Manage health and safety

Both self employed people and employers are responsible for the health and safety of everyone who does work for you or comes into your worksite. This includes employeescontractors and visitors, and volunteers in the workplace. 

As an employer, the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 requires that you must take ‘all practicable steps’ to ensure the safety of your employees while they are at work. This includes any place where they do work for you, such as a building, farm, vehicle or forest.

Taking 'all practicable steps' includes thinking about the ways that someone could be harmed and doing what is reasonably practicable to ensure the safety of that person. You are expected to understand those things that your industry knows about. You have to do what is 'reasonable', which means that you have to do what a reasonable and prudent person would do in the same situation. It is an objective standard determined by the standards and practices of the industry and society generally.

What you must do

As an employer you must:

  • Provide a safe working environment and facilities, such as first aid kits and protective equipment, for staff safety and health.
  • Ensure any plant or equipment they use is designed and made safe for the employee to use and is properly maintained.
  • Develop emergency procedures. 
  • Develop a system to identify new and existing hazards then eliminate, isolate, or minimise significant hazards.
  • Record the details of any incidents or accidents and investigate to determine what needs to be done to prevent it happening again.
  • Report any serious harm incidents to the Department of Labour. 
  • Involve your employees in developing ways to improve health and safety.
  • Ensure that employees are aware of hazards that may affect them in the work they do and the controls that are in place to prevent harm. 
  • Make sure that all employees are adequately trained in safe operating procedures and supervised as they learn.
  • Keep a first aid kit in each place where people are working. Kits should be a sufficient size to cope with the number of people needing to use it.

     

If you are self employed you must:

  • Take all practicable steps to ensure that your work does not harm you or anyone else. 
  • Record the details of any incidents or accidents and investigate to determine what needs to be done to prevent it happening again. 
  • Report any serious harm incidents to the Department of Labour.

What you could do

  • The ACC WorkSafe Cycle is a simple and effective method you can use to set up and operate a health and safety system.
  • Setting up health and safety systems can be a step towards reducing your ACC levies. See How to pay less for more details.
  • Develop your own Health and Safety Plan. Display it in your workplace and make sure everyone is clear of their roles and responsibilities.
  • Think about the impact of health and safety on your productivity. It is rare to find a business with high levels health and safety and low productivity.

 

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