02 Jun COVID-19 = a duty of care by all
Recently, there was a case in Napier of an Air New Zealand traveller refusing to wear a face mask, as required by government and the airline safety rules. This raises an interesting and challenging question, as to the ability of a business to enforce the wearing of face masks for the protection of the employee and for others in the workplace.
Without wanting to sound like an alarmist, the COVID-19 pandemic and its emerging variants are now becoming concerning for many. There have been several reports of some people proclaiming their human and civil rights to not comply with government and business safeguards – so where does a business stand in this situation and how can it enforce their responsibilities?
Simple, as a PCBU, all business owners have a responsibility to develop practices to protect themselves, their business, visitors, and their employees. The law is on their side in the form of Section 46 of the Health and Safety at Work Act. This also applies to employees and to any visitors to comply with the COVID-19 management safety procedures of the business.
Section 46 Duties of other persons at workplace
A person at a workplace (whether or not the person has another duty under this Part) must—
(a) take reasonable care for his or her own health and safety; and
(b) take reasonable care that his or her acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons; and
(c) comply, as far as he or she is reasonably able, with any reasonable instruction that is given by the PCBU to allow the PCBU to comply with this Act or regulations.
Hope this helps and stay safe!
Please contact us if you would like to discuss.