FMC is stoked to see WorkSafe’s new guidance about health & safety law and recreational access. This vexed issue has been needlessly causing concerned landowners to block access because they were concerned about their liability under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. FMC lobbied hard when the new legislation was being developed, and although we (with others) got some wins, there was still some doubt in the minds of some landowners. A high profile example was the closure of the well-known Mt Eden Quarry crag on the grounds of Auckland Grammar school. We took part in a workshop convened by WorkSafe last year, where it was clear that all parties wanted to make sure that uncertainty about the law would no longer be a barrier to access.
The new guidance couldn’t be clearer:
- PCBUs* don’t have to manage the risks of the recreational activity. That’s the responsibility of the person doing the activity.
- PCBUs aren’t responsible for naturally occurring features that aren’t part of, or affected by, their work.
- If someone accesses land for recreation and hurts themselves as a result of the recreation activity, the PCBU who provided access isn’t responsible.
Full details are at https://worksafe.govt.nz/laws-and-regulations/operational-policy-framework/operational-policies/policy-clarification-recreational-access-and-the-health-and-safety-at-work-act-2015/ . There’s a link to a document called Frequently Asked Questions: Recreational access and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. It might be worth putting a copy with your map or downloading it to your phone, so that you can show a concerned landowner.
*PCBU = Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking. A PCBU is the person is responsible for safety at a workplace.
Photo at top: Polytech students climbing at Mt Eden Quarry before it was closed over concerns for health and safety liability. (c) Tania Seward