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Checklist for compliance with the new
Health and Safety at Work Act
The Health and Safety at Work Act will
be in force from 4 April 2016 of this
year, drastically changing New Zealand’s
health and safety landscape. To assist FMCG
professionals with their preparation for the new
Act, we have created a simple checklist as follows.
Are you a PCBU?
The answer to this question is most likely to be
yes. The new Act imposes a primary duty on
“Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking”
(PCBU). This is a broad definition which
encompasses employers, principals and other
persons in control of a place of work.
Are you aware of your duties?
For PCBU’s, the key duty is to ensure, so far as
reasonably practicable, the health and safety of:
• workers employed or
engaged, or caused to be
employed or engaged, by
• workers whose activities
in carrying out work are
influenced or directed by
the PCBU; and
• other persons who may
be put at risk from work
carried out as part of the
business or undertaking.
For businesses in the
FMCG industry, a duty
will first be owed to any
employees or contractors of
the business. However, the
business will also need to
discharge its duty towards
“other persons”, who could include anyone near,
or in, the workplace (bearing in mind that a
“workplace” includes any place where employees
are at work, including vehicles).
Do you know what to do if there
are multiple duty holders?
Most FMCG businesses will operate in an
environment that involves multiple duty holders
(meaning multiple PCBUs). Where this occurs,
the duty holders will be required to work together
to discharge their duties to the extent to which
they have the ability to influence and control
the matter. This requires the PCBUs to consult,
co-operate and co-ordinate activities to meet their
IN THE FMCG
INDUSTRY, A DUTY
WILL FIRST BE
OWED TO ANY
Jennifer Mills is a partner and
Rachael Judge an associate of
Anthony Harper, an award-
winning, internationally ranked
commercial law firm with offices
in Auckland and Christchurch.
Have you identified the officers
within your organisation?
Under the new Act, an “officer” is defined as including
Directors, Chief Executives and other persons
exercising significant influence over the management
of the business or undertaking. Directors and Chief
Executives are straightforward. However, it will be
important to determine whether any other executives
within the business would amount to “officers” (for
example, the Chief Operating Officer).
Are the officers aware of their due
The Act contains a new due diligence duty for
officers, which requires officers to exercise due
diligence to ensure that the PCBU complies with their
duty or obligation under the Act. With the reform,
officers must perform certain functions that go to
the heart of the PCBU’s compliance.
The Act lays out a number of specific
steps to be taken by the officers.
These include acquiring an up-to-date
awareness of work health and safety
matters, an understanding of the risks
and hazards commonly associated with
the operations that the organisation
undertakes and ensuring that the
PCBU has appropriate processes and
resources to receive and respond to
concerns about hazards, risks and
Do you have sufficient
practices in place?
PCBUs also have an obligation to
engage workers in relation to health
and safety matters. This means that all duty holders
will be required to have practices in place that
provide reasonable opportunities for workers to
participate in improving work health and safety
on an ongoing basis. The new Act provides for the
establishment of health and safety representatives
and committees to facilitate worker participation in
What should you do next?
If you have answered all of these questions in the
affirmative, you are well on your way to compliance
with the new Act. If not, we recommend that you
conduct further research into the Act to ensure that
your business will be compliant by April of this year.
44 FMCG BUSINESS - FEBRUARY 2016
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