If your in business you've probably been keeping an eye on the Health and Safety changes that have just come in to force. Lets talk a bit about why they've made the change and what it means for you and your insurances.
200,000 New Zealanders have a workplace injury
6,000 of these are "serious harm" accidents
75 people lose their lives doing there jobs
This costs New Zealand an estimated $3.5 billion annually
How will the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 help?
The new Act was designed to encourage a more pro-active Health and safety culture. WorkSafe New Zealand and the ACC are coordinating with industry groups and other organisations to better educate both employers and employees on how to recognise risks and prevent them before accidents happens.
The new laws will more severely penalise those found to have breached the Act with the onus placed on managers and company directors to proactively manage workplace Health and Safety. Accidents will always happen and it’s not possible to prepare for every eventuality. What’s salient is that the right procedures have been put in place to reduce the likelihood and number of accidents that occur.
What does it mean for your insurance?
Part of the reponse of many businesses is to look to insure the risk the act is designed to promote good risk management and not simply transfering the entire risk. The good news is Directors & Officers, Management Liability and Statutory Liability insurance policies will all respond to claims brought for breaches of the Act and there should be no requirement to make any amendments to the existing policies. While the actual fines remain uninsurable as they have been for some years the insurance covers for any defence costs of a prosecution under the Act and also for any reparations that are awarded.
It's a good time to check that you have the correct covers in place and have a discussion with your broker about what you can insure under the new act.
A Quick Summary
- The aim of the Act is to encourage a pro-active and participative health and safety culture in our workforce.
- It increases the penalties for non-compliance and creates a new three tiered hierarchy of offences
- It replaces the duties owed by employers and principals with a broader duty owed by “persons conducting a business or undertaking” (PCBU)
- It imposes a new due diligence obligation on directors and officers It imposes a new duty to take “reasonably practicable steps”
- Changes do not directly alter how current insurance policies will respond to claims, however existing policies should be reviewed and increased if needed.
For a more detailed opinion on the changes we'd recommend checking out the Duncan Cotterill article below: