Under new legislation currently before Parliament the Health & Safety laws are changing significantly.

People conducting a business or undertaking have a duty to identify and eliminate all risks to health and safety of their employees, contractors, visitors etc. They must minimise any risks that cannot be eliminated.

If an event occurs they must notify the government of the event, preserve the incident site, and keep records of what occurred.

Employers must also engage with workers over Health & Safety and provide opportunities to participate in Health and Safety discussions. Employers must arrange elections of Health & Safety representatives to represent their workers and then consult with the elected representative.

The elected representative must be allowed time for training and for them to carry out their Health & Safety role. They must also be paid their normal rate of pay while doing the role.

Health & Safety Representatives can issue Provisional Improvement notices and Cease Work notices. Workers can decide to cease unsafe work, if there is a serious risk to health or safety by an immediate or imminent exposure to a hazard (except for inherently dangerous occupations).  They can be required to carry out alternative work instead.

All people conducting a business or undertaking will have to be very aware of their obligations under the new Act and put into place processes to eliminate hazards or minimise them if they cannot be eliminated.