H&S Regs – Asbestos Industry (NZ)

Since the release of The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 the whole asbestos removal industry in New Zealand seems to be so confused about what they need to do to comply with the safety system requirements that are being imposed on them in April 2018.

..the issues that are being reported basically jeopardise the integrity of the entire certification industry and could  negatively impact the asbestos removal industry and NZ industry as a whole..

A few comments we have heard from the asbestos removalists in the past few weeks:

  • “I feel very confused as I’ve been told by one certifier that I need an audit against either AS/NZS 4801 or OHSAS 18001 and the requirements of the regulations by April 2018, actually all I need is certification to AS/NZS or OHSAS 18001, the regulations/legislation is covered in my safety system and should not be audited by a safety system certifier. WorkSafe cover legislation, system certifiers cover voluntary standards not legislation compliance”Stephen, NZ

  • “I’m already at stage one of my audit process with my certification body heading towards certification to the AS/NZ4801 standard, as far as I am concerned this meets the new Asbestos Safety Regs. Now I am being told by a sales guy from a big NZ certifier that my certification wont meet the regs. What the hell is going in this industry. I feel angry and misinformed”Kev, NZ

  • “I feel like we are all being shafted from all angles, I have attended industry meetings and we all sit there and I feel we get bullied by government representatives, a certifier, management consultants, and other parties that are trying to make money by using scare tactics. All these organisations seem to have their own agendas and the asbestos industry is being destroyed because of it”Natalie, NZ

  • “The industry needs someone with some sense and knowledge to help us all meet the legislation in a user friendly way”Scared Asbestos Removalist, South Island, NZ

  • “Two government related organisations are pushing a new standard (Class A asbestos removal licensees in New Zealand) that they have developed and I feel they have their own agendas, it feels that the interests of these two government related organisations are at the forefront rather than the interests of NZ industry”Sarah, NZ

  • “I am a small asbestos removal company with 7 staff and I feel like I am being milked, I feel we are all being herded into a  situation that will kill the small removalists, a monopoly of a few large players is the end goal. Why would NZ government empower such a scheme? What is the driving force behind such a crazy thing to occur, the new regs are simply an industry specific health and safety regulation to keep people safe, this is not what is happening, people are using the law to line their own pockets. I hope Labour make some changes or all the small hard working guys will suffer”Murray, North Island, NZ

What’s needed to comply, April 2018

The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 require all Class A Asbestos Removalists to have a certified safety management system by 04 April 2018. This system can be based on either AS/NZS 4801:2001 or OHSAS 18001, and requires auditing by a JAS-ANZ accredited Conformity Assessment Body (CAB).

We provide the Health & Safety Management System certifications you need if you wish to meet the The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016.

We have been auditing and certifying Class A Asbestos Removalists in New Zealand for over 3 years; we have auditors that have the required competencies to ensure the audits are conducted in compliance with the asbestos industry rules and regulations. Before choosing your certifier we recommend that you check to ensure sure they are competent to do the job, there are some companies in New Zealand apparently being misled by other certifiers. If you require references from other Asbestos Removalists in New Zealand we have been auditing certifying please ask us and we can give you their details.

There are other certification options being promoted out there in NZ industry but the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 requires AS/NZS 4801 so why would you want to choose anything else? For some strange reason WorkSafe NZ are recommending OHSAS 18001 as their go-to-standard, this seems very interesting considering AS/NZS 4801 was designed and published for NZ conditions and was supported by NZ Government and now they seem to have changed their minds.

AS/NZS 4801 and all other safety standards like OHSAS 18001  and soon to be released ISO 45001 and Work Safe Warranty all interrelate, with nearly identical requirements and exactly the same intent.

..the overall intent (a framework for managing death, injury and ill health) is 100% consistent across AS/NZS 4801, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001 standards safety management system standards..

It seems that the NZ government and their agencies involved in safety are confused between systems and standards. If you have a functioning safety management system (this has been a legal requirement for years anyway) it should already comply with the majority of the requirements of these standards. All safety management system standards include the same basic requirements, they are just packaged up in a slightly different format under a different brand/number.

..the AS/NZS 4801 standard  is the best suited safety certification standard for the NZ asbestos removal industry; do not listen to organisations clearly pushing their own agenda for their own financial gain..

Things NZ asbestos industry should know

  • Do you feel you are being misled by what you have been told? http://intlcert.com/safety-certification-for-the-new-asbestos-regulations
  • How long should the audits be for safety audits? – http://intlcert.com/asbestos-removalists-safety-nz
  • There seems to be organisations looking at the asbestos industry as a cash cow
  • Accredited certification bodies auditing safety management systems should not be auditing legislative compliance as a norm unless the standard/program that they are auditing includes this as an extra requirement.
  • The “WorkSafe Class A Asbestos Removal Safety Standard” is nothing more than the OHSAS 18001 standard plus some of the requirements of the H&S Asbestos Regs, these regs are being sold as “bolt ons” and are directly pasted into the standard.
  • The standard (ISO 17021-1) that all accredited certification bodies are audited against states that “A management system certification audit is not a legal compliance audit“. The new “WorkSafe Class A Asbestos Removal Safety Standard” includes requirements from Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016. This then becomes a legislation audit.
  • All the standards, AS/NZS 4801, OHSAS 18001 and the soon to be released ISO 45001 standard are all very similar in their requirements.
  • As of today (4/11/17) we have 335 certified clients registered to AS/NZS 4801, Telarc who claim to be NZ’s largest certifier have less than 100.
  • Conformity Assessment Bodies/Certification Bodies DO NOT usually audit legal compliance.
  • Certifiers CANNOT have partner relationships with safety consultants as this is a huge conflict of interest. There are reports of a government owned certifier recommending a consultancy company to their clients to help with getting them ready for safety certification. This again breaks the requirements of ISO 17021-1 and basically jeopardises the integrity of the entire certification industry.

Cross Reference Matrix Safety Standards

We have developed a cross reference matrix document to aid in clarifying standard requirements for the NZ asbestos removalists due to the huge confusion.

Click the link below to open the PDF version of this matrix document (beware it is 40 MB)

Compliance Marix for safety standards asbetos industry NZ

If you require any solid information around safety management system certification to comply with the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 feel free to contact us for a chat.


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