Useful Terms



Approved Code of Practice



BEI (Biological Exposure Indices) are guidance values for assessing biological monitoring results. Biological monitoring measures the concentration of a substance – or its breakdown products – in blood or urine or even exhaled air and the monitoring result is compared to the BEI established for the specific substance.

Best practice guidelines

Best Practice Guidelines have been prepared in association with industry representatives involved in the subject matter. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide practical guidance to employers, contractors, employees and all others engaged in this work on how they can meet their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and its associated Regulations. Accordingly, adherence to these Best Practice Guidelines is recommended.


Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination

Where multiple PCBUs share a duty in relation to the same matter, they must work with other PCBU’s that have the same duty. This process is to establish which PCBU will be responsible for which duty.


Duty Holder

A person who has a duty under HSWA. There are four types of duty holders – PCBUs, officers, workers and other persons at workplaces.

Duty Holder Review

The Duty Holder Review process is designed to enable you to improve your health and safety systems and for the regulator to gain a degree of assurance that systems associated with the incident have been improved. It is an expectation that you will review (investigate) an incident at your workplace as it allows you to examine what caused the incident and to identify and address the causes that contributed to that incident. It doesn’t aim to apportion blame for incidents, but rather for you to improve workplace safety.



To remove the sources of harm (eg equipment, substances or work processes). Remove the hazard.

Engage, Educate & Enforce

As New Zealand’s work health and safety regulator, WorkSafes role is to engage, educate and enforce.


Environmental Protection Authority. The government agency responsible for regulating activities that affect New Zealand’s environment. Key industry areas include hazardous substances, new organisms, the Emissions Trading Scheme, Resource Management proposals and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) marine activities.


Formal Investigation

A formal investigation carried out after a notifiable event or other circumstances as appropriate by trained personnel or other specialist.



General Risk and Workplace Management. Which refers to The Health and Safety at Work General Risk and Workplace Management Regulations 2016.



Anything that can cause harm or illness (for example, equipment, substances or work processes).

Hazardous substance

Any product or chemical that has explosive, flammable, oxidising, toxic, corrosive or ecotoxic properties: explosive: explodes or causes explosion.

  • flammable: ignites easily and burns rapidly.
  • oxidising: could be gaseous, solid or liquid and can cause or intensify fire and explosion.
  • toxic: can harm people if it enters the body through contact, being inhaled or ingested. The effects can range from mild to life threatening, and can be immediate or long term.
  • corrosive: can cause severe skin burns and eye damage.
  • ecotoxic: is toxic to the environment.
Hazardous substances inventory

An inventory is a list of hazardous substances (including hazardous waste) that are used, handled, manufactured, or stored at any workplace. If your business has multiple sites, you must have an inventory for each. For each hazardous substance your inventory must include:

  • the substance’s name and UN number (if available)
  • the maximum amount likely to be at the workplace
  •  its location
  • any specific storage and segregation requirements
  • a current safety data sheet or a condensed version of the key information from the safety data sheet
  • any hazardous waste
Health Monitoring

Health monitoring is a way to check if the health of workers is being harmed from exposure to substances hazardous to health while carrying out work and aims to detect early signs of ill-health or disease. Health monitoring is not:

  • wellbeing checks (eg cholesterol checks) or programmes (eg promoting healthy living)
  • fitness to work examinations.
  •  Drug testing
Hierarchy of control

The hierarchy of control is a system for controlling risks in the workplace. The hierarchy of control is a step-by-step approach to eliminating or reducing risks and it ranks risk controls from the highest level of protection and reliability through to the lowest and least reliable protection.


A Health and Safety committee (HSC) supports the ongoing improvement of health and safety at work. An HSC enables PCBU representatives, workers and other HSC members to meet regularly and work co-operatively to ensure workers’ health and safety.


Health and safety representatives (HSRs) are workers elected by members of their work group to represent them in health and safety matters.


Health and Safety at Work Act – The key work health and safety law in New Zealand. All work and workplaces are covered by HSWA unless specifically excluded.



Any event or occurrence resulting in, or having a potential for injury, ill-health, damage or other loss

Injury - work

Any injury occurring in the course of work-related activities.

Inventory - hazardous substances

An inventory is a list of hazardous substances (including hazardous waste) that are used, handled, manufactured or stored at any workplace that you, as a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), manage or control. It will help you understand the substances you have on site, work out the requirements you must comply with and plan your emergency procedures. Businesses are required to have an inventory of all their hazardous substances. It’s important to know what hazardous substances you have in order to safely manage their risks to your workers and others who may be exposed to hazardous substances in your workplace.


A process of gathering information about an incident to find out why it happened and how to stop it from happening again.


International Organisation of Standardisation. It is an international standard development organization composed of representatives from the national standards organizations of member countries. ISO standards are developed here, for example ISO 45001, which is the ISO standard for occupational health and safety management systems.



Job Safety Analysis; Step-by-step descriptions of how to do a task, job or activity safely.





Mobile Elevated Work Platform. The complete machine including the platform, lifting mechanism, attachments, chassis or vehicle as applicable. Work platforms where the height of the platform can be adjusted by powered scissor mechanisms, telescoping boom or tower, articulation, or any combination of these. They can be vehicle-mounted, self-propelled, towed or moved by hand and used to access work above or below ground level.


