Implementing the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015: Better regulation - plant, structures and working at heights

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Submissions due: 04 October 2019, 5pm

We are reviewing some of the regulations that sit under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.


The discussion paper seeks feedback on how to improve protections for people working with plant, structures, heights and excavations. 

The discussion paper covers:

  • Plant
  • Mobile plant
  • Design, manufacture, supply, import and installation of plant or structures
  • High-risk plant
  • Working at heights and scaffolding
  • Excavation work

This is part of the regulatory reform programme to continue implementing the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.  Read more background information about the reform programme and additional documents on the Health and Safety Reform page of our website.

Having your say

We want to know whether you think the options in the paper will be effective and what the impacts would be on you or your organisation.  Your feedback will inform any changes Government may make to the regulations.

In mid-September, a series of interactive forums on the proposed changes will be held across various North and South Island locations – in Auckland (11/12 September), Hamilton (13 September), Rotorua (20 September), Christchurch/Ashburton (17 September), and Invercargill/Winton (18 September).

These forums will give participants an opportunity to have focussed discussions on issues and proposals raised in the discussion paper. Forums are open to all interested parties (including workers, businesses and employers) across all industries, including agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, engineering and construction. While some sessions will be focused towards particular sector groups (e.g. construction) this should be taken as a guide only, and those interested are invited to register for a session at any date/time that suits them best.

Register your interest in attending one of these workshops(external link)

Requests for additional sessions, timed around our main regional forum events may be able to be accommodated for – these can be forwarded to

The submissions deadline is 5pm on 4 October 2019.

What we are consulting on - in more detail

We want to make sure the regulatory framework effectively supports businesses to manage risks without disproportionate costs or hurdles, and protects workers from harm.

We are looking at plant, structures, working at heights and excavation work first because …

  • They are everywhere and affect everyone – they are used in lots of different sectors and types of work, from agriculture and construction to education and health. They affect workers, businesses and other people interacting with that work
  • Business and workers need a better way to manage risks well – the regulations are weak, ad hoc, out of date, full of gaps and hard to understand
  • They kill and severely injure lots of people every day – plant and structures are involved in 76 per cent of work-related deaths

Some of the problems include …

  • Some of the rules aren’t clear or there is confusion – so there is over compliance and increased costs, e.g. for work at heights, scaffolding and excavation work
  • Most of these risks have been around forever and they’re still not being done well, or we need to ensure that they keep being done well, e.g. badly guarded machines, good design of structures and machines, high-risk plant
  • We need to keep up with changes in practice and emerging technology to ensure benefits are realised and any risks managed

Some of our ideas to make the framework better include …

  • Making the rules clear, while retaining flexibility to do what’s best in each case
  • Improving risk assessment and management
  • Making sure people have the right information to ensure health and safety at work
  • Improving oversight and transparency of very high risk things.

The Cabinet Paper and Minute for the discussion paper are available on our website:

Cabinet paper [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Cabinet minuute [PDF, 168 KB] 

You’ll be interested in this discussion paper if …

You work in or run a business that involves plant, structures, heights or excavations. Local bodies, members of Māori, Pasifika and ethnic communities and health and safety specialists will also be interested.

Different people will have different interests in the discussion paper depending on what sector they are in and what kind of work they do.  We suggest everyone reads Section 1 Overview and Section 8 Offences and transitional arrangements.

We have developed factsheets to support different sectors and summaries of each chapter:

How to make a submission

Submissions close at 5pm on 4 October 2019.

You can tell us what you think by:

  • using the online forum 
  • sending your submission as a Microsoft Word document to
  • mailing your submission to:
    Health and Safety Policy
    Labour and Immigration Policy
    Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
    PO Box 1473
    Wellington 6140

Your submission may respond to any or all of the issues. You do not have to respond to every section or answer all of the questions. We want to know how the options would impact you or your organisation.  Please describe the impacts – in terms of costs and benefits – in as concrete terms as you can.

We prefer you use the online survey. This will help us to collate submissions and ensure that your views are fully considered.

If you use a Word document, please include your name and (if applicable) the name of your organisation in your submission. Please include your contact details in the cover letter or e-mail accompanying your submission.

Please direct any questions that you have in relation to the submissions process to

Last updated: 08 August 2019