New requirements for ACC’s Accredited Employers Programme

By NZISM Master account


Kia ora koutou to all members and supporters of NZISM.

Last week hit a significant milestone, probably unnoticed by many unless you’re an audit aficionado. However, after about eight years, ACC has released the final version of the new requirements for their Accredited Employer Programme (AEP) for health and safety, and claims and injury management.

Originally the Accredited Employer Programme tool was written in 1999 and released 2000 as an insurance option alternative for larger employers - and whilst it was a fabulous resource then, with only slight tweaks made in response to the Health and Safety at Work Act in 2015, it was well overdue for a refurbish.
For reference, there are approximately 150 Accredited Employers who make up some of the largest organisations in New Zealand. The AEP programme allows organisations to manage their own work-related injury claims instead of ACC. Participating companies take on responsibility for claims decisions and payments, and rehabilitation support, and can ultimately reduce their work levy by up to 90%. One key component to remain in the program is an annual audit which includes both health and safety and injury management requirements.

The audit tool remains essentially the same, however it has been enhanced and modernised. A mix between the requirements of ACC's AEP framework and ISO 45001. The safety management section has been strengthened and there is now the ability to adapt to a wide range of organisations with different organisational maturity. And while the original prescriptive requirements gave us a good steer all those years ago, as we’ve developed both capacity and competency as a nation in health and safety, they were no longer fit for purpose and have been replaced by a more flexible and adaptive approach.

Well worth a look is the section on: Assessment Area 14: Review, evaluation, and continual improvement. Never a particularly strong area in the previous tool, it is likely that this section alone will create New Zealand Inc. change as it trickles down from the current Accredited Employers through the supply chain and others. Even if you don’t participate in the Accredited Employer Programme it is well worth a look to consider any aspects which you might wish to incorporate into your own risk and assurance programme.

ACC has also provided assessment guidelines for further clarification, noting that the guidelines may be useful for others interested in workplace health and safety eg. auditors and health and safety consultants.

For the Accredited Employers, these updated requirements will come into effect from 1 April 2025, so we will expect to see increasing use from now on as many adjust their systems to reflect the changes.

I would also like to give special acknowledgement to NZISM member, Michael Morris, who has been managing the ACC Accredited Employer Programme audit tool and audit panel since 2015. There are hundreds of NZISM members who have had a connection with ACC’s many programmes over the years, and we all know a significant achievement when we see one!

Do take a look at the new resources:
And if you’re interested, there is a link for the list of current Accredited Employers.

Ngā mihi

Robyn Bennett
NZISM President

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