Our intentions

WorkSafe's strategy: 2018-2022

WorkSafe’s four-year strategy, outlined in the Statement of Intent 2018/19-2021/22, sets out the improvements we need so that New Zealand can lift its health and safety at work performance towards world-class. We have set clear focus areas that will align our work with our strategic direction and will report annually against these. 2018/19 will be the first year of this longer-term strategy.

[image] WorkSafe strategy 2018–2022

WorkSafe's strategy: 2018-2022 (PDF 334 KB)

Aligning our strategic direction

Our work is closely aligned to key Government strategies that seek to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of all New Zealanders. The goals and priorities signalled through these strategies guide our investment and how we work to deliver our activities. The diagram below demonstrates the connection between our activities, planning and investment processes, and strategic direction.

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Our funding

We have five funding sources that support the delivery of activity across our core roles. The majority of funding is collected through the Working Safer Levy supported with levies and fees for targeted activity we undertake in specific areas of the health and safety regulatory framework. 

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Our external focus areas

1. Deliver the right mix of services in the right way

Why this matters

WorkSafe’s success relies on the choices that we make as a regulator. We have a limited range of interventions available and need to deploy these in the best way to make the greatest impact.

Our services and tools include everything from providing information and advice to monitoring and enforcing compliance. This involves awareness campaigns, publishing guidance and research, and undertaking targeted assessments of workplaces. It also involves investigating serious health and safety breaches and responding to unsafe incidents and precursor events that have the potential to cause serious harm.

In this first year of our four-year strategy, WorkSafe will make improvements to how we deliver our work. We will target our actions to where they are needed the most and deliver the best value from the funding we are provided.

What we intend to achieve in 2018/19

Our goal in the coming year is to make improvements to how and where we target our activity. We will implement a decision-making model that will refine the mix of services we provide and make our interventions more effective in the future.

Treating victims and their families with compassion and respect is central to the way we do our business. This includes continuing to train our staff in areas of cultural sensitivity regarding fatalities and injuries, including a particular focus on Māori and Pacific peoples.

Our specialist high hazard inspectors will continue reviewing safety cases submitted by operators for upper tier Major Hazard Facilities.

The new Hazardous Substances and Asbestos regulatory regimes are now in effect and we will be clear in our expectations of duty-holders meeting their obligations. Many adventure activity operators will also need to renew their safety audit certificates and be re-registered with WorkSafe this year.

Core activity

  • Triage approximately 10,000 anticipated issues or incidents of work-related health and safety concerns and respond appropriately.
  • Undertake assessments and audits of workplaces, with a focus on higher risk sectors and work-related health.
  • Conduct investigations intom the most serious breaches of health and safety.
  • Enable duty-holders to self-review their health and safety practice following an incident using the Duty Holder Review service.
  • Support high hazard operators to effectively manage their critical health and safety risks and meet their legal obligations.
  • Promote and contribute to the safe supply and use of electricity and gas in New Zealand, including by auditing gas and electrical products and investigating accidents and unsafe situations.
  • Provide certifications, approvals and registrations for sectors and duty-holders requiring specified regulatory oversight.
  • Use our range of enforcement tools, from notices through to prosecution, to encourage people to change their behaviour, and to hold people to account.
  • Refine and strengthen our approach to using Enforceable Undertakings, an alternative means to prosecution where duty-holders are held to account while delivering benefits to workers, industry and the community.
  • Being fair, proportionate and educative in what we do – so we can make a real difference to health and safety in New Zealand.

Our operating approach

The diagram below outlines the elements that make up our operating approach. Each element informs how we deliver our mix of tools and services. In 2018/19 we will progress work on strengthening how these elements fit together to create an intelligent and responsive operating approach. This will support greater alignment between our strategic direction, regulatory activity and resources.

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2. Build our harm prevention approach

Why this matters

New Zealand has made some progress in reducing harm at work, but it is not at the level needed to sustain improvement and make New Zealand one of the best-performing countries in the world.

There are sectors of work where the level of harm is significantly above average, specifically WorkSafe’s ‘higher risk sectors’ of agriculture, forestry, construction and manufacturing. Rates of harm are also high in some other emerging sectors such as transport. We also know that significant work is needed to reduce the level of work-related disease and ill-health, and address health impairments like fatigue that can have a significant impact on people’s safety.

A comprehensive approach to harm prevention is needed so that WorkSafe can enable people to address the underlying factors that drive harm at work and manage the risks in their workplace.

What we intend to achieve in 2018/19

In 2018/19 our focus will be on investing in and building our foundational capabilities – people, resources and systems. These are needed to design and deliver comprehensive, multi-year harm reduction programmes.

We will build capability so we can undertake research and health economics modelling to assess the social and economic costs and benefits of different harm prevention interventions.

Our work with ACC will look at funding pathways that contribute to harm prevention enablers, so we can build the capability we need to deliver further programmes. The evaluation of WorkSafe’s Maruiti3 initiative will inform how we integrate a Māori lens to this work and take a comprehensive and long-term approach to improving outcomes for Māori workers.4

We will continue to use our Healthy Work strategic plan to set out our approach to work-related health, including undertaking a Worker Exposure Survey to gather better information on the levels of health-related harm New Zealand workers are being exposed to.

We support and contribute to regulatory reforms undertaken by MBIE, particularly in high hazard areas. We will also work with MBIE to review the Energy Safety regulatory framework, to address existing and emerging risks.


