Health and safety governance in practice – what does the future hold?

While it is well-known that significant changes to New Zealand health and safety law are on the horizon, harder to determine is precisely how the changes will translate into practice in the construction industry.

Take a look at Safe Work Australia’s model Code of Practice for construction work which, according to Safe Work Australia, has been developed to provide practical guidance to principal contractors and other persons conducting a business or undertaking who carry out construction work on how to meet their obligations under the Australian health and safety regime (http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/corporateinformation/pages/rssfeeds).

Considering the Australian experience will be a useful starting point for New Zealand construction businesses. This is because the new regime in New Zealand will be based closely on the Australian law, but also because many of the practical issues of health and safety management and compliance on Australian construction sites are also important on New Zealand sites.

WorkSafe New Zealand will be developing its own regulations and codes of practice to supplement and help to explain the new health and safety laws when they come in and we expect there will be chance for the industry to comment on these before they are finalised. These supporting documents are also likely to be very similar to their Australian counterparts. Taking a look at the Australian documents will give you a head start on what to expect in this critical area.

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