188 pages of safety law in about 4 minutes

As we said last week the new safety law will kick off on 4th April 2016, so we have decided to take the 188 pages of this new law and put it into 4 minutes of video and an article showing what it means for small businesses. 

So here it is: 188 pages of safety law in about 4 minutes

One of the biggest issues that small businesses have with the new law is not that it's making them do extra stuff or that they're scared that they will get fined. It's that people don't know how it applies to small business or, because of some media reports, they don't even know if it applies to them. So we have put together the main points of this new law and made them really easy to understand.

The new Health and Safety Law main points and stuff explained

  • The old law goes and the new one starts on 4th April 2016.
  • Despite rumours or bad media reports, it applies to ALL New Zealand businesses. There are some parts that are a bit different for small and big business but everyone has to make sure people are safe in their business.


  • PCBU - This is a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking. So if you own or run a small business, big business or an 'undertaking' (like an organisation) then you're a PCBU. Don't worry it's not a disease.
  • Officer - This is a director, a partner, a CEO and people like that who have a pretty big say in how the business operates.
  • Worker - It's exactly that, someone who does work for a PCBU. So if you work for, lets say an electrician, then you will be a Worker in that business, which is the PCBU. Makes sense, I think.
  • Other persons - They are visitors or customers in your workplace or members of the public. People who don't do work for you.
  • A Workplace - Again pretty straight forward, it's where you do the work, that could be where your business is or at a clients business, wherever you go to work, that's your workplace.

Things you have to do

  • Reasonably Practicable - what this means is that a PCBU (your business) must have a really good crack at making things safer. So if an accident happens and you think, well if we do that, or change that, or get rid of that risk, then that accident wouldn't have happened, then that would be a reasonably practicable thing to do. It's often really simple things too.
  • Notifiable injury, illness, incidents and events - now because there's a lot to these we are going to go over this stuff next week so stay tuned.
  • Consult with other PCBUs - All this means is that you need to talk to other business about the risks and the safe way for doing things when you work together. So if you were an electrician and you go to a building site, you need to have a chat with the builder and plumber and anyone else there about how you will all stay safe. Easy.
  • Primary Duty of Care - now this sounds complicated but it's not, just don't let the work you do hurt other people.
  • Duty of PCBU - Make sure the work is not risky for the people that are exposed to it. That includes the people doing the work and anyone who might visit or be by the work happening. Basically keep people(workers & public) in your business safe
  • Duty of Officers - Make sure that the PCBU is doing the right stuff to keep people safe. So making sure risks are managed and people know what they're doing. Again, keep people in your business safe.
  • Duty of Workers - Follow the rules, work safely, don't be an idiot. Keep yourself and your fellow workers safe.
  • Duty of Other Persons(VisitorsPublic) - Be careful, follow any signs or rules put up, don't be an idiot and get hurt. Keep yourself safe.
  • Requirement to keep records - This is all about being able to prove you are safe and show that after accidents you have improved and done stuff to make things better. Especially after notifiable events(Will explain next week). PeopleSafe is really good at keeping track of records and info by the way.
  • Duty to engage workers - Worker participation(getting your staff involved in safety stuff) is a big thing in this new law. "Why" I hear you ask, well they are the ones doing the work, they are the ones that get hurt and make mistakes, so if they are more involved in safety, they may be more aware about what's going on and will get hurt less.
  • Create Health and Safety Committees - This is a bit complicated because some small business may need them and some may not, it's where a group of Workers and/or Officers form a committee to look at safety in their business and decide the best ways to stay safe.
  • Follow provisional improvement notices - these will pretty much be risks that a committee or H&S rep will tell you as a PCBU or Officer to improve and make safer, and you have to do it.
  • Cease work - When things are really risky and your workers don't want to do the work because it's unsafe, you can't fire them, you have to cease work and fix it

Fines or penalties that could happen if stupid stuff happens.

  • Offence of reckless conduct - This could be when someone who is intentionally not thinking or being an idiot and puts people at risk or hurts people. This could land you a fine between $150,000 to $1.5mil.
  • Then if you are a little less risky than reckless risky, or if you are being a bit of an egg and do stupid risky stuff, you could be facing a fine between $50,000 to $500,000
  • If you don't keep records and can't prove what you have done after a notifiable event then there could be a fine up to $25,000
  • If you fail to engage workers then there could be a fine up to $100,000


As you can see these fines are pretty steep and we bet Worksafe (Not PeopleSafe) will be more than willing to hand them out if needed. However if you are making sure that you are doing the right things that are reasonably practicable, making sure people in your business are safe, know how to be safe, and aware of the risks that they work with, and you have proof that that's happening, then fines are way less likely to come into play.

What do I do now?

So now you might be thinking, "Well thats great and all but where do I start? What do I need to do?" That's where PeopleSafe comes in, we will help you survive the safety madness with the Ultimate Safety Tool. It will help you make sure that your team knows how to work safely, it will give you helpful reminders about things that need to be done and it gives you one easy to use place to store all your safety records so you can prove that you're a safe business. 

That's it for another Workshop Wednesday, see you next week for 'All the notifiable things in the new safety law.'

Let us know what you think below in the comments or send an email to questions@peoplesafe.co.nz