Home' Waitomo News : 5 April 2016 Contents WAITOMO NEWS Tuesday, April 5, 2016 7
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THE new act surrounding health
and safety in the workplace came into
However, Worksafe New Zealand
chief executive Gordon McDonald
says the new Health and Safety
Workplace Act is not about a whole
new list of risks that have to be
He says there has been clear health
and safety workplace rules in place
for the past 20 years which are car-
ried over into the new act.
“There has been a lot of claims
about the new act and it’s disappoint-
ing to hear some of the far-fetched
claims such as sports events likely
to be cancelled, school principals
putting houses into trusts and bowl-
ing clubs being forced to take down
“The new law tackles significant
areas where there is a need for im-
provement to keep Kiwi workers safe
in their workplace.
“Everyone has a role to play in
health and safety from the director
to the worker,” says Mr McDonald.
“Companies are required to involve
their workers in health and safety
matters – that is making sure the
frontline where the dangers exist,
is fully represented in the business
decision making process.”
Every high risk business employ-
ing more than 20 workers has to have
a health and safety representative.
Otorohanga District Council’s
health and safety advisor Robyn
Hodges knows all about workplace
safety having been passionate about
the subject early in her career.
With the Local Government Forum
offering a training course on health
and safety, Mrs Hodges showed an
interest, putting her case forward to
her departmental manager for fund-
ing to complete the course.
“I then put myself forward for the
position of occupational and safety
officer [at the council] as I had all the
training and said if they were think-
ing of appointing someone I would be
Mrs Hodges says her primary role
is administrative – keeping the con-
tinuous flow of information about
changes to departmental heads and
“Worksafe New Zealand is cur-
rently reviewing a lot of the old rules
and updating them,” she says.
“As an example Worksafe has just
put out documentation on excava-
tion which will affect all our roading
“This means we have to incorpo-
rate the changes into our processes
we need to include it in our specifi-
cations for tender. Council will look
at a tender to see how they have
incorporated the changes.
“The secondary part of my role is
to visit on-site and carry out a site
“It is my role to ensure everyone
works in accordance with the provi-
sions set down in the act.”
Mrs Hodges says the structure
for the council is such that where all
work is contracted out, safety moni-
toring has to be done by the council.
“We [council] have always asked
contractors for health and safety
plans and they have always been
excellent,” she says.
Mrs Hodges says she doesn’t see
any issues with the new act as it
is making the law more relevant to
today’s working environment.
She is just one of many health
and safety officers employed by local
For more on the Workplace and
Safety Act visit the website – legisla-
SAFETY FIRST: Carrying out a health and safety audit, Otorohanga Dostrict Council’s health and safety advisor Robyn
Hodges (left) discusses the day’s workplace hazards on-site with the contractor’s representative Nina Kirkby.
Safety act is
now in force
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