Ask an Advisor FAQs

I want to know how I can comply with Health & Safety on a building site. What documentation do I require?

  • Site Safe endeavors to provide as much H&S information for business as possible. On our website under the Products and Services page we have many H&S documents and templates that can assist with compliance.
  • Site Safe distributes H&S policies for businesses as well as Site Specific Safety Plan (SSSP) Packs for Main contractors (Red Pack), Sub-Contractors (Green Pack), and Contractors with their own H&S (Yellow Pack).
  • Beyond the documents we also offer Site Reviews, Consultancy and H&S guides.

What are some topics for Toolbox Talks?

  • You can find information on toolbox talks here on our website.
  • You can find a template for running a toolbox talks meeting here

I need some assistance in ensuring my H&S paperwork is compliant.

  • The best way Site Safe can assist with ensuring compliance is through our consultancy service. You can find details of this here.
  • You may also be interested in our prequalification system SiteWise which assesses a contractor's H&S capability.

Where can I find guidelines around legislation?

  • Site Safe offers guidelines around working safely and how to operate under various pieces of legislation.
  • Guidelines are found here.
  • WorkSafe guidelines give accurate best practice information regarding all parts of construction legislation. Find WorkSafe guidelines here.

I am completing a SSSP but there is a part of the form I am missing. Where can I find it?

  • Depending on what pack you choose (red, yellow, or green) some forms may not be available. It is recommended you check the other packs for the form you require.
  • You can also download singular forms if you need more space to make documentation. This can be found on the Site Safe website under the SSSP packs.

How often should a task analysis take place on site? What are the legal obligations?

  • While you aren’t legally obligated to specifically complete a task analysis, it is a means of legal compliance, and many main contractors would require one prior to commencing work.
  • A task analysis is required for:
    • Risk specified by legislation
    • Any new or complex task
    • When required by contract
    • Permit to work systems
    • If your risk assessment is in CRITICAL or HIGH level of risk
    • Notifiable construction work
    • Some work requiring a Certificate of Competence

What are the procedures for worker injuries at work?

  • Administer medical treatment as required. This may be first aid for minor injuries or a medical professional for more serious harm.
  • You should record any health and safety incidents that happen at work and complete an investigation.
  • More severe injuries will have to be notified to WorkSafe, and the scene of the injury/illness kept secure until released by WorkSafe.
  • Use the Incident Investigation and Reporting form provided by Site Safe here to record incidents and investigations.

I have been asked to provide our company covid policy, are you able to send me some templates for what to include?

  • This link will take you to the WorkSafe website where you can download a template. This template is easy to fill in with your own details.
  • This link will take you to the Construction Protocols which were put together by Site Safe and industry. These cover all alert levels and provide some good guidance for completing your own plan.

Can you please provide some clarity in relation to what work WorkSafe must be notified about?

  • WorkSafe requires 24 hours’ notice of any work that is particularly hazardous.
  • Listed below are some hazardous activities they require notification of:
    • Construction work with a risk of falling 5 metres or more (exclusions apply).
    • Erecting or dismantling scaffolding with a risk of falling 5 metres or more.
    • Logging or tree felling undertaken for commercial purposes.
    • Use of a lifting appliance where the appliance must lift a mass of 500 kilograms or more a vertical distance of 5 metres or more (exclusions apply).
    • Work in any drive, excavation, or heading in which any person is required to work with a ground cover overhead.
    • Work in any excavation in which any face has a vertical height of more than 5 metres and an average slope steeper than a ratio of 1 horizontal to 2 verticals.
    • Work in any pit, shaft, trench, or other excavation in which any person is required to work in a space more than 1.5 metres deep and having a depth greater than the horizontal width at the top.
    • Work involving the use of explosives, or storage of explosives for use at the worksite.
    • Work in which a person breathes compressed air, or a respiratory medium other than air (diving).
    • Work in which a person breathes compressed air, or a respiratory medium other than air (not diving).
  • For more information, please follow the link here to visit WorkSafes Particular Hazardous work guidelines.

Is my company legally obliged to complete annual health checks of employees?

  • If workers are exposed to health hazards (such as hazardous substances or exposed to hazardous conditions/work environments) then health checks are mandatory.
  • Companies should complete a risk assessment and put controls in place to mitigate any health effects on workers on top of health monitoring if workers are exposed to health hazards.
  • While the frequency of monitoring is not specified the industry standard is annually. Some companies monitor more frequently, but this is dependent on the perceived risk to worker health.

How do I know how many trained first aid workers are required for my business?

