The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 came into force today.
Key features are:
- responsibility for ensuring a healthy and safe workplace lies with the PCBU – the person conducting the business or undertaking. Generally, this will be the employer or the employing organisation
- the PCBU must eliminate or, where elimination is not possible, minimise so far as is reasonably practicable all health and safety risks
- responsibility for ensuring that the PCBU has the resources to meet its H&S obligations lies with the “officer”. This definition refers to directors and to very senior management (which, in all but the largest firms, is likely to be just the CEO), and
- PCBUs in high risk industries must establish a formal risk management process and involve workers and their representatives in developing a risk mitigation strategy.
These requirements are buttressed by new enforcement mechanisms and higher maximum penalties.
A more in-depth description of the new regime, prepared by Chapman Tripp when the Act was first passed, is available here.