New Health and Safety Laws
Monday, April 4, 2016
The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 comes into force on April 4, 2016.
All sport and recreation organisations have a duty of care
If you are a Volunteer Association, you have the same ‘duty of care’ to volunteers as you do to members. In the current Act, the obligation is to ‘take all reasonably practicable steps’ to prevent people from being harmed. All organisations will have a new ‘due diligence’ responsibility to help ensure their organisation’s facilities and activities are safe. Read here.
There’s been plenty of discussion about how the new law might affect volunteers and sporting organisations in our communities. It’s important that volunteering isn’t negatively affected by changes in health and safety requirements, balanced against the need to keep people safe and healthy in their place of work.
The recently passed Bill may have an impact on how you manage the health and safety risks associated with your high performance, community sport, recreation, events, and other activities.
We have collated a number of links to organisations and documents which have valuable information to help you understand what you need to know and do to ensure you are meeting the requirements of the new legislation.
Running a charity or a volunteer organisation?
The new legislation does provide exemptions for volunteer organisations, associations and charities. It is important to know where you fit under the new workplace health and safety law. Read here.
Sport New Zealand: Health and Safety for Clubs
Health and safety is about the hazards that exist in your usual club environment. Do you have a first aid kit and people trained in its use? What will you do in the event of an accident or civil defence emergency? Do you have contact numbers for your members’ next-of-kin to ensure they can be contacted in the case of an illness or injury?
However big or small, the club should have plans in place to deal with health and safety issues. How extensive these plans are will vary, depending on the size and structure of your club. But even if the club is small and uses a local community pool for training, competitions, or meetings it’s still important that these issues are considered.
The club’s legal requirements change according to whether or not you employ paid staff. But, in short, club management and members should consider the following guidelines to ensure everyone remains healthy and safe while participating in club activities.
Sport New Zealand’s website is updated regularly with useful information for clubs on Health and Safety that is specific to our sector. We recommend you review Sport New Zealand’s developing an approach to health and safety for clubs.
Sport New Zealand Free Online Training
Sport New Zealand has developed a free course in partnership with Skills Active that all paid and volunteer workers can complete. The course has been developed to enable Regions and Clubs to provide training for your entire workforce. The training is suitable for people aged 16 or older, takes 20-30 minutes to complete and is best accessed using a computer or tablet. Learners can also opt for a paid version of the course and get the credits reported to NZQA if they have enrolled with them. To view the course outline go to www.sporttutor.nz and click on ‘Sport Safe’.
Boards and the most senior manager in each organisation need to exercise due diligence
In response to the key findings and recommendations laid out in the final report of the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Institute of Directors (IoD) have produced a guideline for good governance practices in managing health and safety risks. Read here.
The coverage of volunteers is the same as the current legislation
WorkSafe NZ provided Sport NZ with this advice published in August 2015. Read here.
Organisations that sanction events run by ‘associated parties’ are still responsible
Organisations will have to ensure ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’ the health and safety, not only of their own workers, but of associated parties’ workers who they ‘influence’ or direct. Sport NZ legal advisers have provided them with some advice on this issue. Read here.
The Health and Safety at Work Act is an opportunity for you to review your health and safety practises and behaviours, and revise how you manage critical risks that could cause illness, injury or even death. Not only is this the right thing to do, it benefits organisations, workers and volunteers. Read here.
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
The Act is part of “Working Safer: a blueprint for health and safety at work” and reforms New Zealand’s health and safety system following the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety. Read here.
WorkSafe NZ responds to questions about the Health and Safety at Work Act at the recent VNZ conference. Read here.
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