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The Human Resources Institute of New Zealand

Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) is the professional body for those involved in Human Resource Management and the development of people.

HRINZ represents the interests of 3,000+ individual members who make up around 45% of the known New Zealand HR market. Read More

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The Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill

February 2002

1. We do not wish to appear before the Committee to speak to our Submission. We can, however, be contacted at:

Annemarie de Castro,
National President, HRINZ,
Director of Human Resources,
Massey University,
Private Bag 11-222
Palmerston North 5320
Business : 06 - 350 5799 ext 2630
E-mail : A.deCastro@massey.ac.nz

2. Introduction

This response by the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand [HRINZ] to the Health and Safety in Employment Bill will firstly explain the Institute's role and mission. It will then provide an indication of the Institute's position on the issues raised in the Bill.

HRINZ is the professional organisation for people who are interested or involved in the management and development of human resources. HRINZ represents the interests of individual members who work in private and public sector organisations throughout New Zealand. There are over 1700 members working in such organisations around New Zealand. HRINZ provides its members with education and information services, conferences and seminars, publications, representation at government and official levels, and networking opportunities. HRINZ helps members to develop their professional skills and knowledge as human resources practitioners and key decision-makers in their organisations.

HRINZ may be distinguished from other groups in that it represents professional human resource management in contrast to other groups who may be more focussed on economic interests.

3. HRINZ' mission is:

  • To encourage and support the development of professional knowledge and competence, and high standards of performance amongst our members;

  • To promote understanding of all aspects of human resources management and development, and the contribution they make to organisational and individual performance; and

  • To provide an authoritative and influential viewpoint on all matters affecting HRINZ members and the management and development of human resources.

HRINZ' position on this Bill is that there overall support for the objects of the legislation. A number of contentious issues contained in the principal Act and raised in the Review have now been resolved and this submission seeks to deal with a number of remaining matters.

4. Comments

Clause Comments
3(a) HRINZ supports the widening of coverage to include those in the transport sector
4(9) HRINZ supports the clarification of the term 'place of work'
4(5)(b)

'harm-

  1. Work related stress - will a claim to the Accident Compensation Commission be used for evidential purposes for a prosecution?This matter requires clarification
  2. It would be more logical to place the term 'harm' in an expanded Schedule 1 of the Principal Act rather than in the Interpretation section.
4(5)(a) & (b)

'hazard' (b)

  1. Examples are given in this sub sub section. No examples should be set out in an Interpretation section but placed in a preamble or introduction to the Act. Should examples be given in this sub sub section, then there should be a confirmation that this is a non-exhaustive list.

  2. Clarification may be required as to the nature of the physical or mental fatigue. If the physical or mental fatigue has been caused by the employee's own action, that is, through intoxication or substance abuse, this should be specified and dealt with separately from stress caused though employment-related matters.

  3. It may be more logical to place the term 'hazard' in an expanded Schedule 1 of the Principal Act rather than in the Interpretation section.
6 (5) It is felt that this section may be too wide and would be more suitable for the Act's preamble.
19 HRINZ believes that, in order to avoid too voluminous an Act, sub-sections G, H, J and K could be given equal effect by being placed in a Code of Practice.
19A(1)

In 'Employee participation', there is a concern that employees participating in workplace health and safety will be subject to liability in the event of a workplace accident yet may not have been given sufficient resources to support the terms in the section"…. participate effectively in the ongoing management and improvement of health and safety in the employees' place of work."

Clarification is required as to the level of employees' liability when participating in workplace health and safety

19B

A concern of one respondent in the Institute was the questioning of the mandatory health and safety employee representation in organisations of over 30 employees yet the lack of mandatory health and safety representation in organisations of less than 30 employees.

It is suggested that at a certain stage (for example, one year) after the coming into force of the Act, research should be carried out to ascertain where workplace accidents occur. Such research would determine the incidence of workplace accidents and possibly produce a correlation between the size of the organisation and the incidence of workplace accidents.

19K HRINZ supports the provision requiring occupational health and safety training courses being offered subject to approval by the Minister.
28(A)(3) It is felt that new and young employees may not be able to ascertain between work that carries risk of serious harm and any material increase beyond the inherent or usual risk.

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