Draft For Consultation Regulations have been published by MBIE under the proposed Health & Safety at Work Act. This is Phase 1 of a two part HASAW Regulations. The Draft is entitled the Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2015.
This post is the first in a series of five. In it, we look at the first two of the proposed sections making up the HASAW Regulations:
- General Requirements – Risk management process to be followed in specified circumstances.
- Supervision, training and instruction of workers.
MBIE is consulting with an array of stakeholders over the HASAW Regulations, however, anyone can have a say. Email feedback to HSWregs@mbie.govt.nz by Friday 15 May 2015.
General Requirements – Risk management process to be followed in specified circumstances. (HASAW Regulations 5 – 8)
The section applies to managing any risk to health and safety. It refers to Section 22 of the proposed new Act. This says that any person with a duty to manage health and safety must eliminate risks if it is reasonably practicable. If not, they must minimise the risks. (The word “minimise” will no longer have the same meaning as under our current Act). It will be a term that includes a newly defined hierarchy of controls.
Regulation 5. Duty to identify hazards
This simply requires a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) to identify “reasonably foreseeable hazards”. Hazards can give rise to risks to health and safety. Reasonably foreseeable normally means anything a reasonable person would be able to predict or expect.
Regulation 6. Hierarchy of control measures
This is the one that “fills out” what is within the meaning of “minimise” in the HASAW Regulations. It uses a new hierarchy of controls to replace our current Eliminate, Isolate and Minimise. It is proposed as follows:
- Eliminate the hazard. (For completeness,
remember that the first required level of control is to eliminate the risk). If that is not reasonably practicable, the hierarchy steps down as follows. All the following are therefore forms of Minimisation:
- Substituting the hazard for something with a lower risk.
- Isolating the hazard from any person.
- Preventing people coming into contact with the hazard.
- Engineering controls.
- Administrative controls.
Comment: The Australian Model on which this is based has 6 levels in total. The term “Isolation” is used instead of items 3 & 4 above. My personal opinion is that the term Isolation does not need to be split into two very similar concepts. It’s splitting hairs. A hierarchy of controls ought to utilise terms that have distinct and exclusive meanings.
This says the PCBU must maintain effective hazard controls. They must be fit for purpose and suitable for the nature and duration of the work. They must also be set up and used correctly.
Comment: This spells out the need to ensure hazard controls are sustained. This requirement is not specifically stated in the current Act.
Regulation 8. Duty to review control measures
This says the PCBU must review and revise hazard controls. In particular:
- when the controls do not adequately control the risk.
- when there are workplace changes.
- when a new hazard arises.
- when health monitoring indicates harmful effects.
- when workers or H&S representative requests it.
Comment: Systems such as ACC’s Workplace Safety Management Practices include the need to review the process and effectiveness of hazard management. But this has not been specifically included in the HSE Act or Regulations.
HASAW Regulations draft: Regulation 9, Supervision, training and instruction of workers.
Regulation 9 starts off essentially the same as our current Section 13 of the Act. It requires a PCBU to ensure that workers either have prior knowledge of the type of work or are supervised. They must also be trained in the risk controls.
From there on, however, the proposed HASAW Regulations go a lot further. They require adequacy of the supervision and training: Parts (2) to (4) of Regulation 9 require a PCBU to ensure supervision and training are suitable and adequate. In deciding what is suitable and adequate, we must have regard to the nature of the work. Also, the risks and the type of risk control measures. The training must be readily understandable by any worker, which includes any information and instruction.
Comment: This takes training and supervision to the human factors level. It clearly leads us to a situation in which, the higher the risk, the more we must be certain that the worker can demonstrate their understanding. Also that employers can back it up with evidence.
Don’t forget: Email feedback on the draft HASAW Regulations to HSWregs@mbie.govt.nz by Friday 15 May 2015.