Workplace Safety Management Practices program ends in NZ

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The Workplace Safety Management Practices (WSMP) program, administered by Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) will officially end in New Zealand on 31 March 2017.

The program has been running for 15 years in New Zealand, and will be discontinued as it no longer aligns with health and safety legislation.

It was one of two incentive programs the ACC offered to businesses by offering discounted levies in return for them maintaining certain levels of health and safety standards.

The program was previously available to all employers and offered levels of accreditation – primary, secondary and tertiary – corresponding to levy discounts of 10, 15 and 20 per cent respectively.

The businesses were audited every second year by external auditors from an approved list and administered by the ACC.

Kevin Haskins, chief executive of Wanaka-based company BWARE and ACC auditor for 12 years, said it was an important time for health and safety practices in New Zealand.

“This is such a big change for the Industry. Since 2001 we’ve been using Australia/New Zealand Standard AS 4801 as our framework for independent audit of an organisation’s Health and Safety Systems,” he said.

“Now we’re not sure what’s going to happen.”

Haskins believes it will either be the AS 4801 or New Zealand may look at adopting International Standards IS0 45001.

Health and safety specialist for Avid Plus and Independent ACC auditor, Robyn Bennett, said during her time auditing she witnessed improvements in workplace health and safety.

“There’s definitely a lot more interest in health and safety,” she said.

“Employers are more proactive internally but also in the way they are interacting with other employers and contractors. It’s been a big shift,” says Bennett.

Both Haskins and Bennett have also noticed an increase in businesses using software as monitoring and reporting tools to enhance improve health and safety.

Auditors completed site visits on February 28 to allow to time for processing ahead of ACC’s deadline.