A turning point

The passing of the Health and Safety Reform Bill by Parliament on 29 August heralds a new era in New Zealand. There is a lot about this legislation that we can celebrate including stronger leadership expectations through due diligence requirements of officers, clear accountability, greater collaboration required between those in control of workplaces, worker participation and personal responsibility. In addition, there are stronger penalties to keep people focused on how important workplace health and safety is. I'm very pleased to take up the position of Independent Chair of HASANZ at this turning point. Having led the Secretariat for the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety I'm keenly interested to see its recommendations come to fruition. It is vital that we turn this promise of better things to come into a reality.

There is growing awareness of the need for quality advice on health and safety matters and HASANZ has a critical role to play in raising standards among workplace health and safety professionals and increasing demand for it. It is a year to the day since HASANZ was created. What HASANZ has achieved in its first year is fantastic and I am confident we can make a real impact on health and safety outcomes in New Zealand and contribute to a better future. The bottom line is that our workplaces must be healthy and safe for the people who work there.

The new core legislation, the Health and Safety at Work Act comes into effect on 4 April 2016. WorkSafe NZ has provided a guide to what happens next. I encourage you to read it.

Craig Smith