To take steps that protect the health and safety of people by reducing the likelihood of an event occurring, reducing the level of harm to people if it does occur, or both. 


Near Miss

An incident which did not result in injury, illness, damage or other loss, but potentially could have.



An observed safe (positive) or unsafe (hazardous) act or condition.


An officer is a person who has the ability to significantly influence the management of a PCBU. Officers must exercise due diligence to ensure the PCBU meets its health and safety obligations.

Operational policy

Provides information on ‘how WorkSafe decides’ – gives detail to support regulatory function policies.



Person conducting a business or undertaking. In most cases a PCBU will be a business entity, such as a company. However, an individual carrying out business as a sole trader or self-employed person is also a PCBU. A PCBU does not include workers or officers of a PCBU, volunteer associations with no employees, or home occupiers that employ or engage a tradesperson to carry out residential work.

Permit to work

Authorisation to carry out high risk work. Involves a permit issuer and a permit receiver. It sets out the additional controls that must be in place for certain high risk work to occur. It also includes the timeframe that the permit is valid for. Permit issuers and permit receivers should be trained and competent.


Personal protective equipment. Anything used or worn by a person (including clothing) to reduce risks to the person’s health and safety. PCBUs have a duty to provide PPE, and also related duties covering selecting, using/wearing, maintaining, repairing and replacing PPE (see Hierarchy of Controls).



Reasonably practicable

What is or was reasonably able to be done to ensure health and safety taking into account and weighing up relevant matters including: the likelihood of the risk concerned occurring or workers being exposed to the hazard, the degree of harm that might result, what the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about: the hazard or risk, ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk, after assessing the extent of the risk and the available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, the cost associated with available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, including whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk. Control measures can only not be implemented where cost is grossly disproportionate.


Worksafe New Zealand or other relevant regulatory agency.

Risk assessment

A risk assessment is a systematic process that involves identifying, analyzing and controlling hazards and risks. It is performed by a competent person to determine which measures are, or should be, in place to eliminate or control the risk in the workplace in any potential situation.

Risk matrix

A matrix to determine risk, using a calculation of likelihood and degree of harm (often referred to as severity or consequence). When determining the risk of a hazard consider how, where, how much and how long individuals are exposed to a potential hazard.


Arise from people being exposed to a hazard (a source of harm). The chance that somebody will be harmed by a hazard. An indication of how serious that harm could be. The likelihood that harm could happen under circumstance of use or exposure and the extent of that harm.



Safety data sheet/material safety data sheet/product safety data sheet. Describes the properties and uses of a substance, that is, its identity, chemical and physical properties, health hazard information, precautions for use, and safe handling information.


Standard Operating Procedure; Step-by-step descriptions of how to do a task, job or activity safely.


Site Specific Safety Plan


A set of requirements (can be technical) used to measure a level or attainment eg. NZQA Standard.


Site Traffic Management Supervisor: The person in charge of the traffic management of a roadworks site.


A person, company or organisation (can be referred to as PCBU 2) that has been contracted to carry out work that another person, company or organisation (can be referred to as PCBU 1) is responsible for.


Safe Work Method Statement; Step-by-step descriptions of how to do a task, job or activity safely.


TA or T/A

Task Analysis

Test & tag

Electrical Testing and Tagging is the process by which electrical appliances are inspected and tested for safety in accordance with the AS/NZS 3760 Standard.  The testing process will include visual inspection, earth continuity, voltage and amperage.

Trained and Competent Worker

A worker that has received training (can include qualifications), has knowledge or experience, and can demonstrate that they can carry out a task correctly and safely.





Workplace exposure standards (WES) are values that refer to the airborne concentration of substances at which it is believed that nearly all workers can be repeatedly exposed day after day without coming to harm.


An individual who carries out work in any capacity for a PCBU. A worker may be an employee, a contractor or sub-contractor, an employee of a contractor or sub-contractor, an employee of a labour hire company, an outworker (including a homeworker), an apprentice or a trainee, a person gaining work experience or on a work trial, or a volunteer worker. Workers can be at any level (eg managers are workers too). A sole trader is both a PCBU and a worker.

Worker engagement, participation and representation

Engagement – how a PCBU involves workers in health and safety matters and decisions in the workplace. The PCBU has to engage with its workers when doing or planning anything that will affect worker’s health and safety. Participation – ways that workers can raise health and safety concerns, suggest ways to improve health and safety, and be involved in decisions that affect work health and safety. Representation – having one or more people representing workers on health and safety matters. Representative – a person, such as a Health and Safety Representative, who workers can approach about health and safety issues who will in turn raise them with the PCBU on the workers’ behalf.


Any place where a worker goes or is likely to be while at work, or where work is being carried out or is customarily carried out. Most duties under HSWA relate to the conduct of work. However some duties are linked to workplaces. 

Work-related health

Work-related health is about the impact work can have on people’s health, and the impact a person’s health can have on their or others’ safety at work. In the past, we’ve called it occupational health.

WorkSafe New Zealand/WorkSafe

The government agency that’s the key work health and safety regulator. Other government agencies can be designated to carry out certain health and safety functions, for example, Maritime New Zealand and the Civil Aviation Authority. Previous work health and safety regulators include OSH, Department of Labour, and MBIE.