The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a discussion document last Thursday which outlines proposals for the new health and safety regulations. The regulations will support the new Health and Safety at Work Act, which is expected to come into force in April 2015.
One proposed change that is particularly relevant to the construction industry relates to employers’ duties around overcrowded workplaces. The current 1995 health and safety regulations provide that temporary places of work such as construction sites are exempt from requirements on employers to ensure their workplace is free from potential hazards created by overcrowding. The new regulations would focus more on the suitability of layout rather than overcrowding and, in light of this change, would remove the exemption for construction sites.
The discussion document outlines a second phase, which would see a second set of regulations introduced in 2017. This second phase will involve consideration of whether further industry specific regulations are needed, including in the construction industry. The proposed regulations are strongly influenced by the Australian model regulations which have specific health and safety regulations for the construction industry.
Submissions for feedback on the proposals will close on 18 July 2014.
Read more about the changes in an article from our health and safety specialists here.