Health and safety

We help organisations create safer, healthier workplaces.  We give advice on complying with legislation, provide training, and support organisations as they develop a strong health and safety culture.


We understand the legal framework

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 overhauled New Zealand’s health and safety regulatory infrastructure. It increased focus on health and safety, in particular stronger senior leadership accountability, increased sanctions, and worker engagement requirements – all intended to improve health and safety culture.

Our in-depth understanding of this legislation enables us to help you address the requirements and provide bespoke advice.

We have the skills and experience to manage your health and safety cases

Our experienced health and safety team is well equipped to support clients with:

  • Advising on compliance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and associated regulations, codes of practice and other guidance
  • Advising employers on health and safety prosecutions following workplace accidents - including representing the employer and employees in interviews and investigations by WorkSafe, and defending prosecutions brought by WorkSafe
  • Providing advice on accidents and investigations, facilitating communications with the regulators, and helping clients avoid prosecution
  • Drafting and revising workplace policies and strategies, including harassment, bullying and stress, and drug and alcohol use
  • Training and easy to use guidelines on risks, obligations and best practice to health and safety professionals, employers, senior managers and employees
  • Working with employers on health and safety claims raised as personal grievances, particularly bullying, harassment and stress-related claims. These cases can be complex as they often date back many years and can be time-consuming, costly and disruptive for employers if they are not managed well. We also undertake independent investigations in this area
  • Advising on broader health and safety matters involving other relevant legislation, such as advising on earthquake prone buildings and the interaction between health and safety and building legislation.

Work highlights

Industrial business

We assisted an industrial business to respond to a fatal workplace accident including assisting with a comprehensive internal investigation, advising on possible liability and assisting the business with its response to WorkSafe's investigation, and communications with the media, family members, the Coroner and Police.

Advice on obligations

We have advised employers on their obligations in general terms and with specific reference to certain activities, such as the operation of dams and airstrips, the engagement of contractors, and inherently dangerous activities such as electricity generation, health services, construction, mountain guiding and professional sports.

Manufacturing client

We acted for a manufacturing client in WorkSafe's new Duty Holder Review process following a workplace accident.

Tertiary institution

We have provided detailed guidance outlining how a tertiary institution's Council and Leadership teams could prepare for upcoming changes to health and safety legislation.

Aviation services supplier

We defended an aviation services supplier against a claim of unjustified dismissal on the basis that the former employee had breached health and safety expectations.

Sky Television

We acted for Sky Television in an appeal to the District Court seeking the rescission of an improvement notice.

Our team

Hamish Kynaston

Partner, Wellington

Hamish specialises in employment relations, litigation, health law, health and safety, and education…

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Peter Chemis

Partner, Wellington

Peter specialises in employment law, industrial relations and related areas, and leads Buddle Findlay’s national employment team…

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Sherridan Cook

Partner, Auckland
Board of Management

Sherridan specialises in advocacy and commercial litigation, with considerable expertise and experience in…

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Susan Rowe

Partner, Christchurch

Susan specialises in litigation, local government, insurance, industrial relations and health and safety. Susan currently advises…

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