MBIE update 24 September 2021 – Government announces changes to Health and Safety at Work regulations

Government announces changes to Health and Safety at Work regulations

The Government has announced changes to the health and safety regulations, providing more clarity and certainty for businesses, and enabling better safety and health for workers. The regulations are being modernised to ensure they are clear, effective, proportionate and durable. By updating the regulations, businesses are supported to better manage the risks in their workplaces, and reduce work-related harm and fatalities.

The existing requirements are outdated and full of gaps. New Zealand’s work-related injury fatality rate is comparatively high, about double Australia’s and 4 times the rate of the United Kingdom. The improved regulations will bring New Zealand up to international health and safety standards.

In the last decade, an average of 54 people died at work each year from injuries involving plant (such as workplace machinery, vehicles and equipment) and structures (such as scaffolding and excavations). The changes are estimated to reduce our workplace deaths and injuries by 20% which is a benefit of $43 million to our economy every year.

Businesses and workers provided a wide range of feedback and views during the public consultation process. It was overwhelmingly clear that many people believe that the existing requirements are no longer fit-for-purpose. Businesses and workers support clear, modernised regulations to improve workplace practices.

Reforming the health and safety regulations is part of the work to address the issues identified by both the Royal Commission on the Pike River Coal Mine Tragedy and the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety.

An early draft of the proposed regulations will be released in early 2022 for further feedback, and to test the detail. The changes are expected to come into force in late 2022, and businesses will receive guidance to help them prepare.

Health and safety at work reform information booklet [PDF 2.7MB]

For more information on the changes go to:

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015: Plant, structures and working at heights

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