New Health and Safety Representatives and Committees requirements proposed
The Health and Safety at Work Amendment Bill proposes to improve all workers access to Health and Safety Representatives and Committees.
Health and safety needs to be integrated into organisational purpose, not seen as a compliance activity, according to a report by the Better Governance Project.
The report, Findings and Recommended Actions to Improve Health and Safety Governance in Aotearoa New Zealand, calls for the development of a shared vision of health and safety that prioritises outcomes rather than focusses on adherence to regulation.
It is part of a series of reports on health and safety governance being produced by the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum (BLHSF) and the General Manager Safety Forum (GM Safety Forum). It has support from the Institute of Directors (IoD) and from WorkSafe, along with a wide range of stakeholders.
It makes a number of recommendations including ensuring there is clarity around the obligations of director and officers under the Health and Safety at Work Act, understanding what good practice looks like in different sectors and enhancing health and safety capability at board level.
IoD Chief Executive Kirsten Patterson has welcomed the report and says it highlights the need for directors in different sectors and types of organisations to have tailored support with health and safety-related governance guidance, networks and regulatory approaches.
“The new dimension that the findings of this report highlights is the need to recognise the different sorts of boards, officers, trustees and other governors of different types of organisations need to lead and govern health and safety in a variety of ways,” Patterson says.
“Generic approaches only take us so far. Tailoring support, guidance, capability and opportunities for governors to connect to these different ‘personas’ is vital. The IoD is committed to working with others on this.”
She notes that the report reinforces the importance of good governance practice for strong health and safety outcomes. However, directors and boards are only one part of this system. The findings in the report will also help those advising boards on health and safety to better target their advice, consistent with boards’ and directors’ roles and responsibilities.
“A focus on health and safety is a key part of ‘shared value’ that IoD has identified as a Top 5 issue for directors to pay attention to in 2023.”
The report highlights the ongoing need for directors and boards to have the capability, curiosity and courage to successfully deliver good health and safety outcomes in their organisations. Patterson says the IoD is committed to working with partners in the Business Leaders Health and Safety Forum, General Managers Safety Forum, WorkSafe and others to progress the findings.