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Recreation groups applaud Worksafe New Zealand for clear guidance on access

Recreation groups applaud Worksafe New Zealand for clear guidance on access
June 5, 2019

New guidance by Worksafe New Zealand clarifying access to recreational spaces has been welcomed by Recreation Aotearoa and the New Zealand Alpine Club (NZAC).

Since the passage of the Health & Safety at Work Act in 2015, recreational access has been threatened by what Recreation Aotearoa refer to as "many confusing myths".

However, the new Worksafe guidance makes it clear that if someone accesses land for recreation and hurts themselves as a result of the activity, the PCBU who provided access isn’t responsible.

Following the release of the guidance, Recreation Aotearoa and the NZAC have both extended their thanks to WorkSafe for producing a policy clarification that will dispel myths and perceived risks around recreational access to private and public land.

Released following several years of advocacy by Recreation Aotearoa and the NZAC, Recreation Aotearoa Advocacy Manager, Sam Newton explains "we have been collaborating with WorkSafe on producing this guidance for over a year, so it is great to see it get over the line.

"New Zealand has long benefited from good relationships between landowners and recreational users. Access to our bush, mountains, lakes and streams is part of what it means to be a New Zealander.

"However, since the passage of the H&S at Work Act in 2015, this has been threatened by a myriad of confusing myths and unnecessary legalise in relation to recreational access."

John Palmer, President of NZAC added "Worksafe have made it perfectly clear: PCBU's don't have to manage the risks of the recreational activity. That's the responsibility of the person doing the activity. If someone accesses land for recreation and hurts themselves as a result of the recreation activity, the PCBU who provided access isn't responsible.

"That is the message we need to spread far and wide.

"Our work on this issue was triggered by the closure of the rock-climbing crag at Auckland Grammar school. This guidance will hopefully resolve that situation and prevent other similar closures in the future."

Both organisations hope that this guidance will be widely promulgated across New Zealand.

A PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking) is a broad term used throughout work health and safety legislation to describe a range of business activities and modern working arrangements

Click here for more information on the Worksafe New Zealand website.

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