Business Briefs

Website privacy falling short

Your business website is a powerful tool for engaging potential and existing customers, and for collecting useful data. Where information collected is personal information, however, you have obligations under the Privacy Act 1993. The legislation contains
12 Privacy Principles which regulate how you collect, use, disclose and store personal information.

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Recent Workplace Health and Safety Sentencing

Legislation is showing its teeth

The hefty sentencing in the recent Budget Plastics workplace health and safety case confirms the strict attitude now taken by WorkSafe and the courts. With the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 having been in place 18 months or so, this case reinforces the need for all businesses to ensure they comply with their obligations under the new regime.

Worksafe New Zealand v Budget Plastics (New Zealand) Ltd[1] involved a worker who had his hand amputated after it was caught in the auger of a plastic extrusion machine. His employer, Budget Plastics, pleaded guilty for failing to ensure the safety of its employee while at work, so far as was reasonably practicable, which led to serious injury. The maximum penalty was a fine of up to $1.5 million.

Health & Safety Law

Budget Plastics was found to have failed to comply with a number of industry standards and WorkSafe guidelines. It had also not implemented all the recommendations which arose from a health and safety audit six weeks before the accident.

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Over the Fence

New government-endorsed health and safety toolkit now available

SafePlus, a new government-developed and endorsed health and safety toolkit, is now available to all New Zealand businesses, including those in the rural sector.

SafePlus currently consists of three products:

  1. Resources and guidance
  2. Independent onsite assessment and advisory service, and
  3. Online self-assessment tool (available mid-2018).

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Over the Fence

Health and safety legislation sentencings expected

There are a number of developments in health and safety expected later this year. These include the first sentencings under the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 that are due to be released. As well, WorkSafe is expected to launch its Health and Safety Improvement Performance Toolkit. We will continue to monitor this and update you in the next edition of Rural eSpeaking due in summer.

 

Judgements of rural interest

Farmers unsuccessful in their claim against rural contractor

In May this year the High Court released its judgement in the case of A P and A W Hughes Limited v Lyall.[1] In 2014 Allan Lyall was contracted by A P and A W Hughes Limited to harvest a pea and barley crop for silage. When the silage was opened for feeding, which was three months after harvest, it was found to be in poor condition. The farmers attempted to sue the contractor for $300,000 worth of damage to the silage crop seeking compensation for the loss of winter feed.

The High Court found that the contractor used the skills expected of a reasonably competent silage contractor to implement the fall-back option of cut rake and chop that was agreed to by the farmers at the time of harvest. Despite this, soil was still incorporated in the silage by this process resulting in a loss of silage quality. The judge found the silage was poor quality because the crop was over-matured when it was harvested and this was not the contractor’s fault; it was simply the consequence of adopting an option agreed to by the parties to address the circumstances.

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Fire Hazards

Look after your property

Four years ago we published an article about the risk of fire in the rural sector and the consequences of not holding appropriate insurance cover (Rural eSpeaking, Issue 12, Winter–Spring 2013). The number of rural fires throughout the country seems to be increasing each year.

Gisborne fire

Recently Stuff reported on a case in Gisborne[1] where the Gisborne District Council was found by a judge to have acted negligently by “failing to address a fire hazard on its block of land” when a fire began on the land and caused damage to the neighbouring sawmill owned by Double J Smallwoods Limited. The judge ordered the council to pay Double J Smallwoods’ owners more than $875,000 in damages for the loss caused by the fire, which had occurred some seven years before.

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Sweeney Todd & KiwiSaver

Enforceable undertaking accepted by WorkSafe after two students hurt in St Kentigern’s Sweeney Todd production

WorkSafe New Zealand has accepted an enforceable undertaking from the St Kentigern Trust Board following an incident in which two of their students were hurt during its production of Sweeney Todd in April last year.

WorkSafe’s investigation found that the board breached the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) by failing to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of students was not put at risk from work carried out as part of the business or undertaking.

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Changing Landscape in the Workplace

New health and safety legislation comes into force in early April. Organisations should always be aware of their obligations and responsibilities regarding health and safety. This is even more so now as new law, the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, comes into force on Monday, 4 April this year. A summary of the most significant changes is set out below. We follow this with some practical steps to take to give you and your organisation the best chance of complying with the new legislation.

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Health and Safety at Work: A new era begins

Manager training worker for health and safety measure

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 comes into force on Monday, 4 April this year. Since the Pike River tragedy thrust workplace health and safety firmly into the limelight we have published several articles outlining the likely changes to health and safety law.

We thought it would be a useful exercise to summarise the main changes that have been made and how they will affect the rural community.

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New Health & Safety at Work Act 2015


Significant changes for organisations with volunteers

In last year’s Spring edition we included an article on the proposed reform of New Zealand’s health and safety law. The new law will come into force on Monday, 4 April this year. Despite some of the originally proposed changes being watered down in the final stages of drafting the new Act there will still be significant effects for you, your business or your organisation. This article looks specifically at implications for organisations with volunteers.

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The Health and Safety Reform Bill – Be prepared early for significant changes

quad.gifThe Health and Safety Reform Bill heralds the greatest change to health and safety law in over two decades.  With the election over, we await the Select Committee Report (due any day) and the continuing passage of the Bill. If you’re in business, this article gives you a snapshot of some of the significant proposed changes. Continue reading “The Health and Safety Reform Bill – Be prepared early for significant changes”