  • The number of trained first aid workers a business requires is entirely dependent on the risk associated with the work, and the location where the work is being completed.
  • If the work is low risk and is located close to medical services (i.e., office work in suburban area close to medical services) there is a low likelihood of injury meaning fewer trained first aid workers are required.
  • Conversely, if the work is high risk &/or far from medical services it is recommended you have multiple trained first aid workers for your staff.
  • Here are some examples to help you think about how many first- aiders you might need:
    • Tāne’s company builds tiny houses and employs eight people. As the nature of his company’s work is high-risk, he has two trained first aiders.
    • Pat owns a large vineyard about half an hour’s drive from medical and ambulance services. She has two first aiders for every 10 workers.
    • Arjun owns a large telephone contact centre in a suburban area. The nature of the work carried out at the contact centre is low risk. Arjun always has two first aiders present for every 50 workers.

We are office based but send engineers to carry out site Inspections. What are the requirements for carrying out risk assessments for those on-site activities?

  • A generic risk assessment is a good start but there does need to be some site-specific risk assessment conducted at each site.
  • I would recommend that you have a standard operating procedure (SOP) for carrying out site visits that includes instructions for the following:
    • Review of the generic risk register prior to entering site.
    • Safety induction by the PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) controlling the site including any risks and control measures.
    • Conduct a site inspection (Step Back 5 x 5) at the work location prior to starting the work; this would be a short visual inspection forming part of the overall inspection work.
    • What to do if a new uncontrolled risk is identified while work is being carried out. Usually this would mean stopping the work, informing the site controlling PCBU/your organisation and resuming work once the issue had been addressed.

What are the requirements for providing PPE and payment for the PPE?

  • If you’re an employer, it’s up to you to ensure your workers have the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job, and to provide it for them if they don’t.
  • If the PCBU wishes to change the PPE required on-site the PCBU is responsible for this themselves. The exception for this is when the worker “genuinely and voluntarily chooses to provide their own”.

What are the laws around ear protection?

  • There are no laws regarding hearing protection; these are covered by standards and practice guidelines.
  • Good practice is that the ear protection must reduce the noise to an acceptable level – so they must be manufactured to an acceptable standard and meet the noise reduction requirements.
  • If fitted with radios, then they should not be worn where the radio would interfere with critical communications (verbal communication; alarms; audio alerts etc.).

What are the requirements for eye protection when using a grinder?

  • All workers should have safety glasses available, and they should be worn when there are potential eye injuries. This would include but not limited to the use of power tools; use of chemicals; some environmental conditions such as high wind. Additionally, some activities such as using an angle grinder will require a full-face shield.
  • Glasses/googles are for protection of eyes against airborne particles but will not protect against large projectiles. Face Sheilds protect the face against large projectiles but are not total eye protection against airborne particles. Grinding produces airborne particles and has the potential for disk disintegration producing larger projectiles so protection against both should be worn.

Are there any restrictions on wearing slip-on type safety boots on a construction site?

  • Any restrictions on wearing slip-on type footwear are at the discretion of the site and/or employer.
  • There is no industry or WorkSafe position on this matter. Slip-on safety footwear is considered OK for many construction activities; however, some PCBU’s will not accept them for jobs where ankle support is required.

Can I wear a cap or other hat under my Hard Hat?

  • Wearing a cap or other hat under your Hard Hat is usually non-compliant. Winter liners (beanies/skullcaps) may be worn but must be close fitting to ensure they do not adversely affect the proper fit or function of the hard hat. If in doubt consult your safety helmet supplier.
  • The use of safety helmets requires the harness to be in direct contact with the skull to be most effective and usually a baseball cap will impede performance.

What is the guidance around replacing hard hats? We currently have an expiry date after two years, is this correct?

  • The standard applying to hard hats is AS/NZS 1801: 1997 – Occupational protective helmets.
  • While it is considered good practice (as detailed in field tests) to replace hard hats every 2/3 years, there is nothing in the standards to indicate this is mandatory.
  • Some suppliers, such as Petzl, manufacture specialist helmets and recommend an expiry date to retire the helmets of up to 10 years.
  • This is of course contingent on the hard hat being in good condition, subject to regular inspections and being replaced if it is subjected to a hard impact or other stresses.

What are the recommendations around wearing Hi-Vis around moving plant and other vehicles?

  • It is recommended that everyone who is in the vicinity of moving plant and vehicles wears hi viz.
  • This should be included in your standard operating procedure (SOP) for loading/unloading operations; hi viz should not be relied on solely to control risk associated with these activities.
  • Other elements that can be included in SOP:
    • Designated (and marked out) loading/unloading areas
    • Designated (and marked out) pedestrian pathways
    • Barriers to prevent pedestrians straying into loading areas
    • Signage warning of operating machinery
    • Induction level training for all staff and contractors on SOP
    • Training for drivers and forklift operators

Do I require a respirator for my work? If so, what is the most suitable one for me?

  • A respirator should be worn when you’re doing work where you could breathe in substances hazardous to health.
  • These substances may not be visible, therefore the PCBU should explain to workers why Respiratory protective equipment (RPE) needs to be worn.
  • If you are uncertain of what RPE is most suitable for your work, please use the RPE Selector Tool to help decide.

How do I know what products need to be on my hazardous substance register?

