News Brief July 2016cmc_kirsten
First, Some Good News!
Following the launch of the Heath and Safety at Work (HSWA) Act 2015 on 4th April 2016, employers are picking up the challenge. WorkSafe NZ is informing and encouraging compliance; however explaining complex performance requirements remains a challenge, particularly for SMEs.
Hazardous Substances await similar attention as work proceeds on revising the Hazardous Substances Regulations 2016 which are expected to be passed by year end with an anticipated implementation date of mid 2017.
Inevitably, there is the continuing issue of how SME operators find out not just what, but how to meet compliance requirements to the specified standard. Given the likelihood of some 500,000 workplaces accessing 160 WorkSafe inspectors for detailed assistance, the answer is surely
greater involvement by industry associations supporting specially trained SME employees.
Nearly 12 years’ hard won experience with the HSNO regime confirms the value of individuals who know about basic chemical safety and who can advise on HSNO compliance issues in addition to competently carrying out their chemical handling responsibilities.
These competent staff members are called ‘Approved Handlers’ – ironically under threat because of instances of poor training (justified) and flawed legislation that allows renewal online.
Government wants industry to be more self-reliant and emphasises the need for a skilled workforce. The Approved Handler concept, competently executed, will enable the SMEs comprising 97% of our economic units to accurately identify and implement chemical safety measures – leaving hard core offenders to WorkSafe NZ.
Meanwhile, chemical suppliers are encouraging the slow but steady improvement in existing HSNO compliance requirements until further notice; in particular, steady enquiries about non NZ compliant SDS and labels. Members can look forward to learning more about proposed
compliance requirements at our ‘InfoFest’ on 26 August 2016.
Following the February 2016 meeting of the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee, information has been sparse, particularly regarding contentious issues raised by RCNZ such as dropping the mandatory Approved Handler requirement and cost recovery for compliance
inspections. None of these issues are included in a June update from the EPA. Expectations are we can find out at next month’s ‘InfoFest’.
2016 AGM and ‘InfoFest’
Friday the 26th of August is when members and their guests catch up with progress in respect to the Health and Safety at Work legislation, together with the NZ Fire Service review. Presentations led by WorkSafe NZ Chief Executive Gordon MacDonald will review progress with the HSWA legislation, Major Hazard Facility Regulations 2015 and the Hazardous Substances Regulations 2016. A progress report on the ACC Star Rating System has been requested.