New Zealand to Bring Strict Law to Ensure Safety in Work Place

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By Kalyan Kumar | July 25, 2014 6:14 PM EST

New Zealand will be passing a new legislation shortly to make health and safety a top priority in workplaces, reported NZ Herald. According to leading a employment lawyer Shima Grice, New Zealanders have to study the implications of the new law and prepare themselves to operate within it.

REUTERS
An employee yawns as he works at a garment factory in Humen township, Guangdong province in this November 24, 2013 file photograph. China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the non-manufacturing sector dipped to 54.6 in December from 56.0 the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on January 3, 2014, mirroring a slowdown in manufacturing activity growth. REUTERS/Stringer

The new bill is named Health and Safety Reform Bill, and at present, it is pending before a select committee. The law will mean the biggest shakeup of its kind in more than 20 years.

Workplace deaths happen as a result of inadequate health and safety precautions.

Shima Grice made her submissions on the bill on behalf of Freight Logistics Action Group (FLAG) operating in the logistics and agriculture sectors.

Health and Safety Reform Bill

The lawyer calls for more awareness as New Zealanders need to know how the changes would affect them. It is not just a few employees, in particula,r industries are going to be affected. Every single workplace in New Zealand will have to comply with the new model, added the employment lawyer. Under the new law company directors, senior managers and employees will be made accountable in the matter of health and safety duties.

The bill makes it mandatory that the person conducting a business or undertaking must eliminate all the risks posing a threat to the health and safety of the workers and others affected by the work .

This implies employers have to take into account the hazard or harm that might happen as a result of that risk and look for ways to eliminate the hazard or risk and must have the cost for eliminating it.

Penalty for Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with the law can lead to imprisonment as the bill plans a three-tiered liability structure for incident liability.

Reckless conduct will resulting in $600,000 fine or five years' imprisonment for an individual, or a $3 million dollar fine for companies. The least penalty will be making senior company officers pay $100,000 or companies $500,000 as penalty. 

The company directors will have to manage the health and safety by personally getting involved by building such a safety culture within the company.

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(Photo: REUTERS / kalyan)
An employee yawns as he works at a garment factory in Humen township, Guangdong province in this November 24, 2013 file photograph. China's official purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the non-manufacturing sector dipped to 54.6 in December from 56.0 the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on January 3, 2014, mirroring a slowdown in manufacturing activity growth. REUTERS/Stringer
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