Maritime sector gets on board with HSWA

Maritime New Zealand is helping maritime operators prepare to meet the requirements of the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) that came into force today (4 April 2016).

“Many maritime operators have a head start because they’ve entered the Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS), which covers off a number of the new HSWA requirements. We’ve prepared guidance to help operators understand how MOSS and the HSWA work together,” Maritime NZ Director Keith Manch said.

“We are also training and warranting 35 Maritime Officers and other staff who will carry out inspections. They will be an excellent source of information for operators.”

Maritime NZ is the regulator for health and safety on vessels that are workplaces. It has released a suite of seven new guidance documents that explain different elements of the HSWA and how maritime operators can comply with new duties on due diligence, worker engagement, overlapping and upstream responsibilities, facilities, and managing asbestos. The guidance is tailored to how these requirements apply in a maritime setting.

More plain English information, specific to industry sectors, will be issued over the coming months and a Health and Safety Guide will be produced by the end of June 2016.

MOSS was introduced on 1 July 2014, and at 24 March, 2016, 771 operators – and 1678 vessels – were either in MOSS or were completing the application process. Current estimates are that more than 2600 vessels will be in MOSS when all operators have completed the MOSS entry process, by June 2018.

Maritime Officers plan to align HSWA inspections with MOSS audits. Operators won’t be charged extra for time spent on HSWA.

“In the early stages of the Act coming into force, we’ll focus on supporting operators and helping them understand how the new requirements impact their operations,” says Keith. “However, we will expect operators to either have plans in place, or be making plans, to meet these new requirements.

“Many of the requirements of the new Act reflect what has been part of the previous legislation and/or is required by MOSS. Overall, we will take a risk-based and proportionate approach. Action taken in any specific situation will depend on the circumstances as set out in our published compliance operating model.”

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