Health and Safety Definitions - Hasmate
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Health and Safety Definitions

Health and Safety Definitions

• Accident

An event that:

  1. Causes any person to be harmed; or
  2. In different circumstances, might have caused any person to be harmed.
• Accident and incident reporting

This is set out as follows:

  1. Near miss or hit – to be recorded, investigated and monitored by the PCBU;
  2. Minor injuries – to be recorded, investigated and monitored by the PCBU;
  3. Notifiable events – where a notifiable event/serious harm event occurs, the PCBU is to notify Worksafe NZ as soon as they become aware of the incident (0800 030 040).
• Authorisation of use of plant or substance

A person must not use plant or a substance at a workplace if:

  • A regulations requires the plant or substance or its design to be authorised; and
  • The plant or substance or its design is not authorised in accordance with the regulations.

A PCBU must not direct or allow a worker to use the plant or substance at a workplace if:

  • The regulations require the plant or substance or its design to be authorised;
  • The plant or substance or its design is not authorised in accordance with the regulations.
• Authorisation of work
  1. A PCBU must not carry out work at a workplace if:
    • The regulations require the work, or class of work, to be carried out by, or on behalf of, a person who is authorised; and
    • The person, or the person on whose behalf the work is carried out, is not authorised in accordance with the regulations
  2. A PCBU must not direct or allow a worker to carry out work at a workplace if:
    • The regulations require the work, or class of work, to be carried out by a prescribed person , or on behalf of, a person who is authorised; and
    • The person, or the person on whose behalf the work is to be carried out, is not authorised in accordance with the regulations.
• Consultation with workers
  • A PCBU must, so far as is reasonably practicable, consult workers:
    • Who carry out work for the business or undertaking; and
    • Who are, or are likely to be, directly affected by a matter relating to work health or safety.
  • If the PCBU and the workers have agreed to procedures for consultation, the consultation must be in accordance with those procedures.
• Contractor

A person engaged by any person (other than as an employee) to do any work for gain or reward.

• Design

In relation to plant, a substance or a structure includes:

  • Design of part of the plant, substance or structure; and
  • Redesign or modify a design.
  • Safety features must be designed into the plant, substance or structure.
• Duty of care

A PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of:

  • Workers engaged, or caused to be engaged, by the PCBU while the workers are at work in the business or undertaking; and
  • Workers whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the PCBU, while the workers are carrying out the work.

A PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of other persons is not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking.

• Employee

A person of any age employed by an employer to do work for hire or reward under a contract of service.

• Employer

A person or organisation that employs people.

• Harm

Illness, injury or both, and includes:

  • Physical or mental harm caused by work; and/or
  • Related stress.

Source: The 1993 HSE Act but still relevant in effective H&S management.

• Hazard
  1. A situation or thing that has the potential to cause death, injury or illness to a person; and
  2. Includes a person’s behaviour where that behaviour has the potential to cause death, injury or illness (whether or not that behaviour results from physical or mental fatigue, drugs, alcohol or traumatic shock, or another temporary condition that affects a person’s behaviour.)

Source: The 1993 HSE Act but still relevant in effective H&S management.

• Hazardous substance
• Health

Physical and mental health.

• Health and Safety Committee

A committee established to support the continuous improvement of health and safety in a place of work.

• Health and Safety Representative

An employee elected, as an individual or as a member of a health and safety committee or both, to represent the views of employees in relation to health and safety at work.

• Hierarchy of controls

You must choose one of the two following methods;

  • Elimination – this is the first priority and a risk/hazard control plan must be documented, implemented and reviewed on an annual basis for effectiveness.
    Note: The following options of minimisation are only to be implemented when all the means to eliminate the risk or hazard have been exhausted.
  • The control methods fall into the following two options, Elimination or Minimisation.
    1. To Eliminate the risks/hazards to health and safety or,
    2. To minimise those risks so far as is reasonably practicable through a process of the following hierarchical control methods,
      • Substitution for or to another product or method;
      • Engineering controls – guarding or other equipment;
      • Administration controls – signage, procedures, training and administration, change of work patterns;
      • Using Personnel protective equipment (PPE) – last method of control.
• Incident Sites

Duty to preserve sites

  1. A PCBU who manages or controls a workplace at which a notifiable event has occurred must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the site where the event occurred is not disturbed until authorised by an inspector.
  2. Subsection (1) does not prevent any action:
    • to assist an injured person; or
    • to remove a deceased person; or
    • that is essential to make the site safe or to minimise the risk of a further notifiable event; or
    • that is done by, or under the direction of, a constable acting in execution of his or her duties; or
    • for which an inspector or the regulator has given permission.
• Loss Control

The necessary controls that are put in place by the Company to control and manage any loss to the company’s service, personnel, buildings, vehicles and any other associated activity.

