PCBU obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA)

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) agencies (as PCBUs) are required to take all reasonable steps to provide a safe working environment for employees. This includes:

• Managing the risk of the spread of infectious disease so far as reasonably practicable.
• Supporting the wellbeing of staff through this period of uncertainty and change.
• Consulting and coordinating with other PCBUs as part of their response.
• Engaging with workers about health and safety issues and working to achieve a mutually acceptable outcome.

Further information and guidance on PCBU responsibilities is available on the WorkSafe New Zealand website.(external link)

WorkSafe New Zealand have also indicated they will provide regular updates for PCBUs outlining their position during COVID-19. Here is WorkSafe’s approach during Alert Level 4(external link)



A recent article(external link) written by Dentons Kensington Swan(external link) Partner Greg Cain and Associate Richard Monigatti written for HRD Magazine touched on some interesting points regarding workers who may have ‘reasonable grounds’ to refuse to go to work based on serious, immediate or imminent exposure to COVID-19.   

The GHSL has arranged for Greg to host a webinar on this topic on Friday 17 April – see our events page for details.