We were recently asked about the regulatory framework in NZ, about what is legally binding and what is not. In other words, what do people have to do and if they do not have to do it, what does it mean.
If we restrict our view to general plant and equipment, everyone has to comply with the laws. This includes: the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 2015, Pressure Equipment, Cranes and Pressure Vessel Regulations (PECPR) 1999 and the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act (HSNO) 1996.
Anything in these laws must be met. However, under the HSWA 2015, it is a requirement that Persons Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBU) must take “reasonably practicable” steps to ensure people’s safety. Since this is open to interpretation as to what is reasonably practicable, industry leaders and WorkSafe themselves have come up with a bunch of material to help people to make decisions.
If an incident were to occur, then lawmakers will often look at what guidance PCBUs have used to determine whether or not all reasonably practicable steps have been taken. The flow chart below provides a hierarchy of guidance.
For plant and equipment that does not have any guidance, it is up to the PCBU to decide whether or not it is safe. At this point, it is commonly previous experience, or a calculated judgement from someone such as a Chartered Professional Engineer, which can provide guidance. This is an area BVT specialises in, in part due to our close working relationship with WorkSafe.