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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.

Health and Safety 2017

(clink on image to view the e-book

(download as pdf

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.

Individual board members, including the principal, are officers and are responsible for exercising due diligence to ensure the school is meeting its health and safety obligations.

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.

In addition, principals and staff, as workers, must ensure that anything they do or don’t do in the workplace doesn’t adversely affect the health and safety of others in the school.

Parents, visitors and volunteers are also responsible for ensuring that they take reasonable care of their own and others’ health and safety.

Other relevant legislation



Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU)


Primary duty of care

Due diligence

Reasonably practical

Culture change

Worker engagement and participation

Risks and hazards

Notifiable event

Emergency preparedness

Remote or isolated work

First aid at work


Education outside the classroom (EOTC)

Workplace bullying

Offences and penalties

Additional information, resources and professional development







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