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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

Submissions: law firms

Submissions: law firms
Article Type:
Comment & Analysis
Publication Date:
New Zealand

There were 242 written submissions on the Health and Safety Reform Bill from a large variety of organisations and individuals. We cannot hope to summarise them all, but in the next few editions we will pick out some key points made by a selection of submitters in the hope that some common themes might emerge.

To kick off this series, we start with submissions from law firms.

Simpson Grierson

  • Definition of 'officer' captures people outside the executive leadership.
  • Clarify to confirm this is the intention (or not).
  • Define 'risk' carefully.
  • Exclusion of volunteer associations from the definition of a PCBU could have unintended consequences.
  • The obligation should be to consult with other PCBUs, not with other PCBUs' employees.
  • The duty of care to "any person" has no proximity threshold, which could have unintended consequences.
  • Workers should have the same obligations as others, ie "reasonably practicable", not "reasonable care".
  • Set out default provisions for dispute resolution between parties.
  • Clarify the extent of worker participation on a multi-PCBU site.
  • Safety reps should be able to recommend but not issue a Provisional Improvement Notice.


Kensington Swan

  • Clarify definition of 'officer': does it cover a person's responsibility at their own site, or over the whole business?
  • Make it clearer that a PCBU is generally not an individual.
  • Volunteer organisations who do not employ staff should still be a PCBU.
  • Use of 'grossly disproportionate' means cost is all but excluded from consideration in 'reasonably practicable', which would discourage balanced risk assessments.
  • The financial capacity of a PCBU to pay should not be a greater factor in assessing fines than it is already.
  • Clarify definition of notifiable injury or illness.
  • Clarify definition of notifiable accident.
  • Reduce the requirement to notify the regulator of near misses to a requirement to record them.
  • The range of duties applying to PCBUs is too complicated and could be consolidated.
  • Workers should have the same obligations ("reasonably practicable") as PCBUs.
  • Reinstate the duty to investigate serious harm and near miss incidents.
  • Specify the standard such investigations should be required to meet.
  • Do not make a PCBU's own investigation report legally disclosable to the regulator as this would discourage investigations.
  • Abolition of the privilege against self-incrimination for companies unwise for similar reasons.
  • Worker participation provisions are too complex and unwieldy.
  • Constrain workers from using participation for improper or non-OHS purposes.
  • Oblige safety reps to act reasonably when exercising their extended powers.
  • Safety reps should not be able to order work to cease, and non-performing reps should be able to be removed.
  • An inspector's powers should not override the right to silence.

Duncan Cotterill

  • Volunteer associations which employ or engage anyone, or which have 'practical effect' on the OHS of individuals under its controls, should be regarded as a PCBU.
  • A PCBU should not be liable for people who enter its place of work solely for the purposes of leisure or recreation.
  • The obligation to share relevant information with workers should be restricted to protect confidential information, as in the Employment Relations Act.
  • The Act should be scheduled for a formal review two years after it comes into force.



Organisations Mentioned:
Simpson Grierson; Kensington Swan; Duncan Cotterill
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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