Health and Safety at Work 2015 implications for Aged care and Retirement Villages

I’ve been working through the new Health and Safety at Work 2015 legislation and have concerns about how this applies to not only care facilities and new reporting requirements, but also to Villages.  This legislation could cause all sorts of issues for you and in my view needs further clarification as to how it is to be applied to ARRC residential care setting and Villages that come under the RVA.

The Retirement Villages Association define a ‘Licence to Occupy’ as –

Licence to occupy – This is the most common form of occupation right in New Zealand. A licence to occupy gives you the right to live in your residential unit and to use to village facilities according to the terms of the licence to occupy. The ownership of the land and building remain with the village operator.”

The new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 which applies from the 4th of April 2016 requires a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) to report notifiable injuries or illnesses and all notifiable incidents. Looking closer at the terminology used in the legislation is states in relation to responsibility to notify

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
Sub Section part 2 – clause 37 Duty of PCBU who manages or controls workplace  (
this appears to apply to Village operators as well as ARRC providers)

(4) In this section, a PCBU who manages or controls a workplace—

(a) means a PCBU to the extent that the business or undertaking involves the management or control (in whole or in part) of the workplace; but
(b) does not include—
(i) the occupier of a residence, unless the residence is occupied for the purposes of, or as part of, the conduct of a business or undertaking.

The red text seems to be the rationale for notifications being required from care facilities but it would seem it also applies to village units, studios and apartments.  How are you going to know if your village residents have had an injury or illness which is classified as notifiable?

Part 1 Section 23 –  Meaning of notifiable injury or illness

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, a notifiable injury or illness, in relation to a person, means—
(a) any of the following injuries or illnesses that require the person to have immediate treatment (other than first aid):

(i) the amputation of any part of his or her body:
(ii) a serious head injury: (
This could apply in the case of a fall where a resident has a knock to their head?)
(iii) a serious eye injury:
(iv) a serious burn:
(v) the separation of his or her skin from an underlying tissue (such as
degloving or scalping): (
Does this apply to skin tears of a particular size?)
(vi) a spinal injury:
(vii) the loss of a bodily function:  (
Fall resulting in fracture?)
(viii) serious lacerations:

(b) an injury or illness that requires, or would usually require, the person to be admitted to a hospital for immediate treatment:
(c) an injury or illness that requires, or would usually require, the person to have medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance:

Implementing this into this sector may be difficult due to the rights to privacy of those living in ‘independent’ ORA situations. The key definer in this section is clause a) any of the following injuries or illnesses that require the person to have immediate treatment (other than first aid).  If an ambulance is called to attend to a village resident this could be deemed ‘immediate treatment’.

Part 1 Section 24 – Meaning of notifiable incident –

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, a notifiable incident means an unplanned or uncontrolled incident in relation to a workplace that exposes a
worker or any other person
to a serious risk to that person’s health or safety arising from an immediate or imminent exposure to—

(a) an escape, a spillage, or a leakage of a substance; or
(b) an implosion, explosion, or fire; or
(c) an escape of gas or steam; or
(d) an escape of a pressurised substance; or
(e) an electric shock; or
(f) the fall or release from a height of any plant, substance, or thing; or
(g) the collapse, overturning, failure, or malfunction of, or damage to, any
plant that is required to be authorised for use in accordance with regulations;
(h) the collapse or partial collapse of a structure; or
(i) the collapse or failure of an excavation or any shoring supporting an excavation;
(j) the inrush of water, mud, or gas in workings in an underground excavation or tunnel; or
(k) the interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel; or
(l) a collision between 2 vessels, a vessel capsize, or the inrush of water into a vessel; or
(m) any other incident declared by regulations to be a notifiable incident for the purposes of this section.

Clearly the majority of these apply to manufacturing and industrial sites however some could potentially be applied to the care and village setting.

What do you see as your liabilities?  What is the responsibility for the operator in managing potential risk?  Which assessment tools and accompanying definitions are we best to apply if any?  If alcohol consumption by a resident or failing cognitive state is likely to contribute to their safety, where are the boundaries for responsibility between the resident and the operator? 

Share your comments ….