Health and safety leadership is key to improving organisational health and safety culture, and it needs to be “informed leadership”. That is, in order to lead health and safety in your business, you need to have a working understanding of the health and safety duties and obligations.
All Officers, including Directors, have a duty to exercise due diligence to ensure the business complies with health and safety duties. One component of due diligence includes taking reasonable steps to “acquire, and keep up to date, knowledge of work health and safety matter”. In order to make critical decisions in regard to health and safety the Officers must have knowledge of the relevant health and safety duties.
The due diligence obligations are individual to each Officer. Gaining and acquiring knowledge in health and safety matters is not something that can be delegated like some of the other duties.
Helpfully, WorkSafe NZ has published a number of recent guidance and interpretative guides on the new law, which are a great (and free!) starting place to get your head around this:
• Health and Safety at Work Act: Quick Reference Guide
• Introduction to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 – Special Guide
• General Risk and Workplace Management Part 1
• General Risk and Workplace Management Part 2
• Worker Representation through Health and Safety Representatives and Health and Safety Committees
• Worker Engagement, Participation and Representation Good Practice Guidelines
• Health and Safety Guide: Good Governance for Directors
Maintaining current knowledge is of course key to keeping on top of the developing law in this area, and you can even subscribe to receive updates to these and other new documents by subscribing to WorkSafe NZ publications here.
There are many other options to keep up to date, including health and safety forums, industry discussions, webinars, and training courses, and we’re working with health and safety leaders across a range of industries, providing specific advice and bespoke training, as well as representation. If you’d like specialist help with your organisational health and safety, contact our team today.
Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law and health and safety topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations. Please seek guidance from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.
Copeland Ashcroft Law