Health & Safety
Helping you satisfy your Health & Safety obligations
We work with clients from all industry sectors to ensure that they satisfy their Health & Safety obligations.
Health and Safety is relevant to many aspects of a successful business. Whether it be strategic advice at governance level, managing health and safety incidents, or defending prosecutions in the courts, we are regularly involved in every aspect of Health and Safety with our clients.  
Our Health and Safety lawyers are part of our litigation and employment teams and have extensive experience with the Health and Safety in Employment Act and associated regulations. We get to know your business so that we can help you to satisfy your legal obligations.
Our lawyers provide specialist assistance to employers and others in the handling of WorkSafe NZ investigations, right from the time a workplace incident occurs and through the investigation and interview phase. If an investigation does result in a prosecution, our litigators have significant experience in managing and defending prosecutions.  
Our team can also advise you on terms and conditions for health and safety compliance in employment agreements and other contracts, including with contractors and subcontractors, as well as in policies. 

We frequently deal with impairment issues in the workplace, such as drugs and alcohol, stress and bullying, assisting with the associated health and safety and employment issues. 

We also provide clients with expert advice on the health and safety obligations of companies, their boards and senior management, particularly on the effect of proposed changes to health and safety legislation.


Recent Projects

  • Appeal to the High Court against sentences imposed on employers for failing to use helmets on quad bikes.
  • Advising on health & safety clauses for a number of industries and their insertion into employment agreements
  • Advice on various drug and alcohol issues relating to impairment at work and testing
  • Defending clients against Health and Safety criminal prosecutions brought by WorkSafe New Zealand
  • Private prosecution of the New Zealand Defence Force under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, relating to the ANZAC day 2010 Iroquois crash.
  • Regular assistance to employers facing investigation and / or prosecution from WorkSafe New Zealand



Will drug testing be thrown out the window?

The landscape is changing, with medicinal cannabis now legalised and an upcoming referendum testing the appetite for the legalisation of personal use of cannabis. So, what is the impact on drug testing in the workplace, and the systems that employers already have in place?

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COVID-19: Health and Safety requirements for returning to the workplace under Level 3

With the announcement that New Zealand moves to Alert Level 3 on 28 April 2020, many businesses are asking what they need to do to prepare for a return to the workplace. Health and safety planning will be needed to ensure that effective COVID-19 controls are in place and that the health and safety of workers, and other people, is not put at risk.

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Novel Coronavirus – an increasing concern for the workplace

We all expect employers to act in good faith and follow good human resources practices to avoid workplace issues or problems. But sometimes when issues such as a potential outbreak of a deadly virus occurs, what can employers do to protect their workers?

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Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 – A Landlord's Perspective

This article considers what is required of landlords, whether commercial or residential, under the health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

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Health & Safety issues arising from the 14 November earthquake and aftershocks

If you employ people or operate a workplace that others come to, and you have been affected by the recent earthquakes, you are likely to be thinking about your health and safety obligations. In an emergency situation like this, what is required of those who control a place of work mostly comes down to common sense. Your key drivers will be to ensure that people are not exposed to harm.

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Drug and alcohol policies

A recent decision of the Employment Relations Authority has highlighted the importance of procedural fairness when disciplining staff for a failed drug test.

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Small Business Update

There have been many changes to our laws over the last few years that directly affect New Zealand businesses. In this article, we have brought together key information on the most important changes.

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New Health & Safety Legislation - not something to fear

It is true that all organisations are going to be affected by the changes to the Act and that the duties of care imposed cannot be transferred or insured against, but it must be made clear that many organisations who prioritise health and safety will be already doing most of what is required.

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Private Health and Safety Prosecutions

A number of private prosecutions under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSEA) have been signalled in recent months. Having recently been counsel in a HSEA private prosecution, Tim Mackenzie outlines the issues that practitioners considering a HSEA prosecution should consider. Registering an interest Any party interested in a potential prosecution must first formally notify Worksafe New Zealand (Worksafe) of an interest in any enforcement action being taken. Worksafe must then advise the interested party of any decisions taken including a decision not to prosecute. If Worksafe declines to prosecute it is sensible for your client to consider their reasons and give weight to them.

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New Health & Safety Bill Introduced to Parliament

As discussed in our previous articles Impact of Health and Safety Reforms at Governance Level and Government Announces Law Reform Package for Workplace Safety, the Government’s “Working Safer” package aims to significantly reform New Zealand’s Health and Safety law. One of the most fundamental components of this change will be the introduction of entirely new legislation. This will replace the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSE).

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Impact of Health and Safety Reforms at Governance Level

Recently, increased workplace safety attention has been directed toward the governing level of employer organisations. Particular catalysts for this have been the two recent Royal Commissions of Inquiry (Pike River and Canterbury Earthquakes), and a report from the cabinet appointed Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety (the Taskforce).

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Wynn Williams Christchurch
Level 5, Wynn Williams House, 47 Hereford Street, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand.
PO Box 4341, DX WX11179, Christchurch 8140.
+64 3 379 7622
+64 3 379 2467
Wynn Williams Auckland
Level 25, Vero Centre, 48 Shortland Street, Auckland 1010, New Zealand.
PO Box 2401, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140.
+64 9 300 2600
+64 9 300 2609

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