Health and Safety at Work Act 2015: Intention, Implementation and Outcomes in the Hill Country Livestock Farming Industry
38 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 19, 2017
The recently enacted Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 is intended to apply across all industries in New Zealand. The unique workplace environment and industry culture of the hill country livestock farming sector makes application, implementation and enforcement of the Act in this context uniquely challenging. In contrast to other industries the hill country livestock farming industry has an uncontained workplace complicated by family and public involvement. WorkSafe, as a “fair, consistent and engaged” regulator, seeks to establish health and safety as one of the industry’s key cornerstones alongside lifestyle, profit and sustainability. Results to date have been undermined by WorkSafe’s conflicting enforcement, engagement and education functions. There is a perceived misplaced focus on enforcement of low probability, periphery hazards rather than the key risks that cause accidents. This paper explains the implications of significant changes under the Act for the industry. It also recommends legislative adaptations to address the inadequacies of the farming exception in s 37. An alternative WorkSafe strategy that focuses on effecting compliance through supply chain demand and economic drivers rather than enforcement is also outlined.
Keywords: Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, hill country livestock farming, health and safety, WorkSafe, workplace
JEL Classification: K00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation