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Defining the General Duties

The HSE Act sets out general duties, which are in turn supplemented by regulations, approved codes of practice, and guidelines developed by, or in conjunction with, the Department of Labour.

Regulations made under the Act describe requirements that apply to specific work situations. Like the Act, regulations are enforceable, and breaches may result in prosecution or infringement notices.

Approved codes of practice are statements of preferred practice or arrangements, which have been approved by the Minister of Labour under the Act. Their requirements are not mandatory or enforceable as such, but their observance is accepted in Court as evidence of good practice.

Guidelines developed by -- or in conjunction with -- the Department may not have undergone a formal approval process. They are nevertheless an important source of guidance for employers and others on how to meet the HSE Act’s requirements.

Where appropriate, New Zealand or other Standards may be cited in approved codes of practice or guidelines.