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Health and Safety at Work Reform


From 2008 to 2019, on average 54 people a year died at work from injuries involving plant (e.g. machines, vehicles and equipment) and structures (e.g. scaffolding and excavations). That’s three-quarters of all work-related injury deaths. New Zealand’s work-related acute fatalities are high by international standards, approximately twice that of Australia and four times the rate of the United Kingdom.

MBIE is proposing several changes to the existing H&S requirements for PCBU’s that will affect building sites, particularly for plant and structures. A particular change around safety working from heights is the removal of height limits where fall protection is required. Where there is a risk of any fall, including below the current 3 metre exemption, measures must be put in place to protect workers from falling. Additionally, businesses will be required to follow a hierarchy of controls for construction work to protect workers from falls, ranging from a safe working platform to fall arrest harnesses. Use of ladders will be restricted to specified circumstances.

The changes are due to come in to effect late 2022 following a consultation period.

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