Proposed Health and Safety at Work (Plant) Regulations 2010

(new regulatory process for plant safety; new categories of plant included)

Introduction

1. The government last month released draft Health and Safety at Work (Plant) Regulations (Regulations) to certain industry stakeholders for comment. The new draft law appears to have had only limited circulation with a short time for feedback, now (officially) expired.

2. The Regulations will impose duties on persons who

  • design, manufacture, import or supply plant and
  • employ persons who operate plant.

What the Regulations do

3. New due diligence obligations in relation to plant (as defined) will require businesses and employers to ensure that they:

  • identify hazards
  • assess whether there is risk associated with identified hazards
  • eliminate or control those risks
  • provide information
  • satisfy other specific responsibilities.

4. Specific and general duties are imposed on employers:

  • in relation to plant under management or control of an employer
  • in relation to specific plant
  • to undertake hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control measures in relation to a ‘workplace’

5. Specific duties are imposed on employers who manage or control plant including in relation to:

  • plant guards
  • compliant operator’s controls, emergency stops and warning devices
  • installation, erection, commissioning and decommissioning of plant
  • use of plant
  • plant not in use
  • maintenance of plant according to best practice
  • notifying of accidents and diseases
  • training, information and instruction to employees
  • consulting health and safety representatives, workplace committee and the Labour-Management Consultation and Cooperation Committee (LMCCC) in certain circumstances.

6. Some of these duties are the same as exist in the Factories Act (i.e. in relation to cranes and other lifting machines, lifting gear, wire ropes and shackles, boilers, steam receivers and containers, air receivers and gas cylinders and acetylene generators). These sections of the Factories Act are apparently to be repealed. But new duties on employers include duties in relation to:

  • powered mobile plant
  • electrical plant
  • plant exposed to electrical hazards and plant generating electricity
  • industrial lift trucks
  • scaffolds
  • amusement rides and devices and
  • certain pressure equipment, vessels and piping.

7. Plant operators will be required to undertake accredited training and be licensed to operate certain plant (not defined but probably as listed in Schedule 2 of the Regulations).

Notification of plant design

8. The new rules propose that plant design is required only to be notified to and confirmed by the Chief Health and Safety Inspector (not registered as previously). The requirement to register certain classes of plant will remain. The Regulations set out the detail of the notification process and duties imposed on persons about the verification, notification and certification of a plant design.

9. The new list of plant requiring notification of plant design and registration includes some new categories of plant including:

  • industrial lift trucks
  • powered mobile plant
  • earthmoving machinery
  • sawmills and
  • abseiling equipment.

10. Plant apparently no longer requiring registration includes:

  • steam boilers
  • air compressors
  • escalators
  • moving walkways and
  • scuba diving equipment.

Conclusion

11. The consultation process for these important occupational health and safety laws appears not to have been extensive. Employers with an interest in the Regulations should:

  • review them
  • offer submissions to the Ministry of Labour (even if late)
  • begin planning for compliance with the Regulations.

Contact

Richard Naidu
Partner
Direct Dial +679 322 1816
Email Richard

Nicholas Barnes
Partner
Direct Dial +679 322 1843
Email Nicholas

for further information on this Alert.

Disclaimer

The information and opinions in this Legal Alert are for general information purposes only. They are not intended as specific legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice. Munro Leys can accept no responsibility for any loss arising from reliance on the general information contained in this Legal Alert.

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