Here are the essential things you need to know and understand about the Health & Safety at Work Act.
This article provides an easy to read summary and early childhood friendly perspective on the H&S Act.
It also points to specific implications for centres, home-based and franchised ECE operations of the new H&S Act.
Should you be feeling fearful of getting things wrong or bamboozled by all the different advice for schools and businesses out there, hopefully the information here will help your understanding and put your mind at ease.
- Liability, who may be fined, who is exempt, and can you be fined for having insurance
- PCBUs and responsibilities
- Officers and their roles and responsibilities
- Election of an H&S representative and setting up of a committee
- Requirement to provide training for workers and others, and workplace supervision
- Free training, opportunity for worker certification, and available support for PCBUs
- When WorkSafe is most likely to prosecute
- Definition of a ‘notifiable event’ and reporting requirements
- A note about the NZ Standard for Playground Equipment and Surfacing
- When the premises are used by other people
- Legal information and guidance
- Further resources
This Act means that ECE owners/directors/managers/senior leaders can't escape from being accountable for health and safety. It means that if you are typically not involved or haven't got time then someone else should be in charge. You can't sit back or pass on the buck. You must now take due diligence, find out what is going on, and monitor it.
It is still a requirement to comply with all health and safety aspects in the Education (Early Childhood) Act and Licensing Criteria. The H&S Act does not change this.
The H&S Act covers all people (not just children) who are working or are affected by the work (e.g. parents, workers and visitors).
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