We will continue to lead interventions with sector and industry leadership groups in higher-risk sectors and in relation to high-risk activities.

Workers, employers and business have all had time to become familiar with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and we have seen some positive changes to health and safety at work. But, we know more needs to be done. This is vital to ensuring our fatality and injury rates do not continue to stall, and to creating a positive and active culture of health and safety across New Zealand.

WorkSafe research found that around 20 percent of our workplaces have a mature safety culture. Around half were classified as having an immature or passive health and safety culture. These workplaces are more likely to view good health and safety practice as something being imposed upon them, and as heavily compliance driven.

We need our workplace culture to change and we need change to occur this year even though it is a time of uncertainty as New Zealand comes to grips with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why, this year, WorkSafe will continue to focus on our harm prevention initiatives. We will deliver on the three key areas under our Work-Related Health Action Plan: carcinogens and airborne risks; musculoskeletal disorders; and mentally healthy work. WorkSafe will also be working with Māori and through our newly-established Pacific Peoples Responsiveness Advisory Group to reduce harm in these worker communities. We will continue to lead interventions with sector and industry leadership groups in higher-risk sectors and in relation to high-risk activities.

COVID-19 will require WorkSafe to adapt what we do and how we do it over the course of the performance year. The COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020 contains new powers for Enforcement Officers, including for WorkSafe. We will undertake this role where there is a strong connection to our existing functions. We consider COVID-19 controls as part of an employers’ or businesses’ health and safety management when we engage with them. We will focus on supporting workers and their representatives, employers and businesses to improve workplace health and safety generally and to mitigate or manage the new, critical risk presented by COVID-19.

The Health and Safety at Work Strategy 2018-2028

Our foundation for driving change in the system of health and safety is the Government’s 'Health and Safety at Work Strategy 2018-2028' (the Government's Strategy) and its vision; Work is healthy and safe for everyone in New Zealand. The Government and our Minister expect us to lead, and actively contribute to achieving, this vision and the goals set out in the Government's Strategy. WorkSafe is committed to taking steps forward through this performance year.

WorkSafe’s strategy: 2018-2022

WorkSafe’s own four-year strategy, outlined in our 'Statement of Intent 2018/19-2021/22', is consistent with the Government’s Strategy and vision. We are working towards a productive New Zealand in which everyone who goes to work comes home healthy and safe.

We have four key focus areas that help align our work with the strategic direction we need to take to transform health and safety performance towards world-class. They are to:

  1. Deliver the right mix of services in the right way
  2. Build our harm prevention approach
  3. Grow effective strategic relationships
  4. Drive organisational excellence.

This Statement of Performance Expectations covers the third year of turning WorkSafe’s four-year strategy into action. It sets out our intentions for the 2020/21 year under each focus area.

Our modernisation programme

This year, this Statement of Performance Expectations sets out our continuing programme of external and internal change driving us towards being a modern, intelligence-led regulator; a regulator that can respond effectively and appropriately to the changing nature of the world around us and the changing nature of work. Our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be one of our first tests.