Hello from WorkSafe NZ

There have been some changes to our team, so we’d like to take this opportunity to introduce our new Construction sector Design and Engagement Leads. Bridget and Rachel are part of WorkSafe’s External Strategic Engagement team who are currently working on several projects that will be of interest to members, and we’ve highlighted a couple here. Construction has one of the highest rates of injury of all the high-risk sectors, and the highest overall exposure to work related health risks including exposure to dust, awkward body positioning, vibration, and noise, so Bridget and Rachel are committed to helping to bring about the changes we need to get all workers home healthy and safe.

Rachel Bowen is WorkSafe’s new Engagement Lead for the Construction Sector. She joined WorkSafe New Zealand in 2021, attracted by the opportunity to engage with people to achieve change. With a background in Learning and Development, she has worked as a Training Facilitator across the commercial and voluntary sectors, as well as within the public sector. Before moving to NZ in 2004 Rachel held various Policy and Management positions in the UK Civil Service at HM Revenue and Customs. Rachel lives on a lifestyle block in Palmerston North with her family and a selection of spoilt animals. In her spare time, she’s active in her community as a City Councillor, sometime actor, and member of various not-for-profit Boards.

Bridget Thompson recently joined the WorkSafe team as Design Lead for the construction harm reduction programme, working with industry to understand what gets in the way of good health and safety practice, and identify initiatives that will reduce work related injury and ill health. Her background is in healthcare sector quality improvement, and she is looking forward to getting to know the construction sector and building relationships with people and organisations. When not at work Bridget can often be found on the side of a sports field, pool, or beach cheering on her three children in their sporting endeavours. She currently lives in Wellington, but is a small town, country girl at heart and loves to escape the city confines to run, tramp, or mountain bike.

New Guidance products

As you are all aware, Road and Roadside workers are at significant risk when they come to work every day. We are working on new WorkSafe Road and Roadside Worker Health and Safety Good Practice Guidelines, which will be released alongside the final Waka Kotahi New Zealand Guide to Temporary Traffic Management (NZGTTM). The NZGTTM will sit under the WorkSafe guide, providing guidance to identify and manage temporary traffic risks . Waka Kotahi and WorkSafe are working together on how we release both guides. 

Supporting and enabling Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) in Christchurch

 From 9 May WorkSafe will be piloting a new role designed to coach and support HSRs in the region. The HSR Development Lead role will be looking to connect with HSRs and Health and Safety Committees (HSCs) to provide clarity on the HSR role, help connect HSRs, sow some seeds around the value of high-quality worker participation, and also help to link HSRs and HSCs to resources and knowledge sources that might help them.

Sherry Peck (formerly of Canterbury Safety Charter) starts in the role on Monday. Sherry has 20+ years’ experience as an HSR herself and has moved into the role from the WorkSafe Inspectorate. We’ll profile Sherry in the next issue of the Canterbury Safety Charter newsletter but if you’d like to connect with Sherry to hear more about the role, or invite her in to meet your HSRs, please email her at

[email protected]

New Regulations

We’re preparing to implement the new Regulations for Plant, Structures and Working at Heights which are being written by MBIE. The regulations will provide more clarity and certainty for businesses and contribute to better safety and health for workers.

This isn’t about creating cumbersome new requirements; it’s about ensuring better regulations to keep workers safe. In the last decade, an average of 54 people died at work each year from injuries involving plant (such as workplace machinery, vehicles, and equipment) and structures (such as scaffolding and excavations).

An early draft of the proposed regulations will be released later this year for further feedback, and to test the detail. The changes are expected to come into force in March 2023.  If you’d like to join the mailing list for more information, please sign up here:

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