Role and responsibilities

WorkSafe is New Zealand’s primary workplace health and safety regulator. Our Chief Executive Nicole Rosie leads over 550 staff based across New Zealand who are working to lift health and safety performance, supporting New Zealanders to return home from work healthy and safe.

Our role

As the regulator of the workplace health and safety system, we have three key roles:

Regulatory confidence

  • Undertaking regulatory activity to provide confidence that New Zealand workplaces are appropriately managing health and safety
  • Enabling New Zealand to have confidence in WorkSafe as the primary health and safety regulator 
  • Supporting confidence in the effectiveness of the health and safety regulatory regime

Harm prevention

  • Targeting critical risks at all levels (sector and system-wide) using intelligence
  • Delivering targeted interventions to address harm drivers (including workforce capability, worker engagement and effective governance)
  • Influencing attitudes and behaviour to improve health and safety risk management

System leadership

  • Leading, influencing and leveraging the health and safety system (including other regulators) to improve health and safety outcomes
  • Promoting and supporting industry, organisation and worker leadership of health and safety
  • Leading by example through WorkSafe’s own good practices

We work collaboratively with businesses, undertakings, workers and their representatives to embed and promote good work health and safety practices. Some of WorkSafe’s functions include:

  • Engaging with duty holders (eg businesses, undertakings and workers)
  • Educating duty holders about their work health and safety responsibilities (eg through guidance)
  • Enforcing health and safety law.

These responsibilities are defined in legislation, specifically by the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Learn more about HSWA and the other laws and regulations we are responsible for.

Other government agencies are also designated to carry out health and safety regulatory functions for certain work. They are:

What we aim to achieve

New Zealand is implementing the most significant reforms to workplace health and safety in more than 20 years. These ‘Working Safer’ reforms are the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety, as articulated in Working Safer: A blueprint for health and safety at work(external link).

The social and economic cost of deaths, injuries and ill-health arising from work is estimated at $3.5 billion a year. However, the real toll is paid by the families, friends and co-workers of those who are killed, seriously injured or experience work-related ill-health.

Every year 600-900 people die prematurely as a result of work-related ill-health and 50-60 people are killed in work incidents. This is unacceptable. We have firm targets and priorities to transform New Zealand’s workplace health and safety performance, including the Government’s target to reduce workplace fatalities and serious injuries by 25% by 2020.

Our Minister

Hon Iain Lees-Galloway(external link)
Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety