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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

Reviews no threat: MBIE

Reviews no threat: MBIE
Article Type:
Publication Date:
New Zealand

MBIE says duty-holders have nothing to fear from a new system under which the ministry can ask to review their incident investigation reports.

In response to concerns raised by OHS litigator Grant Nicholson, who suggested that by complying with such a request duty-holders risked self-incrimination, the Health and Safety Group's general manager regulatory support and design, Tracy Mellor, says the duty-holder review will only be used in relation to less serious incidents as a means of both enhancing health and safety processes in workplaces and helping the regulator identify emerging trends.

"They are not a legal requirement but a voluntary tool which will add knowledge and understanding to the health and safety system as a whole."

Suggestions that a review may become the basis of a subsequent prosecution are without foundation, Mellor says as they will only be requested for "low level" incidents.

"Any reported incident that is serious enough to warrant consideration for prosecution will not meet the test for a duty holder review, and will be dealt with by investigators rather than duty holders. It is possible, however, that a review will identify issues that may warrant an inspector visiting the workplace for an assessment."

Because duty holder reviews deal with the low end of the incident scale, there is, she says, no risk of self-incrimination.

While Nicholson suggested that the reviews extended the boundaries of the HSE Act, Mellor says they are merely a revised and better-supported version of a pre-existing self-investigation tool.

"Any process which identifies causative factors in workplace accidents, whether they meet the serious harm threshold or not, contributes to knowledge that will assist to bring down the toll. It is impossible for any regulator to investigate every incident reported to it, let alone be on every workplace floor."

Mellor says to date the process has been well-received by all who have been asked to undertake reviews.

People Mentioned:
Tracy Mellor; Grant Nicholson
Organisations Mentioned:
MBIE; Kensington Swan
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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