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health and safety at work strategy 2018 2028 v2
29.01.19    |  

Health and Safety at Work Strategy 2018-2028

Welcome to 2019, health and safety style!
As we move seamlessly into 2019, what better way to start the year than by taking a look at the Government’s newly released 10 year Health and Safety Strategy.

Health and Safety at Work Strategy 2018-2028
The Health and Safety at Work Strategy sets out the Government’s vision on improving health and safety at work across New Zealand over the next 10 years.

The Strategy

  • sets a clear direction for New Zealand, providing a shared vision for where we want to get to, and what we need to do to get there
  • identifies the common capability gaps and opportunities, through a set of goals and priorities that help us focus our efforts
  • supports better coordination, by providing visibility of the different roles we have and a framework to talk to each other about how we’re working towards better health and safety
  • improves measurement, through the work to build a better picture of New Zealand’s overall health and safety.

What does the Strategy mean for you?

Government are creating a range of factsheets to help you understand the priorities of the Strategy, and where to go for additional guidance and help. The first of these factsheets are available below and more will be developed over time:

Small businesses [PDF, 63 KB]

Māori workers [PDF, 51 KB]

Work-related health [PDF, 64 KB]

Worker engagement, participation and representation [PDF, 66 KB]

What people had to say about the Strategy?

Submissions on the draft Strategy during public consultation showed strong overall support for its direction and vision, and an agreement with the Strategy being system-led and future-focused, placing workers at the centre.

What’s next?

The next step will be to turn the Strategy’s vision into action. Government, sectors, businesses and communities will take steps to align their health and safety-related work with the Strategy.

Turning the Strategy into action

A key theme from the Strategy is that everyone needs to be involved in its implementation, including leaders, industry and sector groups, workers, educators, communities and the government. As Treaty partners, Māori will be able to use their influence and relationships to support better outcomes for workers and businesses.

Focus Points

At VHNZ we have decided to take three key focus areas from the Strategy, which we will build on throughout the year. They are:

  1. Good health and safety is good for business
  2. Championing health and safety representation
  3. Managing the effects of Work-related health.

Good health and safety is good for business

The message that “good health and safety is good for business” should find its way into those everyday conversations we have with clients and trainees. The impact of positive incentives, as opposed to negative threats, on people’s behaviour should not be underestimated. Recognising the benefits of good health and safety is good for individuals and businesses alike. Put simply, Good health and safety should become a natural part of doing good business.

Championing health and safety representation

For the Strategy to work, workers need to be at the centre of every thought, plan, procedure, process. This means worker engagement, participation and representation (WEPR) in health and safety for all workers, not just health and safety representatives and union representatives.

Understandably, representatives will play a valuable and important role in achieving the desired outcomes of the Strategy, and we should be ‘championing’ their contribution at every opportunity. Even those organisations who do not ‘formally’ need to appoint health and safety representatives, must engage with workers, encourage their participation, and allow representation on health and safety related matters.

Managing the effects of Work-related health

Work-related health, including psychosocial risks and mental health, has, some might say rather belatedly, become a key focus of the Strategy. Simply put, the body does what the mind tells it to. Stands to reason therefore that a healthy mind is key to a healthy body. Notwithstanding the significance of physical harm (both acute and chronic), the Strategy recognises the importance of managing the effects of Work-related health, by broadening the health and safety focus to include psychosocial risk and mental health.


Remember, health and safety is not about stopping work, it's about doing work safely. 

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