Health and Safety meeting in a larger organization.

We suggest you discuss your requirements with your Securo consultant and work out what form of engagement and involvement is going to work best in your organization. For more information on how to best engage employees and have everyone contributing to a safe and healthy workplace, contact us on 0800 55 33 44.