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Upstream duties

The new work health and safety laws (WHS laws) impose duties on ‘upstream’ parties such as manufacturers, suppliers, designers and importers of plant, structures and substances.

Plant

Any machinery, equipment, appliance, container, implement or tool, including any component of any of those things and anything fitted or connected to any of those things.

Structures

Anything that is constructed, whether fixed or moveable, temporary or permanent and includes buildings, masts, towers, framework, pipelines, transport infrastructure and underground works (shafts or tunnels), any component of a structure, and part of a structure.

Substances

Any natural or artificial substance in the form of a solid, liquid, gas or vapour.

If you are an upstream duty holder you need to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that these products are without risks to the health and safety of people at or near the workplace.

Designers

If you are a designer of plant, structures or substances, your duties under the new laws can be summarised as follows:

General duties

  • If the product you design is to be used or could reasonably be expected to be used at a workplace, you need to ensure that all workplace activity relating to the product (including its use, handling, construction, storage, dismantling and disposal) is designed to be without risks to health or safety.

Testing

  • You must carry out any calculations, analysis, tests and examinations sufficient to ensure that your product is safe and without risks to health and safety when used for its intended purpose.
  • Providing information:
  • You must make information available to those that are to give effect to the design and those for whom your product was designed about its intended purpose, test results and any conditions necessary to ensure that it is safe and without risks to health and safety when used for its intended purpose.

Construction related duties – written report

  • If you are a designer of a structure or any part of a structure that is to be constructed, provide a written report about the hazards relating to the design. 
  • The report must specify hazards that, so far as the designer is reasonably aware:
    • create a risk to the health or safety of persons who are to carry out any construction work on the structure or part; and
    • are associated only with the particular design and not with other designs of the same type of structure.
  • This report must be provided to the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) who commissioned the design.

Manufacturers

If you are a manufacturer of plant, structures or substances, your duties under the new laws can be summarised as follows:

General duties

If the product you manufacture is to be used or could reasonably be expected to be used at a workplace, you need to ensure that all workplace activity relating to the product (including its use, handling, construction, storage, dismantling and disposal) is without risks to health or safety when used for its intended purpose.

Testing

You must carry out any calculations, analysis, tests and examinations sufficient to ensure that your product is safe and without risks to health and safety when used for its intended purpose.

Providing information

You must give adequate information to any person who will use your product about the purpose for which it was designed or manufactured, test results and any conditions necessary to ensure that it is safe and without risks to health and safety when used for its intended purpose.

Importers

If you are an importer of plant, structures or substances, your duties under the new laws can be summarised as follows:

General duties

If the product you import is to be used or could reasonably be expected to be used at a workplace, you need to ensure that all workplace activity relating to the product (including its use, handling, construction, storage, dismantling and disposal) is without risks to health or safety when used for its intended purpose.

Testing

You must carry out any calculations, analysis, tests and examinations sufficient to ensure that the product you import is safe and without risks to health and safety when used for its intended purpose. Alternatively, you must ensure that these calculations, analysis tests and examinations have been carried out.

Providing information

You must give adequate information to any person who will use the product about the purpose for which it was designed or manufactured, test results and any conditions necessary to ensure that it is safe and without risks to health and safety when used for its intended purpose.

Suppliers

If you are a supplier of plant, structures or substances, your duties under the new laws can be summarised as follows:

General duties

If the product you supply is to be used or could reasonably be expected to be used at a workplace, you need to ensure that all workplace activity relating to the product (including its use, handling, construction, storage, dismantling and disposal) is without risks to health or safety when used for its intended purpose.

Testing

You must carry out any calculations, analysis, tests and examinations sufficient to ensure that the product you supply is safe and without risks to health and safety when used for its intended purpose. Alternatively, you must ensure that these calculations, analysis, tests and examinations have been carried out.

Providing information

You must give adequate information to any person who will use the product about the purpose for which it was designed or manufactured, test results and any conditions necessary to ensure that it is safe and without risks to health and safety when used for its intended purpose.

To find out more, contact HIA's Workplace Services team

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