3 Steps to Improve Workplace Health & Safety

by | 26 Aug 2020 | Employment

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, every business owner has the duty to provide a safe place of work for their employees and customers.

What many people don’t know is that the law imposes severe penalties for non-compliance, up to a maximum fine of $3 million or up to 5 years of imprisonment.

Further, the penalties are personal to the director, which means a business owner can’t simply liquidate their company to avoid the fine.  In addition, a business owner can’t take out insurance to insure against a potential fine.

Therefore, all business owners must take their health and safety obligations seriously, or face the risk of severe penalties.

In order to meet their health and safety obligations, a business owner must take reasonable steps to provide a safe place of work.  You can take the following steps to ensure your place of work is safe:

  1. Identify foreseeable risks
  2. Implement controls to minimise these risks
  3. Audit the controls on a periodic basis

For example, if you operate a restaurant with a deep fryer, a major risk is water getting into the fryer leading to an explosion.

The controls you could implement might include:

  1. Training employees of the danger of mixing hot oil with water
  2. Keeping the deep fryer at a safe distance from any water source
  3. Putting a prominent warning sign near the fryer
  4. Ensuring there are no shelves on top of the fryer

You want to ensure you have at least 2 to 3 controls for each risk, so that if 1 control was to fail, there are other backup controls.  Lastly, you want to audit your controls regularly, to ensure they are still working as expected.

Kenneth Sun

Kenneth Sun

Partner & CEO

Kenneth is the founding partner of Capstone Law.  Kenneth has a MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and he was also awarded the prestigious Dean’s Academic Achievement Award for graduating from the University of Auckland law school in the top 5% of his class. Kenneth has worked at some of the best law firms in the country before starting Capstone Law.


+64 9 555 0386