Health and safety should be part of your business as usual practices not because it is the law, but because it is good for productivity, business, staff engagement, and your customers and suppliers. Good health and safety is good business.
Health and safety is about looking after one another; it is about making sure people get home healthy and safe. It is not about compliance with every letter of the law, it is about making sure that our basic proposition about workplace health and safety is cemented in New Zealand businesses and that is what everyone should be focused on doing.
If you are positive and focused on improving your company health & safety this can be an advantage over your competitors when tendering for work and can actually increase your income.
In short, everyone:
- The business itself – a new legal concept is a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU). A PCBU will usually be a business entity, such as a company, rather than an individual. The business will have the primary duty under the new law to ensure the health and safety of workers and others affected by the work it carries out.
That’s why the business may also need to consult with other businesses where it shares a work site or are part of a contracting or supply chain, to make sure all workers are safe and healthy.
- Officers – includes directors and other people who make governance decisions that significantly affect a business. Officers have a duty of due diligence to ensure their business complies with its health and safety obligations.
- Workers – must take reasonable care to ensure the health and safety of themselves and others, and to comply with the business’s reasonable instructions and policies.
- Other people who come to the workplace, such as visitors or customers, also have some health and safety duties. It’s all about taking responsibility for what you can control.
A PCBU is a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’. While a PCBU may be an individual person or an organisation, in most cases the PCBU will be an organisation (eg a business entity such as a company).
An individual, such as a sole trader, can also be a PCBU.
While the terms ‘business’ and ‘undertaking’ are not defined in HSWA, the usual meanings of these terms are:
- ‘business’: an activity carried out with the intention of making a profit or gain
- ‘undertaking’: an activity that is non-commercial in nature (certain activities of a local authority).
Examples of PCBUs:
Individuals or organisations can be PCBUs if they carry out work, regardless of their legal structure. Examples of PCBUs are:
- a business in the form of an incorporated company
- a sole trader or self-employed person
- a general partner in a partnership (if the partnership is a limited partnership)
- a partner in a partnership (if the partnership is not a limited partnership)
- an organisation created by legislation (government department, university, school or local authority).
A PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers and that other people are not put at risk by its work. This is called the ‘primary duty of care’.
This means ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable:
- the health and safety of workers who work for the PCBU (eg employees or contractors, including their subcontractors or workers) while they are at work in the business or undertaking
- the health and safety of workers whose work activities are influenced or directed by the PCBU while the workers are carrying out the work (such as a franchise company whose franchise requirements influence or direct the workers of the franchisee).
- that other persons are not put at risk by the work of the business or undertaking (such as a visitor to the workplace, or members of the public who could be affected by a work activity).
A PCBU who is a self-employed person must also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, his or her own health and safety while at work.
Yes you need to ensure that they are aware of all the hazards and risks that your work site that they maybe exposed to. The best way to do this is an induction before they enter your work site.
Make sure they understand the hazards and risks along with the emergency procedure and location of any emergency equipment. Once this induction is completed get any contractor or visitor to sign an induction form to show they have had an induction and understand the hazards and risks onsite.
At this point they should be informing you as the PCBU of any hazards or risks that they will be bringing onto your work site. This is known as overlapping duties and you are required to ensure that your contractor has a compliant health & safety management system. This is where an out sourced contractor management resource comes in handy as they can run the contractor through a pre-qualification process before they start working for you.
Yes it does and this is becoming more so of a highlighted issue by WorkSafe of late.
If a worker is having mental health problems outside of work and is coming to work with those problems this can be a risk to not only themselves but other workers. People will have problems in their private life that can effect them mentally and unfortunately those problems can effect them at work too. Work place bullying is a real mental health risk within some work places and should be treated with care.
Having a good health & well-being program in place is a great asset to have for your workers. Encourage open conversations regarding mental well-being, there is some great information on this in our resources or check out the Mental Health Foundation website.
Any other questions?
We are more than happy to answer them!