On 14 November the Health and Safety (Pike River Implementation) Bill successfully passed its Third Reading. The Bill was divided and read separately as the WorkSafe New Zealand Bill, the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill and the Mines Rescue Bill.
The Bills implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy. Key features of these Bills include:
- the creation of WorkSafe New Zealand, a stand-alone Crown agent that will be responsible for regulating workplace health and safety issues;
- provision for regulations to be passed that will specifically address health and safety issues in the mining industry, including processes and minimum standards which must be followed and met;
- the strengthening of worker participation arrangements in the in the mining industry;
- provision for an effective mining rescue service, including the authority to pass regulations relating to a levy fund for this service; and
- creation of the role of an incident controller who will co-ordinate the response to a major mining emergency.
This Bill is one element of the Government's broader response to the Pike River disaster and health and safety reforms. We are still waiting for the Health and Safety at Work Bill to be introduced.
For the text of the new Acts, please see here.