They’re Big And They’re Coming Soon. Are You Up On The Play?
There’s plenty to understand. Take the issue of responsibility. The new law allocates duties to people in the best position to control risks to health & safety. The primary duty-holder under the new law will be a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ or PCBU. It’s no small concept. It reaches through all the relationships between people in control and people affected by that control.
Duties extend to contractors, subcontractors and employees. And they’re rigorous. Each PCBU will be required to supervise and monitor the health & safety performance of those under them in the chain. The PCBU will also owe a duty to other people affected by the work being done.
Sounds complex? It is. There may be many businesses and numerous PCBUs working at the same location. And the duties run upwards from the work location too, to include others in the supply chain, such as manufacturers, importers and suppliers.
Personal responsibility? It’s really personal.
That’s going to change. Under the proposed new law the due diligence duty will be individual to the officer. And the potential penalties are significant:
- for category 1 offences (reckless conduct), the maximum penalty for an individual is $600,000 or five years' imprisonment, or both. For a body corporate, it is $3 million;
- for category 2 offences (failure to comply with health and safety duties exposing an individual to serious risk), the maximum fine for an individual is $300,000 and for a body corporate is $1.5 million; and
- for category 3 offences (general failure to comply with health and safety duties), the maximum fine for an individual is $100,000 and for a body corporate is $500,000.
Get to know the coming due diligence duty
It’s a duty that will fall on all directors, chief executives and others in governance roles (excluding volunteers), and it’ll be defined to match your role. For example, it will require you to take reasonable steps to:
- gain an understanding of the nature of the operations of the PCBU (‘person conducting a business or undertaking’) and the hazards and risks associated with those operations; and
- ensure the PCBU has, and implements, processes for complying with its duties.
READ MORE: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/what-we-do/workplace-health-and-safety-reform