Health and safety

Buddle Findlay assists organisations to create safer, healthier work places through legislative compliance, training and the development of an organisation-wide commitment to a strong health and safety culture.


New Zealand's health and safety regulatory infrastructure was recently overhauled with the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.  The new legislation, which came into force on 4 April 2016, brought an increased focus on health and safety, including on director and company officer liability, increased sanctions and requirements for worker engagement, all of which are intended to encourage the culture shift sought by the reforms.

Employers and company directors need to be aware of these changes to ensure compliance, and we can guide you through this. 

Cases on harassment, bullying and stress continue to be prevalent, primarily in the specialist employment jurisdiction.  These often date back many years and, if not managed well, can be time-consuming, costly and disruptive for employers. 

Our health and safety team has worked with clients in the following areas of health and safety law and practice:

  • Advising businesses, including governance boards, directors and senior managers regarding the impact of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, and associated regulations, codes of practice and other guidance

  • Defending prosecutions and other enforcement action by WorkSafe

  • Providing advice in relation to accidents and subsequent investigations, assisting clients in their communications with the regulator, and to avoid prosecutions

  • Drafting and revising workplace policies and strategies, including regarding specific areas such as harassment, bullying and stress, and drugs and alcohol

  • Providing training and easy to use guidelines to health and safety professionals, employers, senior managers and employees on their risks, obligations and best practice.

Work highlights

Assisting 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

Advising 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, construction, mountain guiding and professional sports

Acting for a manufacturing client

in WorkSafe's new Duty Holder Review process following a workplace accident

Providing detailed guidance

outlining how a tertiary institution's Council and Leadership teams could prepare for upcoming changes to health and safety legislation

Advising a Crown agent

of its duties under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 in relation to a complex workplace bullying investigation involving multiple employees and cross-complaints

Defending an aviation services supplier

against a claim of unjustified dismissal on the basis that the former employee had breached health and safety expectations

Our team

Hamish Kynaston

Partner, Wellington

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

Email Hamish Kynaston

Peter Chemis

Partner, Wellington

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

Email Peter Chemis

Sherridan Cook

Partner, Auckland
Board of Management

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

Email Sherridan Cook

Susan Rowe

Partner, Christchurch

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

Email Susan Rowe