News release - 12 June 2023
Construction industry groups frustrated by government delays: Wood’s office offers no explanation
Construction industry bosses are becoming increasingly frustrated over government delays in finalising health and safety regulations covering staff who work in their sectors.
The complaints centre around the Plant, Structures and Hazardous Work regulations, part of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
Scaffolding Access and Rigging Association, chief executive officer, Tina Wieczorek, says the existing regulations are years out of date.
This creates significant risks to anyone working in the crane, scaffolding, roofing and elevated work platform sectors, as well as many others.
She says the new regulations, designed to reduce work-related harm, were first drafted in mid-2019 but still haven’t been finalised.
Nor can government say with certainty when they will be gazetted, she says.
“Meanwhile we have thousands of construction staff in cranes, up scaffolding, on roofs and and using elevating work platforms every day, all working in potentially risky environments and who deserve the most up to date regulations to ensure their safety.
“Government doesn’t seem in a rush to get the new safety regs in place.”
Wieczorek’s concerns are backed by the Roofing Association, Hire Industry Association, Cranes Association, Forklift Industry Association and the Elevating Work Platform Association.
They all agree the new regulations need to be consulted on urgently and gazetted as soon as possible to avoid any further undue risk to workers.
“But we’ve been told nothing’s likely to happen until at least March next year,” Wieczorek said.
“Let’s hope, for everyone’s sake, we don’t have an accident in the meantime that the new regs would have prevented.”
None of the associations knows why the proposed regulations have been delayed for so long, despite repeated requests for that information.
“Even our OIA requests to transport minister Michael Wood’s office haven’t shed any light on that,” Wieczorek says.
They say industry is largely in agreement about how the new regulations should be designed, so there’s not much of a sticking point there.
Once gazetted, the new regulations will update the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to ensure it is better aligned with current industry practice.
“It might seem odd for an industry group to call for regulations to be introduced quickly, but we are concerned for the safety of our staff,” Wieczorek said.
“Government needs to act on this, and act quickly to keep people safe.”
For more information and to arrange interviews with the leaders of the Associations mentioned in this release, contact Daniel Paul (021) 400 993.