H&S Reform survey findings

By NZISM Master account


Kia ora koutou to all members and supporters of NZISM.

I am delighted to provide you with the results of our major survey on the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, current and potential regulations, and system performance. Thank you to those who took the time to respond to this survey.

We estimate that the response rate of 1,300+ equates to around one-third of health and safety generalists in New Zealand.

The survey results showed there is significant diversity of thought amongst health and safety professionals.

However, there are elements of widespread consensus:

  • The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 is not viewed as fundamentally broken. Most of those replying to our survey think the main elements of the Act are either working well or require only minor change.
  • The existing regulations are also seen as working well or only in need of small tweaks.
  • Respondents want the Government to complete the suite of regulations planned when the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 was passed. Following Australia’s lead, there is a strong call for greater regulation of psychosocial harm.
  • Across the board, there is a call for greater guidance and information as to how to meet duties under the Act and regulations. WorkSafe guidance is referred to often but could be improved and expanded.
  • Those surveyed want WorkSafe to get back on its feet through adequate resourcing and effective management. WorkSafe inspector capacity and capability is an area of significant potential investment.

We have been struck by the similarity to the problems diagnosed by the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety. The Taskforce called out the incomplete regulations and lack of guidance to industry as major problems. The Taskforce also recommended a strong and effective health and safety regulator.

These are fundamental issues with the health and safety system which require urgent attention. We need a system that can help us deal with emerging risks (eg. a significant increase in climate-related risks) and new technologies (eg. AI) along with wicked problems such as the toll of work-related disease.

I welcome your thoughts and feedback on the survey. We will share it with decision makers. We will also consider how we can give you further information to support your engagement with the Minister for Workplace Relations’ upcoming consultation on Health and Safety Law Reform.

Ngā mihi

Jeff Sissons