1. Leadership


Creating a safety conscious culture requires visible leadership.

For more information and resources, see the Professional Development and Other Content sections below.

Your responsibilities as a board

In addition to the responsibilities set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, the National Administration Guidelines (NAGs), specifically NAG 5 also outlines the board's responsibilities. NAG 5 states you must ensure the school is a physically and emotionally safe place for students, healthy food and nutrition is encouraged for all students, and the school follows laws for the safety of students and employees.

The Education Act 1989, schedule 6, clause 5 also states that the board must ensure every student at the school can reach their highest possible standard in educational achievement. To do this, the board makes sure:

  • its school is a physically and emotionally safe place for all students and staff
  • is inclusive of and caters for students with differing needs. 

While section 77A of the State Sector Act 1988 requires you to comply with the principles of being a good employer. 


"As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others."

- Bill Gates


Why understanding the role of the board in Health and Safety is important

Leadership is a critical element of workplace safety culture. It sets the direction for health and safety oversight and management by creating and demanding expectations and by holding management and workers strictly and continuously accountable for meeting these expectations.


What information does the board need for health and safety

The board’s Health and Safety policy framework is a set of written documents setting out the policies by which your school is to meet the Health and Safety at Work Act obligations. As such, these can be used as a guide to the work of the board, principal, and employees.


How to ensure the board meets their Health and Safety obligations

There are four key elements to ensuring the obligations are met.

  • Developing, reviewing and regularly updating the Health and Safety policies and procedures
  • Including provisions for monitoring and reporting
  • Ensuring there are effective means of communicating and promoting these policies to all employees, parents, and students
  • Ensuring through monitoring and reporting that all reasonable and practicable steps are taken regarding risk Identification, assessment, and management

Other content

A practical guide to health and safety

NZSTA & Ministry of Education

Here's a practical guide that encourages a proactive approach to keeping people safe from harm. It covers the roles and responsibilities of the board, and guidelines on good practice and implementing changes to health and safety. 


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