There are significant changes happening to workplace health and safety in New Zealand. The Health and Safety Reform Bill currently winging its way through the parliamentary process is due to pass later this year and represents a major change to New Zealand’s health and safety system. It will introduce the concept of a “Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking” (a PCBU) and will firmly place the responsibility for proactive and positive management of workplace health and safety on the PCBU.
If you are a property owner or property manager then you will be a PCBU under the new legislation. Failure to implement fit for purpose and robust health and safety systems could result in substantial fines and/or imprisonment.
The Health and Safety Reform Bill will create the new Health and Safety at Work Act which will replace the existing Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. Part of these changes will also include the introduction of the new Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2015. A Consultation Draft of this document has been sighted which reveals that these Regulations will impose a number of requirements on PCBU’s with regards to the management of asbestos risk, including for the first time in New Zealand the requirement for an “Asbestos Register and Management Plan” to be created for all buildings constructed before 31 December 1999.
If you own or manage a workplace (e.g. a commercial or industrial building) constructed before 31 December 1999 then under the new legislation you will require an Asbestos Register and Management Plan for that workplace.
An Asbestos Register and Management Plan is a document which lists all known occurrences of asbestos containing materials and potential asbestos containing materials within the workplace, its location, its condition, a description of the material, how it has been controlled, and how it may be disturbed. The document includes procedures for safely managing identified actual or potential asbestos containing material, through either controlled onsite maintenance or removal from the site. The asbestos management plan also incorporates an emergency procedure to be followed in the event that material is disturbed. The purpose of the management plan is to ensure that all possible and practical steps are taken to prevent or minimize the risk of exposure to asbestos for building occupants and site maintenance workers.
KPMG SGA has many years of experience in the preparation of Asbestos Registers and Management Plans. Should you like to discuss this further or wish to engage us to prepare an Asbestos Register and Management Plan please contact Scott Marshall.
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