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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

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Personal Injury in NZ

SP5 Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 — Responsibilities of employers

SP5
Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 — Responsibilities of employers
The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 was amended in 2002. It imposed general duties on both employers and employees:
(a)
Employers must take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of employees while at work. In particular they must: provide and maintain a safe working environment, amenities, and facilities for the safety and health of employees; ensure that plant is so arranged, designed, made, and maintained that it is safe for the employee to use; and ensure that employees are not exposed to hazards arising out of anything in or near (if under the employer’s control) their place of work (s 6).
(b)
Employers must ensure that all practicable steps are taken to ensure that all significant hazards are eliminated or, failing elimination, isolated, minimised, and monitored (ss 7-10).
(c)
Employers must give every employee all the results of any monitoring of their health, safety, or exposure to hazardous substances, and, if requested, the results of all general monitoring (s 11).
(d)
Employers must ensure that all employees are given information about what to do in an emergency, what hazards are likely to arise from their work, what hazards may be created and how to minimise their effect on other employees, and where all necessary safety clothing, devices, equipment, and materials are kept (s 12). Employers must also ensure that health and safety representatives have access to sufficient information about health and safety systems and issues at the place of work to allow them to perform their role effectively (s 12(2)).
(e)
Employers must ensure that employees are properly trained and supervised to ensure that employees are not at risk (s 13).
(f)
Employers must provide reasonable opportunities for employees to participate effectively in ongoing processes for improvement of health and safety in the employees’ places of work (s 19).
(g)
Employers have duties to people other than employees and must take all practicable steps to ensure that no contractor or subcontractor (or their employees) is harmed while doing any work that the contractor was engaged to do (ss 15-18). See s 2 for definitions relevant to contractors and subcontractors, and note s 2(2).
(h)
Employees are required to take all practicable steps to ensure their own safety while at work, including the use of suitable protective clothing or equipment supplied by the employer and must not cause harm to any other person (s 19).
Sections 7-10 impose a particular duty on employers regarding significant hazards. A significant hazard is defined in s 2 as one which may cause serious harm or harm, the severity of which depends on the extent or frequency of exposure (for example, overuse injuries) or harm that does not usually occur or is not easily detectable until a significant time after exposure to the hazard, for example, cancer caused by asbestos or chemical exposure.

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