Workplaces in Aotearoa New Zealand should be healthy and safe. No one should be harmed or killed because of work.

Every year 50–60 people are killed at work and 400–500 hospitalised with a serious work-related injury (acute harm) and aestimated 750-900 people die because of work-related ill health (chronic harm)While these awful figures have steadily reduced over time, there is a long way to go and much work to do by everyone who can influence health and safety in our workplaces. 

The law that underpins our work health and safety system places the responsibility for managing risks, and ensuring work is healthy and safe, on businesses with the support and involvement from their workers. This responsibility is based on the fact businesses and workers best know their workplace, they best know their risks, and they best know how to manage them.

Our role

As the primary health and safety at work regulator, our role is to influence business to carry out their responsibilities – and to hold them to account if they don’t. 

How we deliver our role

We do this by:

  • Engaging  helping businesses and workers to understand how to meet their responsibilities and ensure work is healthy and safe 
  • Enforcing  taking action against those who fail to meet their responsibilities to ensure work is healthy and safe 
  • Permitting – allowing businesses and individuals to carry out high-risk work activities that require permission to do so. 

Some work is more dangerous and some workers are at greater risk of harm. We focus our effort on where it will make the biggest difference and contribute to equitable outcomes.  

We are guided by evidence and insights about the risks that can lead to three types of harm: acute, chronic, and catastrophic. 

And we will measure the effectiveness of our influencing role in ensuring work is healthy and safe.

These responsibilities are defined in legislation, specifically by the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Learn more about HSWA and the other laws and regulations we are responsible for

Other government agencies are also designated to carry out health and safety regulatory functions for certain work. They are:

Our Minister

Hon Brooke Van Velden

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety(external link)