“Draft For Consultation” Regulations have been published by MBIE under the proposed Health & Safety at Work Act. They are 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 third in a series of five. In it, we look at a further three of the proposed sections making up the HASAW Regulations:
- Remote or isolated work
- Hazardous atmospheres and ignition sources
- Falling objects
Remote or isolated work: (HASAW Regulation 22)
This is a very brief and general requirement. It requires the PCBU to ensure risks to workers doing this type of work are managed. The risks must be managed in accordance with Regulations 5 to 8. (These Regulations outline the hierarchy of controls).The PCBU must ensure there is a “system of work” that includes communication with the worker. If you read that quickly, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s all about communication, but it’s not. A “system of work” can be anything appropriate for the circumstances. It could include for example:
- Check-in and monitoring rules;
- A structured work plan including expected time duration;
- Emergency plans and emergency location equipment.
The need for communication appears to have been singled out as the key control mechanism.
Comment: The key to understanding this Regulation is in remembering the hierarchy of controls. In considering a safe “system of work”, an employer must consider what measures are appropriate for the level of risk. Communication must be part of that.
For such a complex subject, these Regulations are restricted to making very simple and broad compliance statements. They say a PCBU must manage hazardous atmospheres and ignition sources. We are to use the hierarchy of controls, as for Regulation 22 above.
Comment: This seems like a simple nod towards more detailed rules. The HSNO Regulations and Codes provide detailed compliance requirements. Further Codes of Practice will no doubt be created. This Regulation also points at general situations in which HSNO is not triggered.
Regulation 25 again refers to the hierarchy of controls with respect to falling objects. It simply says we must manage the risk. If we cannot eliminate the hazard, Regulation 26 applies. This says a PCBU must minimise the risk of an object falling on a person by providing “adequate protection”. It defines “adequate protection” as a safe system of work that is provided and maintained, and includes:
- Measures to prevent an object falling freely, OR
- If it is not reasonably practicable to do (1.) above, a system to arrest the falling object
Comment: This is a fairly prescriptive hierarchy within a hierarchy. It’s going to be challenging in some environments like construction, where ALL objects must be either prevented from falling OR the fall arrested. So restraining or containment will be a must for all situations.
I wanted to get all the analysis done before the deadline for comment on Friday 15th May 2015 but it’s passed now. Still, comments may yet be read. E-mail if you wish to HSWregs@mbie.govt.nz