  • If you are using any substances, they will be marked as hazardous or non-hazardous on the packaging.
  • If there is no marking on the label of the product you should research the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the product to check if it is hazardous.

What are the standard operating procedures for Hazardous Substances?

  • It is mandatory to keep an inventory of all your hazardous substances used, handled, manufactured, or stored in the workplace, including hazardous waste.
  • You must have a Safety Data Sheet for all hazardous substances in your workplace, regardless of the quantity you hold (some exceptions apply).
  • Regulations have specific requirements around providing information, instruction, supervision, and training to make sure workers know how to safely use, handle, and store hazardous substances in their workplace.
  • Some work with highly hazardous substances must be carried out by a certified handler or requires a location compliance certificate. Certified handlers need to:
    • Meet certain competency requirements, and
    • Receive workplace-specific information, training, and instruction by or on behalf of the business, and
    • Obtain a certified handler compliance certificate from a compliance certifier.
    • You need a certified handler for substances that require a controlled substance license (CSL), such as most explosives, fumigants, and vertebrate toxic agents (VTAs) and acutely toxic (6.1A and 6.1B) substances.
  • There are new requirements for making sure that hazardous substance containers in the workplace are labelled, including process vessels; as well as maintaining the labels on hazardous substances supplied to you.
  • Storing hazardous substances safely is an important part of protecting you and your workers. The safety data sheet will tell you how to store the substance and which other substances and materials it should be kept away from.

Is wearing a harness necessary in a scissor lift when working at a height of 5m or less and not leaning out?

  • Wearing a harness in a scissor lift is not required unless your risk assessment has identified circumstances where they are necessary (which may include leaning out).
  • From the Best Practice Guidelines for MEWPs: Before starting work, a hazard assessment should be completed to decide whether a harness system will be needed to complete the job safely.
  • The height you are working on is not a consideration except for working out fall clearance for a fall arrest system.

What are the guidelines around tagging scaffolds?

  • The WorkSafe guidelines for scaffolding state that all scaffolds must be tagged. There are no height exemptions.
  • From the Guidelines: All scaffolds, regardless of height, must have a tag clearly displaying important safety information at access points. (Minor scaffolds may be excluded from this requirement if appropriate for the situation. Minor scaffolds are lightweight, portable, single bay, with a working platform that cannot be higher than 2 m.)

What training does a worker need to work at height (e.g., work on scaffolding)?

  • WorkSafe recommends that: Where any person is working at height, a recommended means of achieving competence is the NZQA Unit Standard 17600 – Explain Safe Work Practices for Working at Height, or equivalent or a higher international qualification.
  • The Good Practice Guidelines for Scaffolding have no corresponding statement for persons working on scaffolds. Based on this the recommendation for working on scaffold is:
    • You could put your workers through a short course to attain US17600 and this would be beneficial if your people are regularly working at height; or,
    • Given that a compliant scaffold provides a safe work environment for working at height; inclusion of safety requirements for working on the scaffold in the job safety induction should suffice.

Is work above 5 metres using an MEWP (Mobile Elevating Work Platforms) notifiable to WorkSafe?

  • Any work where there is a risk of a fall of 5 meters or more must be notified to WorkSafe with only a few exceptions.
  • Exclusions:
    • Work in connection with a residential building up to and including 2 full storeys.
    • Work on overhead telecommunications lines and overhead electric power lines
    • Work carried out from ladder only
    • Maintenance and repair work of a minor or routine nature.
  • It is better to notify WorkSafe than not notify when you are uncertain, this will help avoid any problems with WorkSafe.

Is there a legal obligation when working on a residential roof to have two workers on the same roof to ensure job safety?

  • There is no specific requirement for 2 people to be on the roof at the same time for H&S reasons.
  • It’s a matter of managing the risks. If a worker can implement safety measures that mean only one worker is required on the roof, this should be completed. If these measures aren’t reasonably practicable then a second worker on the roof may reduce risk.

At what height does a work platform (i.e., Scaffold, MEWP) require a Guardrail?

  • It is recommended by WorkSafe that if there is a potential for a person at work to fall from any height, reasonable and practicable steps must be taken to prevent harm from resulting. So, a guardrail is installed on platforms when working at any heights where a fall could result in injury.
  • Using edge protection when working at height is the preferred control for preventing falls from heights.
  • For more information on working at heights please see the WorkSafe guidelines found here and here.      

I have completed a Safety Harness course with Site Safe, but my card has expired. Do I need to re-do a heights course for this to be valid?

  • Our Safety Harness courses (Safety Harness Systems & Advanced Safety Harness Systems) are aligned with NZQA Unit Standards (Standard 23229 & 15757). Once the course has been successfully completed, the training is added to the learners record of learning with Site Safe, and the Unit standard can be registered with NZQA. Neither the unit standard nor the record of learning expires.
  • If following course attendance, the learner does not implement the knowledge and skills gained on a regular basis; we recommend that they re-attend the Safety Harness Systems Course, to overcome the inevitable skills fade that occurs through lack of usage.