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WorkSafe NZ grants registration grace period for adventure activities operators

WorkSafe NZ grants registration grace period for adventure activities operators
October 9, 2014

WorkSafe New Zealand Chief Executive Gordon MacDonald has announced that 192 adventure activity operators have been granted a short extension to a deadline requiring them to be registered under new Adventure Activities Regulations.

The extension allows those operators that are well advanced in the audit process an additional four weeks, until 1st December, to complete the final stages of their audit and become certified.

Explaining the move, MacDonald stated “we know the majority of operators have worked hard to get through the safety audit process and make positive changes to their safety management systems where needed.

“The operators that will benefit from this extension are very close to becoming certified and registered. We don’t want to penalise those companies that are on track to become registered but may just miss the 1st November deadline.”

The extension applies to adventure activities operators where WorkSafe NZ is satisfied that they:

• Are already well advanced in the audit process and have developed and documented a credible safety management system; and

• Have made reasonable efforts to become registered in a timely way, in particular they have submitted their safety documentation to a Government-recognised certification body no later than 25th September 2014; and

• Have a reasonable prospect of becoming certified and registered with the benefit of a short extension; and

• Have no other safety concerns in the view of WorkSafe NZ.

MacDonald says the brief extension is another step WorkSafe NZ has taken to support those operators that are committed to having robust safety systems in place, adding “the safety audit and registration process will help strengthen the professionalism of the adventure activities sector and lift safety standards across the board.

“But it would be counterproductive to make it illegal for these businesses to operate. They would need to cancel bookings, let staff go and close their doors, when they already have safety systems in place and are so close to becoming certified and registered. Now they can prioritise their time to get through the last steps to meet the new regulatory requirements." Those operators who are not registered and do not have an extension will face enforcement action from 1st November.

MacDonald did caution that “the Adventure Activities Regulations are there to save lives and reduce harm. Operators who are operating outside of the law from 1st November will face enforcement action.”

Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIANZ) Chief Executive Chris Roberts has welcomed Worksafe NZ’s move as being “pragmatic”, stating “this is a sensible move by WorkSafe NZ. The extension means adventure activities operators already well through the audit process won’t be penalised and should have time to finalise their registration without interrupting their business."

About half of the businesses currently going through the audit process are tourism operators.

Roberts added “adventure tourism safety is a priority area for TIA and we will continue working with WorkSafe and operators to strengthen safety across the sector.

“We want all tourism operators to be offering visitors a safe and enjoyable experience – and having the right systems and processes in place is part of their obligation.

“TIANZ will continue to assist its members and other tourism operators to complete the audit requirements.”

Image courtesy of Ziptrek Ecotours. Image used for illustrative purposes only.





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