The object of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is to promote the prevention of harm to all people at work, and others in, or in the vicinity of, places of work.

The Act applies to all New Zealand workplaces and places duties on employers, the self-employed, employees, principals and others who are in a position to manage or control hazards.

The emphasis of the law is on the systematic management of health and safety at work. It requires employers and others to maintain safe working environments, and implement sound practice. It recognises that successful health and safety management is best achieved through good faith co-operation in the place of work and, in particular, through the input of those doing the work.



The general duties of employers is to:

  • Be responsible for providing a safe working environment
  • Ensure employees are properly trained and / or supervised so they can work safely
    work with the employer to:
    • Identify hazards in the workplace, and
    • Ensure that those hazards are eliminated, isolated or minimised.
  • Eliminate hazards where possible, depending on how much harm it could
    cause and how difficult and expensive it would be. Where a hazard cannot be
    eliminated employees have the right to know about the hazard and what they need to
    do (or not do) to work safely.
  • Provide employees with specified information about any monitoring (e.g. noise, dust) that has taken place, emergencies that may arise and hazards to which employees may be exposed.
  • Ensure all types of potential emergency has been identified, the relevant emergency procedures are in place and employees are trained and know what to do.
  • Take all practicable steps to ensure employees do not harm anyone else,
  • As a Principal to a contract, ensure that contractors, sub-contractors and their employees are not harmed, or do not harm your employees.


As an employee, you have responsibilities for keeping yourself and others safe.

You can make your workplace safer by:

  • Being involved in processes to improve health and safety
  • Sticking to correct procedures and using the right equipment
  • Wearing protective clothing and equipment
  • Helping new employees, trainees and visitors to the workplace understand the right safety practices and why the practices exist; and
  • communicating any safety concerns to your employer.


  • As an employer, the Contractor has the same responsibilities as Employers above.
  • As a person (or entity) that is often in control of a place of work the Contractor is responsible for preventing injury to persons in the vicinity of that workplace.  This could range from a builder on a building site to a contractor mowing grass with a tractor and mower in a public park.

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