Health and safety

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Health and safety obligations can seem onerous. We’ll help clarify best practice for a safe and compliant work environment.

All organisations should be aware of their obligations and responsibilities under New Zealand’s health and safety legislation. Breaching these requirements can be costly for organisations, with potential for financial, commercial, and reputational consequences.

Our reputation as leading health and safety law experts is built on our specialist knowledge of the relevant legislation and how it applies to specific industries. We’ll provide you with strategic advice focused on effective methods of compliance so you can successfully manage your legal risk. Health and safety issues often intersect with industrial relations, accident compensation, and discrimination claims. Our team is trained to view matters within an organisation’s industrial and commercial landscape, rather than focusing only on the legal issues.

Our health and safety practice spans a wide range of industries, both in the public and private sectors. We do a significant amount of work in the energy and resources, construction, health, transport and manufacturing industries where there is often an inherent risk of serious injury. We understand how the health and safety enforcement agencies operate.  We use that knowledge to assist our clients through the investigation process, including attendance at interviews and proactive engagement with agencies to minimise the risk of prosecutions and other enforcement actions.  We have significant experience defending clients where prosecutions are brought in the civil courts.

We are regularly called on to guide boards and individual directors and officers on protections against personal liability in the health and safety context. Our team is actively involved in educating on health and safety. Partner, Stacey Shortall, is co-author of the Thomson Reuters book titled Health and Safety at Work in New Zealand: Know the Law. You will also benefit from our in-house training and workshops for clients and presentations at health and safety industry conferences. 

Working with you, we’ll draw on our knowledge of the particular obligations and responsibilities involved, as well as industry best practice measures, to help you successfully manage your risks. 

We advise clients on:
  • developing and implementing health and safety policies, manuals, procedures and contractor management systems
  • training and education 
  • incident preparedness and response
  • handling internal investigations, WorkSafe and Police investigations
  • acting as defence counsel where charges are brought and/or coronial inquests held
  • crisis management.
Recent highlights
Pike River Tragedy

Acting as lead counsel for certain company directors and officers, including Pike River’s former CEO and board chairman, before the Royal Commission into the Pike River Tragedy and at the Coronial Inquest.  Also defending Pike River’s former CEO in his prosecution for alleged health and safety violations.  


Advising ASSA ABLOY, the world’s most advanced designer and manufacturer of entrance solution systems, on a range of issues pertaining to its local manufacturing and distribution business, working closely with local and regional management. Work includes COVID-19 and day-to-day related health and safety and employment advice, collective bargaining, and responding to alleged grievances and/or other issues arising.

COVID-19 advice

Assisting a range of clients navigating complex issues arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic and its interplay with employment, health and safety, and privacy law. Key areas of advice and support include restructures, Government subsidy schemes, vaccination mandates, dismissals for unvaccinated employees, and associated disputes.

Health and safety investigations and defence work

Acting for numerous clients in the public and private sectors facing investigations and prosecutions relating to serious injuries or fatalities occurring in workplaces. Also providing ‘front-end’ advice to assist clients ensure they have adequate health and safety systems in place.

Employment advisers to leading airline

Providing collective bargaining advice to the Qantas Group, as well as day-to-day advice across a range of employment and health and safety matters.

Coronial investigations

Acting for clients in the construction, transport and pharmaceutical industries in Coronial proceedings, including appearing as counsel.