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Frequently Asked Questions for New Zealand Safety Compliance Documents

Looking for answers? Below is an FAQ that will hopefully answer most of your questions.

Didn't find what you were looking for? Please feel free to call our friendly customer service team on 1300 306 604 or send us an email

Work Method Statements Explained

Work Method Statements: Am I required to have them to be compliant?

Although there is no specific requirement for a document called a ‘Work Method Statement’ (or ‘Safe Work Method Statement’ as it is known in Australia), S36 (3)(c)(f) of the NZ Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 places a duty on the person conducting the business to ensure the provision and maintenance of safe systems of work and, to provide any information, training or instruction necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety.

A Work Method Statement is a way to provide this information, training or instruction to workers.

Work Method Statements have become such a common and valuable tool that many businesses in New Zealand use them as part of their safety systems, even though they are not legislated for use by New Zealand.

In fact many Principal Contractors (PC), local government bodies and other parties accepting tenders for contracts, request Work Method Statements to be included in a contractor’s safety systems. This demonstrates to the PC that the contractors have received the appropriate health and safety training and instruction to carry out their job prior to arriving onsite.

What information should a Work Method Statement contain?

Work Method Statements generally contain the following:

  1. Identifies the task that is high risk
  2. Lists the hazards relating to the task and the risks(chance of an incident and severity) to health and safety
  3. Describes the measures to be employed to control the risks
  4. Describes how the control measures will be implemented, monitored and reviewed.

It is recommended that a WMS also include the following information:

  • the PCBU's name, address and NZBN (if they have one)
  • details of the person(s) responsible for ensuring implementation, monitoring and compliance with the WMS
  • the name of the principal contractor
  • the address where the work will be carried out
  • the date prepared
  • the review date (if any)

It is important that the information included in WMS is clearly set out, be easily accessible and fully understood by all site supervisors and workers. The content of a WMS should provide adequate directions on how the risk controls will be implemented.

Download our 10-point checklist guide to writing a Work Method Statement here 

Understanding Workplace Health & Safety Management Systems

What is a Workplace Health & Safety Management System?

A Health and Safety at Work Management System provides a practical guide for employers to manage occupational health and safety in their workplace. Full of essential policies and procedures to guide the actions and behaviours of all employees, a management system assists business operators in providing a safe and compliant workplace.

A Health and Safety at Work Management System generally contains the following components:

  • A collection of essential policies and procedures
    • covers areas such as incident management, drug and alcohol, sun safety, workplace bullying, hearing protection, first aid, emergency management plus more
  • A comprehensive collection of forms and checklists for easy record keeping
    • risk assessment form, workplace contractors register, hazard report form, incident report form, plant and equipment maintenance logs, worker training and induction register plus more
  • Environmental Management Plan

Am I required to have a Workplace Health & Safety Management System?

As a Person Conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) you are responsible for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, that you provide and maintain a “safe systems of work” (eg work processes). This means you need a method of communicating these processes and implementing them into your business. The basis for this process begins with a Health and Safety at Work Management System (HSWMS).

What is a policy?

Policies are a set of mission statements that clarify how a business intends to address workplace health and safety issues. They guide and influence decisions to reach a desired outcome. 

A policy generally consists of the following:

  • Statement
  • Objective
  • Scope
  • Policy Statements
  • Responsibilities

What is a procedure?

Procedures are a set of instructions which outline the step-by-step sequence of actions to be followed. Procedures generally outline the following:

  • Who is responsible for what
  • What steps need to be taken
  • Which form or document they should use

Simple and easy to follow procedures can take on several forms including:

  • Work Method Statements
  • Safe Operating Procedures
  • Flowcharts
  • Checklists
  • Registers

Why is it necessary to keep OHS records?

Maintaining adequate health and safety records is important for a number of reasons. Besides helping your business meet legislative requirements, keeping health and safety records allows businesses to:

  • monitor health and safety performance
  • prevent incident and injuries from reoccurring
  • document risks and control measures implemented
  • provide material for training and education
  • provide health and safety inspectors with OHS records requested

OHS records commonly used in the workplace:

  • Forms
  • Checklists
  • Registers
  • Procedures
  • Logs
  • Records

Essentially OHS records help your business document when a certain action has taken place.

For example, say an injury has occurred on site, your business has a responsibility to ensure the event has been recorded, in this case, an Event / Injury form should be completed.

Safe Operating Procedures Explained

What is a Safe Operating Procedure?

A Safe Operating Procedure (SOP) or Safe Work Procedure (SWP) provides a way for your business to:

  • outline step-by-step safe processes for specific equipment operation and work activities
  • ensure workers are adequately trained
  • communicate the preferred way to safely perform work tasks
  • identify hazards with the added Risk Assessment Form included

A Safe Operating Procedure generally considers the associated risks of completing a task during the following times:

  • Before operating / commencing works
  • When operating / performing the task
  • After Use Checks

Workplaces generally place Safe Operating Procedures on or near pieces of equipment or near areas where works are to carried out, so that workers can easily access them.

Is my business obligated to have Safe Operating Procedures?

Although business are not legally required to have Safe Operating procedures, the NZ Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 places a duty on the person conducting the business to ensure the provision and maintenance of safe systems of work and, to provide any information, training or instruction necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety.

A Safe Operating Procedure provides a way to deliver this training, information and instruction in a simple and easy to follow document.

Receiving Your documents

How long will it take to receive my documents?

Your purchased products will be emailed to you directly upon receipt of payment from our online store and normally takes no more than 30 minutes. For payments made via bank deposit, documents will be provided upon receipt of payment or upon the confirmation of payment from the SafetyCulture Account Department (Note: This can take up to 2 days). Should you have any issues receiving your documents our Customer Service Team is here to assist and can be reached on 1300 306 604 during business hours.

How do I download my purchased products?

All our documents are emailed upon receipt of payment, in Microsoft Word format (MS Word), ready for you to download, save and edit as required. Note: You will need Microsoft Word installed on your computer to use any SafetyCulture template.

A Safe Operating Procedure provides a way to deliver this training, information and instruction in a simple and easy to follow document.