2. Worker participation

Whai wāhitanga kaimahi

Worker participation is a key part of an effective health and safety system because the people who do the work are best placed to understand and manage the risks and contribute to system improvements.

A successful health and safety system provides workers with the opportunity to participate in health and safety.

For more information and resources, see the Other Content section below.

Your responsibilities as a board

The responsibilities of the board are to ensure that appropriate policies and systems are in place to support the ongoing maintenance, monitoring and reviewing of effective health and safety practices to meet the legislative obligations. This will also ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of staff and students which contributes to overall staff satisfaction, morale and productivity as well as supports the learning and achievement of all students.


The board of trustees as parents of students has a vested and real interest in ensuring the health, safety, and wellbeing of our Tamariki. By supporting workers in the school to be engaged and invested in health and safety, the board maximises the ability of all to achieve this aim.


Why Worker participation is an integral part of an effective health and safety system

A workplace must ensure that workers have a say on any health and safety matters that could affect them or their workmates, and consider their suggestions on how to improve health and safety at work.

A PCBU must:

  • ask for input on matters which relate to worker health and safety
  • have ways for workers to participate in improving work health and safety on a day to day basis.

The ways for workers to contribute should be clear and well-known to everyone.

 Workers have responsibilities for Health and Safety too and when they are engaged, participating and have easy access to relevant workplace health and safety information, systems and processes, they can assist to minimise and manage workplace risks.

Failure to provide reasonable and practicable opportunities for worker participation and to ensure worker engagement is an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015


What can your board do to encourage and ensure effective work participation and engagement?

Have worker engagement and participation embedded into board policies and processes which include providing easy access to health and safety information. Putting health and safety as a regular topic at board meetings with regular reporting and genuinely promoting the value of worker participation.


How can your board meet your obligations around worker engagement and participation

There are resources available from NZSTA, the Ministry of Education and Worksafe NZ.  These include: 

  • Factsheets – effective worker engagement and participation practices, Roles of H&S committees and representatives, H&S representative election process, training for H&S representatives
  • Checklists – consultation checklist, H&S training plan and record
  • Templates – agendas, managing risks, reporting, meeting minutes
  • Guidelines – Worker engagement
  • Providing Health and Safety training to committee members

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