Doing the groundwork on Health and Safety

Since the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 came into place, specialised advisors and consultants have been popping up all over New Zealand. But how do you know who’s genuine? Rebecca Jenkins from Livewire HR has some insights. It’s all about doing your groundwork.

What should businesses look for when seeking help? The old saying ‘you don’t know what you don’t know is very true. Start with asking questions and learning about health and safety. Then find someone you trust who can advise you clearly about what you actually need. Check to ensure they have qualifications in H&S, NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) or at least Level 6 in Health and Safety. Interview them just like you would an employee.

Are there any misconceptions about what consultants do? Yes, that it costs an arm and a leg. Definitely, the higher the risk you have in your business, the more you need, and the more regularly you need to be covering it (hence higher costs). But covering the basics and doing those well in most businesses is completely achievable without it costing the earth. Talk to your consultant about what would work for your business and how to incorporate that in your normal activities.

Can people call and have a chat for free? Many offer an initial free consultation to answer questions. Experts in HR and H&S can advise on both and how they interact with each other. For example: Does your job description include expectations around H&S? Many don’t.

How can people get their ducks in a row to save money and time on health and safety? The more planning you do, the better. Have copies of your job description, employment agreements, and any health and safety processes you already have in place. Secondly, get some training. A one-day course to gain an understanding of what the law requires is about $250, which is a small price for valuable information.

And finally…

• Get valuable health and safety information from WorkSafe
• Find a health and safety professional at
• Check out Active+ for workstation assessments, occupational health advice, and more.

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