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How SmartForms can help NZ businesses comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act

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Major changes to New Zealand’s Health and Safety laws took effect on 4 April 2016!

ln this article we give a general introduction to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) then focus on the following two aspects of the Act:
  • worker participation - Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and Health and Safety Committee (HSCs); and
  • the need to notify WorkSafe NZ prior to the commencement of particular hazardous works.

Seek advice!

We strongly recommend SmartTrade’s New Zealand customers visit the WorkSafe New Zealand site and get professional advice, to make sure they have an in-depth understanding of how the (HSWA) will affect their business.

An introduction to the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
The Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) was enacted in August 2015 with most provisions of the Act taking effect on 4 April 2016. The new Act is based on the Australian Model Work Health and Safety Act.
The HSWA shifts the focus from monitoring and recording health and safety incidents to proactively identifying and managing risks. The primary duty of care is now on the business itself rather than the
employers or principals to ensure the health and safety of workers and others affected by the work it carries out. Key changes introduced by the new law include:
  • Introducing a new legal concept of a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU). A PCBU will usually be a business entity, such as a company, rather than an individual;
  • Imposing a new due diligence obligation on officers. Officers are directors and other people who make governance decisions that significantly affect a business;
  • Imposing a new duty to take “reasonably practicable steps”;
  • Including a new object of securing workers’ health and safety;
  • Promoting continual improvement and good practice, benchmarked on internationalstandards;
  • Implementing a presumption in favour of the highest level of protecting workers from harm;
  • Increasing the penalties for noncompliance.
The actions your business needs to take include:
  • Identifying health and safety hazards and risks, and taking steps to prevent these from happening;
  • Making sure health and safety in your business is led from the top, has involved and is understood by your staff, and is reviewed regularly;
  • Holding regular training on health and safety matters;
  • Engaging workers in health and safety matters that affect them;
  • Supporting all officers to get up to date with health and safety issues and key risk factors;
  • Reporting and monitoring health and safety goals;
  • Regularly reviewing any incidents;
  • Carrying out frequent health and safety audits.

SmartForms, an excellent tool for managing workplace safety compliance in the field!

The ever increasing complexity of workplace safety and compliance requirements means more and more forms are needed to be completed and managed.
SmartTrade Mobile’s SmartForms feature enables businesses to complete workplace safety checklists on Android or IOS smart devices and store the resulting SmartForms in the cloud.
SmartForms can be emailed to your client, your clients can be setup to view their SmartForm results in the SmartGate online portal. SmartGate is a SmartTrade Ultimate feature, you need to have at least one SmartGate Ultimate licence to be able to use this feature.

For more information about SmartForms please contact our sales team.
Au 1800 350 495, NZ 0800 327 943 or email us at [email protected]


Worker Participation - Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and Health and Safety Committee (HSCs)
The Act requires businesses to engage with workers so they can contribute to health and safety on an ongoing basis, this is an absolute requirement so there’s no escaping it. To facilitate this outcome the Act introduces Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and Health and Safety Committee (HSCs).
One of the most asked question is do I need to organise the election of a Health and Safety Representative or setup a Health and safety Committee? The rules are:
All businesses with 20 or more workers, or who are in one of the  high-risk sectors or industries listed in the Regulations, must:
  • arrange the election of HSRs if requested by a worker, and
  • consider whether existing worker participation practices are sufficiently effective and whether to set up an HSC if one is requested by an HSR or five or more workers.
    Schedule 2 of the Act lists high-risk sectors or industries as:
  • Aquaculture
  • Forestry and logging
  • Fishing, hunting, and trapping
  • Coal mining
  • Food product manufacturing
  • Water supply, sewerage, and drainage services
  • Waste collection, treatment, and disposal services
  • Building construction
  • Heavy and civil engineering construction
  • Construction services
Accordingly, SmartTrade users working in any of the defined high-risk sectors, and those not in a high-risk sector but having 20 or more workers, will be obliged to elect HSRs or setup HSCs if requested to do so by workers. Many SmartTrade users will fall into the Building Construction and Construction services categories.

If a business asked by a worker to elect HSR(s) refuses to do so because it employs less than 20 workers and is not working in a defined high-risk sector it must give the worker written notice of its decision within reasonable time.

Notifying WorkSafe NZ of particular hazardous works

Businesses may not know that they’re legally required to notify WorkSafe NZ at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of a particular hazardous work.

Notifiable work is defined by the regulations as:

  • Any restricted work, as that term is defined in regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety in Employment (Asbestos) Regulations 1998:
  • Any logging operation or tree-felling operation, being an operation that is undertaken for commercial purposes:
  • Any construction work of one or more of the following kinds:

a. Work where workers could fall five metres or more, excluding work on a two-storey house, or work on a power or telephone line, or work carried out from a ladder only, or maintenance or repair work of a minor or routine nature;

b. The erection or dismantling of scaffolds from which a person could fall five metres or more;

c. Every excavation more than 1.5m deep in which people are required to work and which is deeper than it is wide at the top;

d. Any form of tunnel or drive where workers work underground, irrespective of timbering or support;

e. Those excavations where the excavated face is steeper than one horizontal to two vertical;

f. Any construction work where explosives are used or stored;

g. Work such as diving, where construction workers breathe air or any other gas that has been compressed or is under pressure;

h. Lifts of half a tonne (500 kg) or more a vertical distance of 5 m or more carried out by use of a lifting appliance other than by a mobile crane, excavator or forklift.

Particular Hazardous Work Notification SmartForm available!

SmartTrade Mobile users wishing to complete Particular Hazardous Work notifications electronically and email these to WorkSafe NZ can purchase the applicable SmartForm for $ 95 plus GST. The price includes our customising the SmartForm with your company logo plus any minor modifications you want made, provided the modifications are advised to us within a month of us emailing you the SmartForm.

For more information about SmartForms please contact our sales team.
Au 1800 350 495, NZ 0800 327 943 or email us at [email protected]


  • Any restricted work, as that term is defined in regulation 2(1) of the Health and Safety in Employment (Asbestos) Regulations 1998: