If you (like me) are a small, office-based business owner you have a whole lot less to worry about, when meeting the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
We're still included as PCBUs (persons conducting a business or undertaking) but if you're not a high risk sector or industry:
You still have a primary duty to manage risks. This is set out in section 30 of the Act. This means eliminating risks to health and safety as far as is reasonably practicable and minimising any other risks.
If you are a sole trader working in a home office, the chances are your health and safety risks are similar to mine. As a sole trader working in a home office the potential risks are:
1. Suffering from OOS as a result of keyboard typing.
2. Ill health impacting on ability to earn income.
3. Loss of power or internet access for half a day or more, impacting on ability to work from home.
4. Loss of computer files due to computer malfunction.
5. Loss of access to home office due to flood or fire.
6. Loss or breach of client confidentiality.
It will be particularly valuable to have a health and safety plan in place if you carry out services for other businesses, including councils and central government. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 legislation, all businesses in New Zealand must ensure they are working with safe operators. If you don't have a plan or policy in place, you may risk not being selected as a contractor.
Section 36 of the Act sets out in more detail what a business owner needs to do, including providing 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 your business activity.
If you employ people, you also have two related duties to engage with workers and enable them to participate in improving health and safety. You must:
The Worksafe website is an excellent source of information about the implications of the Health and Safety Act for different industries. The website also includes general information for businesses here.
You may also be interested in checking out the ACC website. ACC offers a 10% Workplace Safety Discount (WSD) for small businesses (fewer than 10 employees) who put health and safety systems in their workplaces. You can find out more here.