3   Maruiti is our strategy to work toward improving the health and safety for Māori in the workplace: http://worksafe.govt.nz/about-us/who-we-are/our-priorities/maruiti

4   The rate of serious non-fatal injury for Māori has been declining over the last ten years, but while progress has been made, Māori workers are still 44% more likely to be seriously injured at work than the general population.

Core activity

  • Monitor and communicate the performance of the health and safety system.
  • Support MBIE to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
  • Work with MBIE on the Health and Safety at Work regulatory reform programme.
  • Use our research, intelligence and evaluation capability to inform our interventions and profile areas of emerging risk.
  • Work with our strategic stakeholders and other experts to develop guidance so duty-holders can know what good looks like, how they can effectively manage critical risks and how to engage effectively with workers.
  • Help people to manage their obligations by using our tools and resources, and advertising these to a wide range of audiences.
  • Continue to support the MBIE-WorkSafe-ACC SafePlus health and safety performance improvement toolkit and enable businesses to use Accredited Assessors to provide tailored recommendations on improvements they can maketo their health and safety.

3. Grow effective strategic relationships

Why this matters

To achieve the future we want, all parts of the health and safety system need to demonstrate leadership and accountability by working together to address both safety and health.

One of the foundations of good health and safety at work is strong tripartite leadership, ensuring workers, business and system agencies work collectively to improve New Zealand’s health and safety performance.

WorkSafe can also influence others to build capability and drive improvements to health and safety at work at a sector level.

As a system leader we are uniquely able to help others form strong, strategic relationships and enable industry to own and lead their own health and safety change.

What we intend to achieve in 2018/19

We will refresh our approach to engagement across our key stakeholders as well as governance and senior levels (eg Chambers of Commerce, Institute of Directors).

The work we do with our social partners, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and BusinessNZ, as well as other key strategic partners like the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum and Institute of Directors, help us understand each other’s respective roles and what levers we can collectively use to influence change.

WorkSafe will continue to support existing sector-led groups like the Forest Industry Safety Council and Agriculture Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum, along with specialist associations like the Health and Safety Association of New Zealand (HASANZ). We will also take a strong tripartite approach to working with industry in establishing other sector-led health and safety leadership models. WorkSafe will continue to contribute to and work with other regulators and system agencies to undertake regulatory practice initiatives.

This will include working with central and local government networks like the Government Regulatory Practice Initiative and Public Sector Leadership Forum.

Following the development of the Government’s Health and Safety at Work Strategy we will work with system participants to design and implement clear actions in line with the Strategy’s areas of focus.

Two of the Government’s priorities over the next 10 years are the KiwiBuild initiative to build 100,000 affordable homes and the planting of one billion trees. WorkSafe wants to work with those leading and contributing to this work to show how health and safety can be a core part of the work from the very beginning. This includes sharing lessons learnt from the Canterbury Rebuild programme. WorkSafe also intends to further establish relationships with iwi and post-settlement governance entities, particularly including those who are contributing to these projects.

Core activity

  • Coordinate with our strategic partners – including regulators, agencies and stakeholders – to address health and safety capability and performance issues.
  • Undertake knowledge and insight work with other data-focussed agencies (eg Statistics New Zealand, Ministry of Transport, Immigration New Zealand, Labour Inspectorate (MBIE), Ministry of Health).
  • Engage with health and safety and other worker representatives when undertaking on-site assessments.
  • Connect and engage with a wide range of people across New Zealand in person at roadshows, Fieldays, and other engagements, as well as through social media and our website.
  • Contribute to work happening on an international scale, including with other regulators, international high hazard and energy safety bodies, and supporting MBIE’s engagement with inter-government bodies like the International Labour Organization.

WorkSafe needs to enable a sustained approach for future performance.

Our internal focus areas

WorkSafe is a young organisation that has spent its establishment years building basic systems, processes and capability for us to operate, but we know that what we have now is not sustainable for our future needs.Our organisational strategy sets out where we need to invest within WorkSafe over the next four years to enable a step-change in performance.

4. Drive organisational excellence

Strengthen our people and culture

Our people are our greatest resource, and at WorkSafe we rely on highly-skilled people who undertake challenging work. The capability of our people directly influences the quality and impact our work has on health and safety at work. We want to have a strong organisation with people who feel engaged, connected and valued. We also want to keep our own people healthy and safe.

In 2018/19 we will develop our People Strategy, including progressing an organisation-wide framework to strengthen our culture, supported by leadership and team development programmes.

Enhance our technology, data and infrastructure

WorkSafe needs to invest in the right information, technology and systems so that our staff can work in a smart, integrated and technology-enabled way. Our ICT systems provide a platform for our work to be organised and efficient, and our data and analytics systems allow us to draw connections between the intelligence and evidence we gather, sharing it not just between our staff but with our stakeholders and the public.

In 2018/19 we will progress our ICT Strategy, setting out the technological capability and systems we need to deliver our work, and begin the transformation work on the technology infrastructure investment required to enable delivery of new, optimised services.

Future-proof our organisation

The next four years will be a critical time for WorkSafe to invest in itself, making sure we have the right capability, services and interventions in place for WorkSafe to be effective into the future. We need to make sure our funding and resources keep pace with growing demand and new challenges, ensuring we provide confidence to New Zealand that we are well-placed to deliver our strategy and focus on the Government’s priorities.

In 2018/19 we will work with MBIE and ACC to ensure WorkSafe has a sustainable funding pathway to deliver its strategic priorities. We will also make improvements to our internal forecasting capability, to better understand our cost pressures and improve decisions over where we invest to best deliver our strategy.