Health and Safety Reform Bill passed by Parliament

Issue: Volume 94, Number 18

Posted: 12 October 2015
Reference #: 1H9cuv

The Health and Safety Reform Bill has been passed and will come into effect on 4 April 2016. The new Act will be called the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The health and safety at work act

The Health and Safety Reform Bill has been passed by Parliament. The new Act is called the Health and Safety at Work Act. It will come into effect on 4 April 2016. The current Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 remains in force until then.

There are a number of things schools/Kura and ECE services and kōhanga reo can do now to prepare:

  • Familiarise yourself with the key requirements of the legislation
  • Review your health and safety policies and practices
  • Identify health and safety risks in your school/Kura and ECE service workplace (a workplace includes any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work) and take all practicable steps to prevent these from causing harm
  • Make health and safety part of your workplace culture
  • For guidance and updates visit our dedicated health and safety web page(external link)
  • Visit the worksafe(external link) website for additional information.

We have a plan in place to support you

We have a dedicated health and safety web page(external link)

The web page explains the 11 key components of a health and safety system. Under each component you will find information and guidance on health and safety.

Although a lot of the guidance is schools-focused, items with an asterisk* may be of use to ECE services and kōhanga reo.

A series of factsheets explaining the health and safety system will be available in mid-October on the web page. We will let you know when they are published through the School Leaders Bulletin and He Pānui Kōhungahunga - the Early Learning Bulletin.
We are developing a Question and Answer log. Please send your questions to

We will publish them with answers on the web page.

How we are supporting schools and kura

We have established a Health and Safety Sector Reference Group who help us understand how best to support you to have a healthy and safe work place. The group provides feedback in the review of Ministry guidance. Some updated material will be on the web page by December, with additional updates in the New Year. We welcome examples of resources or exemplars that may be useful to other schools. Please send these to for review and possible inclusion in on our web page.

We are working closely with the New Zealand Schools Trustees Association (NZSTA) in their role to support boards. NZSTA will be hosting 60 forums in term four and a further 30 in term one of 2016.

Visit the NZ School trustees association website(external link) (NZSTA) for details of a forum near you.

Ministry officials have presented at 34 workshops across the country for schools/Kura and sector groups, with over 1000 sector representatives participating. Please contact your local Ministry office or principals’ association if you would like to arrange one for your area.

We have published an easy-to-use presentation, with speaking notes, that principals can use with their boards, staff and communities to explain the new Health and Safety at Work Act. You can download it from the Ministry of education website(external link)

In term four we will be writing to all schools and Kura with key information about the changes.

How we are supporting ECE services and kōhanga reo

We are working with ECE sector representatives through the Early Childhood Advisory Committee to consider the new health and safety legislation and its impacts on the sector.

We are developing a presentation with speaking notes for ECE services to use with their centres, staff and communities.

The Ministry is reviewing ECE licensing and certification criteria and guidance to ensure alignment with the requirements of Health and Safety at Work Act. We will consult with sector representatives about any changes required.

Look out for updates and information in He Pānui Kōhungahunga - the Early Learning Bulletin.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:58 am, 12 October 2015

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