Do you understand your Health & Safety Liability?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) came into effect on April 4th, 2016, as a response to New Zealand’s poor health and safety record. It aims to improve our at-work death and injury rate, which saw over 3,300 serious harm cases reported in the 2014/2015 year alone. It moves the focus of health and safety regulation away from simply recording incidents and towards proactively trying to prevent them.

Harsher Penalties

Part of the new HSWA is the introduction of much harsher penalties for breaches of the act, and greater powers of enforcement to prosecute businesses who neglect their workers’ safety. In our May article, “How To Protect Your Business Under The New Health & Safety Act”, we detailed your obligations as an employer, the potential costs of prosecution, and how to ensure you’re complying with the new regulations.

Defence Costs

Unfortunately, however good your business’s health and safety practices are, workplace accidents can still happen. If they do, you may face prosecution under the HSWA, requiring you to defend yourself and your business in court. Defence costs can be substantial and have a huge impact on your business. To protect you from unnecessary financial loss, Certus recommends Statutory Liability cover. It’s insurance that helps you to meet the costs arising from breaches of government acts, such as the Fair Trading Act, the Human Rights Act, the Resource Management Act and the HSWA.


It’s important to note that Statutory Liability cover will not protect you against HSWA fines. However, it does provide cover for legal costs, which can help you mount a successful defence. It also covers you for any reparation you are ordered to pay directly to the injured person. Cover amounts and exclusions are dependent on the terms and conditions detailed in your policy document.

Under the new act, claims and costs are much higher then they used to be, so you may be underinsured when it comes to Statutory Liability cover. Call us at Certus today to make sure you’re properly protected.

Photo by Michael Mroczek