Health and Safety at Work Act 2015
The New Zealand School Trustees Association and the Ministry of Education have developed a comprehensive guideline which provides an overview of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA).
Health and Safety at Work Act 2015: A practical guide for boards of trustees and school leaders (download as pdf) outlines the responsibilities of boards of trustees (boards) and school leaders. It provides information and tools to support schools/kura to understand the requirements of HSWA and its regulations, and implement good health and safety practices.
The policies/procedures and tools contained in the guide are available on the Ministry of Education website to download.
We recommend all schools read this guide.
(clink on image to view the e-book)
Providing a healthy and safe work environment in schools/kura is everyone’s responsibility. This includes the board of trustees, the principal, staff and parents.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) replaces the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 on 4 April 2016. The regulations sit alongside the Act and provide information on what’s required to ensure that all those with responsibility to do so comply with the legislation.
There are specific responsibilities for specific roles. The board of trustees, as the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), has the primary duty of care to ensure that individuals (eg staff) are kept safe as far as is reasonably practical.
The board also needs to consider any other persons who may be affected by health and safety risks. “Other persons” include parents, visitors, casual volunteers and the general public. They do not include anyone who is on the premises unlawfully.
The board needs to ensure that it has a health and safety policy in place and seek assurance from the principal that the school has appropriate procedures and resources in place to meet the policy expectations. Policy reviews will support the board, ensuring that expectations are being met.
Parents, visitors and volunteers are also responsible for ensuring that they take reasonable care of their own and others’ health and safety.