Health and Safety Association New Zealand


PSPLA | The Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority

The PSPLA was setup to regulate and lift standards for security guards and private investigators.

The Private Security Personnel Licensing Authority (PSPLA) was setup to regulate and lift standards for security guards and private investigators.  A judgement in June 2020 by the PSPLA has implications for workplace incident investigators. The Authority determined that a consultant who specialises in independent investigations into workplace complaints is covered by the definition of a ‘private investigator’ in the Private Security and Private Investigators Act 2010 (the Act), and so should be licensed under this Act.   Under the definition this could potentially include health and safety professionals who undertake workplace investigations, health and safety auditors and HR Professionals. Note that this judgement relates to consultants external to a company and not advisors who are employees.

We have been working with the Ministry of Justice and the PSPLA on this issue as to whether H&S professionals are covered by the Act. We now have the decision on this matter - In Brief:

[41] In practice therefore, the PSPLA will neither accept complaints from members of public against health and safety investigators who belong to HASANZ member organisations for failing to hold a security licence, nor will we refer any such complaints for investigation or prosecution.

[42] The above exemption on policy grounds from holding a PSPLA licence or certificate only applies to members of HASANZ member associations in their current robust forms. Any person in the business of carrying out health and safety investigations who is neither on the HASANZ register nor a member of one of its member organisations should hold a security licence in the class of private investigator. Further, any employee of such an investigator is required to hold a certificate of approval to undertake such investigative work.

[43] Given the status of this decision the only way HASANZ and its member
organisations can obtain a legally binding exemption is by way of an Order in Council in accordance with s 12 of the Act. HASANZ will need to consider whether this further step is necessary following this decision.

Summary & Conclusion

[44] We conclude:
a) Health and safety auditors do not fit within the definition of private investigator in s 5 of the Act and accordingly are not required to be licensed or certified under the Act.
b) Health and Safety professionals who are in the business of carrying out health and safety investigations are private investigators as defined by s 5 of the Act and, subject to the proviso below, should be licensed or certified with the PSPLA. This finding extends to health and safety investigator employees as defined in s13 of the Act.
c) HASANZ and its member organisations are better placed than the PSPLA to regulate and have oversight of health and safety professionals. Therefore, any person who is on the HASANZ register or is a member of a HASANZ member
organisation is not required to also hold a licence or certificate with the PSPLA, and complaints against them for failing to do so will not be accepted by the Authority.

Read the full outcome