Although these controls go beyond the necessary requirements for Health and Safety management, they are complementary and should be managed in tandem.

• Maintenance of premises

The PCBU must, so far as is reasonably practicable, maintain any premises so that a worker occupying the premises is not exposed to risks to health and safety if:

  • A worker occupies accommodation that is owned by or under the management or control of the PCBU; or
  • The occupancy is necessary for the purposes of the worker’s engagement because other accommodation is not reasonably available.
• Management and controls fixtures, fittings, or plant at workplaces

PCBU responsibility

A person with management or control of fixtures, fittings, or plant at a workplace must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure that the fixtures, fittings, and plant are without risks to the health and safety of any person.

A person with management or control of fixtures, fittings, or plant at a workplace – means a PCBU to the extent that the business or undertaking involves the management or control of fixtures, fittings, or plant (in whole or in part) at a workplace; but does not include:

  • The occupier of a residence, unless the residence is occupied for the purposes of, or as part of, the conduct of a business or undertaking; or
  • A prescribed person.
• Maintenance of plant, equipment and substances

PCBU responsibility

Without limiting of the above, a PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable,:

  • The provision and maintenance of a work environment without risks to health and safety;
  • The provision and maintenance of safe plant and structures;
  • The provision and maintenance of safe systems of work;
  • The safe use, handling, and storage of plant, structures, and substances;
  • The provision of adequate facilities for the welfare at work of workers in carrying out work for the business or undertaking, including ensuring access to those facilities;
  • The provision of any information, training, instruction, or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking;
  • That the health of workers and the conditions at the workplace are monitored for the purpose of preventing illness or injury of workers arising from the conduct of the business or undertaking.
• Managing or controlling a workplace

PCBU responsibility

A person with management or control of a workplace who must ensure,

  • So far as is reasonably practicable, that the workplace has the means of entering and exiting the workplace without risks to the health and safety of any person;
  • And anything arising from the workplace are without risks to the health and safety of any person.
• Near Miss/Hit Incident/Accident

A near miss/hit is an incident that did not cause harm to the employee, contractor or visitor at the time of the event, but has the potential to happen again and cause injury or serious harm.

• Notifiable event

A notifiable event means:

  • The death of a person; or
  • A notifiable injury or illness of a person; or
  • A notifiable incident; or
  • Serious infections.
• Notification of a notifiable event

A PCBU must, immediately after becoming aware that a notifiable event arising out of the conduct of the business or undertaking has occurred, ensure that the regulator is notified of the event.

A notification may be given by telephone or in writing (including by fax, email, or other electronic means), and must be given by the fastest possible means in the circumstances.

• Notifiable illness

Any serious infection (including occupational zoonosis) to which the carrying out of work is a significant contributing factor, including any infection that is attributable to carrying out work with:

  • With micro-organisms; or
  • That involves providing treatment or care to a person; or
  • That involves contact with human blood or bodily substances; or that involves handling or contact with animals, animal hides, skins, wool or hair, animal carcasses or animal waste products.
• Notifiable incident

An incident in relation to a workplace that exposes a worker or any other person to a serious risk to that person’s health or safety arising from an immediate or imminent exposure to:

  • An uncontrolled escape, spillage, or leakage of a substance;
  • An uncontrolled implosion, explosion, or fire;
  • An uncontrolled escape of gas or steam;
  • An uncontrolled escape of a pressurised substance;
  • Electric shock;
  • The fall or release from a height of any plant, substance, or thing;
  • The collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that is required to be authorised for use in accordance with the regulations;
  • The collapse or partial collapse of a structure;
  • The collapse or failure of an excavation or any shoring supporting an excavation;
  • The inrush of water, mud, or gas in workings in an underground excavation or tunnel;
  • The interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel; and
  • Includes any other incident prescribed by the regulations. This does not include an incident of a prescribed kind.
• Notifiable injury and illness

A notifiable injury and illness means:

  • An injury or illness requiring the person to have immediate treatment for any of the following:The amputation of any part of his or her body; or
    • A serious head injury; or
    • A serious eye injury; or
    • A serious burn; or
    • The separation of his or her skin from an underlying tissue (such as degloving or scalping); or
    • A spinal injury; or
    • The loss of a bodily function; or
    • Serious lacerations; or
    • An injury or illness requiring the person to have medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance.
  • includes any other injury or illness prescribed by the regulations
  • Despite subsections (1) and (2), notifiable illness or injury does not include an illness or injury of a prescribed kind.
• Officers (Duties of)
  • A PCBU or a person (Officer) who can influence change in the business has a duty or an obligation under this Act,
  • An officer of the PCBU must exercise due diligence to ensure that the PCBU complies with that duty or obligation.
  • Due diligence includes taking reasonable steps:
    • To acquire and keep up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters;
    • To gain an understanding of the nature of the operations of the business or undertaking of the PCBU and generally of the hazards and risks associated with those operations
    • To ensure that the PCBU has available for use, and uses, appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking.
    • To ensure that the PCBU has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information regarding incidents, hazards, and risks and responding in a timely way to that information.
    • To ensure that the PCBU has, and implements, processes for complying with any duty or obligation of the PCBU under this Act.
• Other persons at workplace (authorised visitors)

