Iwi, hapu and whānau who run businesses (just like all others) need to ensure that they have all their health and safety policies and procedures in place and that these are followed up and enforced…

Far too often we see small whānau businesses in particular with no policies and no way of showing that Health & Safety concerns are taken seriously. If something happens you must be able to demonstrate (usually with written records) that all the necessary steps were taken to ensure the safety of everyone in the workplace (including you as the owner and your whānau).

Under the current law fines of over $100,000 are common and reparation orders for injured employees of up to $250,000 made. These are likely to increase dramatically under a new Health & Safety at Work Act proposed in legislation introduced by the Government.

The Act follows the inquiry into the Pike River disaster but will apply to all workplaces.

The proposed Act significantly increases fines and terms of imprisonment for offences. It also strengthens the roles of inspectors and Health & Safety worker representatives.

Risks must be identified.  The responsible person must then eliminate the risks so far as reasonably practicable.  If the risk cannot be eliminated then it must be minimised as far as reasonably practicable.


The penalties under the new Act have been significantly increased.  Individuals exposing a person to the risk of death or serious injury/illness can be sentenced to a five-year prison term, or a fine of $600,000, and the maximum fine for a company is going to be $3million.

Everyone will need to be aware of their obligations under the Act and take steps to ensure they comply. Make sure your business or organisation is up to the mark and you don’t end up with one of your employees, clients or whānau seriously injured and your cash reserves seriously hurt by any penalties too.

Contracting out of the Act is prohibited and it is not lawful to insure against fines.