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Health and Safety At Work Act 2015

The Health & Safety at Work Act 2015 has been in place for just over ten weeks now and most of the people we talk to are adapting quite comfortably.

In April and May we ran several seminars on the new legislation and were fortunate to have a local WorkSafe inspector, present these to our clients.

Although the language of the legislation has changed slightly the new terms give a better emphasis on the point that Safety is everyone’s responsibility, and that those that have the ability to make improvements have the responsibility to do so.

Much is made of the onerous amount of paperwork that H&S ‘creates’. Although there is some truth that H&S will create paperwork most of this is simply proving that you have good systems in place, and that you are doing the things that will improve H&S in your workplace. This can be likened to the paperwork that is involved in stock control, inventories, and charging for work done. A lack of appropriate paperwork is a sign of poor business practices and we know where that often leads to.

Although some of the businesses we’ve talked to haven’t had a Health & Safety Manual this doesn’t make them unsafe. Others have had quite significant documents that seemed to be serving as dust collectors while the staff carried on as normal.

Key questions that your H&S Manual should answer (among others) are:

  • how are you managing the risks that identified hazards pose to your workers? and
  • how do you involve your staff in discussions and decisions on Health & Safety that affect them?

Both these questions reflect some of the change in emphasis that the new legislation brings i.e. the risk that the hazard brings rather than the hazard itself, and the need to have your staff engaged and participating in your company’s Health & Safety systems.

If you have any questions on these points or any other aspects of the new legislation, please contact us.