A person at a workplace (whether or not the person has another duty under this) must:

  • Take reasonable care for the person’s own health and safety;
  • Take reasonable care that the person’s acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons;
  • Comply, as far as the person is reasonably able, with any reasonable instruction that is given by the PCBU.
• PCBU

A person conducting a business or undertaking:

  • A business entity or person/s who can influence change in a business.
  • A sole trader
  • Business owners and partners
  • Land owners/farmers
  • Directors of the business
  • Officers of the business.
  • Trustees
  • In effect, any person that has the ability to influence change within the business.

Whether the person conducts a business or undertaking alone or with others; and whether or not the business or undertaking is conducted for profit or gain; but does not include:

  • A person who conducts a business or undertaking to the extent that the person is engaged solely as a worker in, or as an officer of, the business or undertaking.
  • A volunteer association.
  • An occupier of a home to the extent that the occupier engages or employs another person solely to do residential work in relation to the home.
  • A person or class of persons, who is declared not to be a person who conducts a business or undertaking for the purposes of the Health and Safety at Work Act or any provision of the Act by the regulations.
• PCBU Officer
  1. Means, if the PCBU is:
    • A company, any person occupying the position of a director of the company by whatever name called:
    • A partnership (other than a limited partnership),any partner:
    • A limited partnership, any general partner:
    • A body corporate or unincorporated body, other than a company, partnership, or limited partnership, any person occupying a position in the body that is comparable with that of a director of a company:
  2. includes any other person, who makes, or participates in making, decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the business of the PCBU (for example, the chief executive or a chief financial officer).
• Place of Work (Includes vehicles)

Means a place (whether or not within or forming part of a building structure or vehicle) where any person is to work, is working, for the time being, or customarily works, for gain or reward, and, in relation to any employee, includes a place, or part of a place, under the control of the employer (not being domestic accommodation provided for the employee).

  1. Where the employee comes or may come to eat, rest, or get first aid or pay; or
  2. Where the employee comes or may come as part of the employee’s duties to report in or out, get instructions, or deliver goods or vehicles; or
  3. Through which the employee may or must pass to reach the place of work.

(To avoid doubt, a person is in a place of work whenever and wherever the person performs work, including in a place that:

  1. The person moves through; or
  2. It moves.
• Plant

This includes any:

  • Machinery;
  • Vehicle;
  • Equipment;
  • Appliance;
  • Container;
  • Implement;
  • Tool;
  • And component of any of those things or anything fitted or connected to any of those things. (e.g. guarding)
• Prescribed person

Where a regulation defines that a prescribed person is to be used to undertake a function or activity, the prescribed person is to be used, e.g. certified or registered engineer, gas fitter, plumber, certified welder, electrician, surveyor, accountant, etc.

The employee is prohibited from instructing an employee to undertake any duties where it is regulated that a prescribed person is to undertake the function.

• Preservation of incident sites
  1. A person with management or control of a workplace at which a notifiable event has occurred must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure that the site where the incident occurred is not disturbed until:
    • An inspector arrives at the site; or
    • Any earlier time that an inspector directs.

Subsection (1) does not prevent any action:

  • To assist an injured person; or
  • To remove a deceased person; or
  • That is essential to make the site safe or to minimise the risk of a further notifiable incident; or
  • Done by, or under the direction of, a constable; or
  • For which an inspector or the regulator has given permission.
• Reasonably practicable

In HSW 2015 Act, unless the context otherwise requires, reasonably practicable, in relation to a duty of a PCBU, means that which is, or was, at a particular time, reasonably able to be done in relation to ensuring health and safety, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters, including:

  1. the likelihood of the hazard or the risk concerned occurring; and
  2. the degree of harm that might result from the hazard or risk; and
  3. what the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about:
    1. the hazard or risk; and
    2. ways of eliminating or minimising the risk; and
  4. the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk; and
  5. after assessing the extent of the risk and the available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, the cost associated with available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, including whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk.
• Representative

Representative, in relation to a worker, means:

  • The health and safety representative for the worker; or
  • A union representing the worker; or
  • Any other person the worker authorises to represent the worker.
• Residential work

Means work done by a person employed or engaged by the occupier of a home of either or both of the following kinds:

  • Domestic work done or to be done in the home; or
  • Work done or to be done in respect of the home
• Risk Management

An employer is legally required to assess the risks and hazards in the workplace so that a plan can be put in place to control the risks/hazards.

