People Come First" - the health and safety guidance put out on Friday by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for the mining sector - is directed at those with management or leadership responsibilities such as site senior executives, statutory managers, superintendents and supervisors. It provides a checklist of what a strong health and safety culture might look like and identifies five paths to achieve it:

  • building trust and respect
  • leading by example
  • communicating clearly
  • involving everyone, and
  • continuous learning.

For each path the guide has case studies, checklists and further action points. It also details methods of tracking and monitoring health and safety progress such as using indicators, surveys and formal reviews. The organisational-level guide does not purport to be an exhaustive manual on health and safety management. Nor does it address the technicalities of managing a mine, quarry or tunnelling operation. These areas will be overhauled when the Health and Safety (Pike River Implementation) Bill comes into force in December 2013.  

Chapman Tripp comment

The strategies and recommendations in "People Come First" are not legally enforceable. However, the guideline could be used in Court as evidence of good practice.

The publication, which could be useful to all employers, not just in the mining industry, complements the Guidelines released earlier this year by MBIE and the New Zealand Institute of Directors (see our earlier Brief Counsel here).