Keeping people healthy and safe
These pages provide information and resources to help support and promote the health, safety and wellbeing of staff and ākonga. This includes planning for and responding to emergencies, managing risks, providing wellbeing and pastoral support and more.
It is essential that leaders of schools and early learning services have a comprehensive understanding of their health and safety responsibilities and good practice.
Information on key health and safety legislation and the importance of developing an active health and safety culture.
Roles and responsibilities
Guidance on the different roles and responsibilities involved in health and safety, including the responsibilities of leadership and other duty holders, understanding what a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) is and contractor responsibilities.
Key elements of a good health and safety system
This section provides information about the key areas of focus that make up a good health and safety system. You may find this a useful model to follow when considering the health and safety practices and situation at your school or early learning service.
A good system will include a workplace health and safety plan which is regularly reviewed. This doesn’t necessarily need to be written down, as a collection of relevant procedures and simple practices may work better for you. It is putting the plan into practice that matters.
A guide with further information on developing a health and safety plan can be found at:
Advice for people considering using an external health and safety advisor can be found at:
Your school or early learning service should have a documented health and safety policy. The policy should reflect your commitment to providing and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace and to providing the information, training and supervision needed to achieve this to ensure the health and safety of all ākonga, workers and other people in the workplace. The policy, together with accompanying management procedures, needs to be properly communicated to all the people it covers in such a way that they clearly understand what is required of them.
The key components of a good health and safety system are listed below. Each page includes a list of questions to consider so you can quickly identify where you might need to review or change your practice:
- Worker participation – effective worker participation practices, e.g. health and safety representatives and committees.
- Managing risk – how to keep ākonga and staff safe both on and off-site by identifying, assessing and managing risks.
- Property and equipment – property maintenance and the provision of appropriate equipment for particular activities.
- Injury and illness – management of worker injuries and illnesses, reporting incidents to WorkSafe and providing a support and rehabilitation programme.
- Health and wellbeing – support and promotion of the health and wellbeing of your staff and ākonga.
- Induction, training and information – guidance on providing health and safety training and information for workers and others.
- Monitoring, reporting and assurance – what a monitoring and reporting system is and how to promote a commitment to continuously improving health and safety.
- Emergencies and traumatic incidents – resources to help schools and early learning services prepare for and deal with a natural disaster, pandemic or traumatic incident, including criminal acts or suicide.
- Education outside the classroom guidelines – Te Kete Ipurangi website(external link) – guidance to support good health and safety practices and procedures for teaching and learning outside the classroom.
- School trips overseas and exchanges – resources and advice for schools taking overseas trips.
- COVID-19 - Te Mahau(external link) – advice and guidance specific to COVID-19.
Our glossary helps explain some of the common terms you may come across when reading about health and safety:
Further helpful health and safety information can be found on the WorkSafe website and in the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) resource centre:
Key contacts and useful websites for other public service agencies with information relevant to the education sector, e.g. Immigration NZ, Te Whatu Ora (Health), Human Rights Commission, Heathline and NZQA.
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