A risk assessment is a systematic examination of all activities of the business so that an employer can weigh up whether they have taken enough precautions or should do more to reduce the health and safety, commercial or business risk to prevent harm or business loss.

Risk assessment is a structured process where by a person or persons identify:

  1. What in the workplace could cause harm to people or the business and
  2. To record, assess to establish a level or degree of risk.
  3. To implement reasonable practicable controls to manage the risk.

The risk assessment is usually expressed by the following valued formula of
Likelihood of the risk x Exposure to the risk x Consequence of the risk if it were to occur = the degree of risk.

The control methods fall into the following two options:

  1. To Eliminate the risks to health and safety or,
  2. To minimise those risks so far as is reasonably practicable through a process of the following hierarchical control methods,
    • Substitution to another product or method
    • Engineering controls
    • Administration controls
    • Using Personnel protective equipment
• Significant risk/hazard

Means a hazard that is an actual or potential cause or source of:

  1. Serious harm, or
  2. Harm (being harm that is more than trivial) the severity of whose effects on any person depend entirely or among other things, on the extent or frequency of the person’s exposure to the hazard, or
  3. Harm that does not usually occur, or usually is not easily detectable, until a significant time after exposure to the hazard, e.g. exposure to noise, long term hearing loss, asbestosis, agrichemical poisoning.

Note – this definition is taken from the 1992 HSE Act but is relevant when evaluating risks and the consequential effect of the risk or hazard.

• Site

Includes any plant, substance, structure, or thing associated with the notifiable event; but does not include any particular site in prescribed circumstances

• Structure

Means anything that is constructed, whether fixed or moveable, temporary, or permanent; and includes:

  • Buildings,
  • Masts,
  • Towers,
  • Framework,
  • Pipelines,
  • Transport infrastructure, and
  • Underground works(including shafts or tunnels
  • any component of a structure or part of a structure.
• Subcontractor

Means a person engaged (other than an employee) by any contractor, or subcontractor to do for gain or reward any work, that the contractor or subcontractor has been engaged to do.

• Substance
  • Means any natural or artificial substance in any form (for example, a solid, liquid, gas, or vapour.)
  • Includes a hazardous substance
• Suppliers

Means, unless the context otherwise requires, supply, in relation to a thing,

  • Includes the supply (or resupply) of the thing
    • By way of sale, exchange, lease, hire, or hire purchase; and
    • Whether as a principal or an agent.
  • But does not include
    • The return of possession of a thing to the owner of the thing at the end of a lease or other agreement or a prescribed supply.
• Volunteer

Volunteer means a person who is acting on a voluntary basis (irrespective of whether the person receives out-of-pocket expenses)

• Worker

A worker means:

  • A person who carries out work in any capacity for a PCBU, including work as an employee
  • A contractor or subcontractor or an a employee of a contractor or subcontractor
  • Employees of a labour hire company, who has been assigned to work in the person’s business or undertaking.
  • A homeworker.
  • An apprentice or trainee; a person gaining work experience (for example, undertaking a work trial.
  • A volunteer.
  • A person of a prescribed class.
  • A PCBU is also worker if the person is an individual who carries out work in that business or undertaking.
• Workers duties and responsibilities

While at work, a worker must:

  • Take reasonable care for his or her own health and safety.
  • Take reasonable care that his or her acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others.
  • Comply, as far as the worker is reasonably able, with any reasonable instruction that is given by the PCBU to allow the person to comply with the Health and Safety At Work Act.
  • Co-operate with any reasonable policy or procedure of the PCBU relating to health or safety at the workplace that has been notified to workers.
• Workgroup

The purpose of determining a work group is to decide:

  • The number and composition of work groups to be represented by health and safety representatives;
  • The number of health and safety representatives and deputy health and safety representatives (if any) to be elected; and
  • The workplace or workplaces to which the work groups will apply.
  • If a work group is determined for workers carrying out work for 2 or more PCBUs, the purpose of determining work groups also includes deciding the businesses or undertakings to which the work groups will apply.
• Workplace

A place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking includes,

  • Any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be while at work.
  • A vehicle, vessel, aircraft or other structure
  • Any waters and any installation on land or on the bed of any waters or floating on any water
• WorkSafe

Means WorkSafe New Zealand, the health and safety regulator empowered to manage and administer health and safety in New Zealand.

Disclaimer – these are general statements only – they may not be word for word from the Health and Safety at Work Act (or other Acts), but designed to give you a simplified understanding.

For any questions about any of these definitions, please contact us today.