The new Health and Safety at Work Act comes into effect on April 4, 2016 – just four months away. So the message is, don’t wait, make sure your business is ready in time for the new laws.

The government regulator, WorkSafe, will be issuing formal guidance to support the Act and regulations. This guidance will start to become available in 2016, but in the meantime here are five things they advise you to do now:

  • Familiarise yourself with the key concepts of the legislation
  • Review your health and safety practices
  • Identify health and safety risks in your business, and take steps to prevent these from causing harm
  • Lead by example
  • Make health and safety part of your workplace culture
  • Let’s re-cap, what are the changes?

Under the new laws, individual people (not just companies) will be held responsible.

Directors or officers have a primary duty of care to ensure the health and safety of workers and others. They must exercise due diligence to ensure that the organisation complies with that duty.

That includes making sure there are appropriate processes for receiving and considering information about incidents, hazards, and risks, and responding to them in a timely way.

If directors or officers do not take reasonable steps to ensure that they are kept informed of risks and hazards, they will be in breach of the law and personally liable. If there is a safety issue and they do nothing, they will be liable. And even if they delegate to others, they still remain responsible.

Workers will also be required to take on more responsibility. Under the new laws workers will have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety, and ensure that their actions do not affect the health and safety of others. They will also have to comply with reasonable instructions concerning health and safety, and co-operate with relevant policies and procedures.

Get in touch with Sine to ensure your visitor and contractor management processes are compliant with the new legislation.