Health & Safety

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

The health and safety legislation had its first major overhaul in 20 years and was driven by the events at Pike River Coal mine in 2010. With the change in legislation, there are changes to responsibility and liability, as well as increased penalties such as fines and imprisonment. 

New terminology had been introduced into the safety lexicon such as Officers and PCBUs, and whilst at first this may sound a bit daunting it's probably not as bad as you think.

If you are a responsible organisation (or PCBU as you will soon be called) that takes safety seriously, has good robust incident reporting processes, safe systems of work, procedures for assessing and managing the risks in your business and a forum to enable your employees to participate in shaping your safety culture, then you have little to worry about.

We welcome the changes and view them as an opportunity to improve and build on our existing safety management capability. Good safety is good business and we will continue to embrace any opportunity that helps us to keep people safe and our industry to grow.

The NZIA have put together a good webinar with additional information on the implications of the Act.

Key changes

Some of the key changes include:

  • The development of the term PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) which widens the number of companies and individuals who may be liable when involved in projects like construction and, as such, a wider net of people and companies will be responsible for ensuring Health and safety on site than before.
  • Specific new responsibilities for designers requiring upstream thinking to prevent health and safety implications later down the track in construction, maintenance and occupation.
  • The expectation for PCBUs to work collaboratively and failure to do so can have legal repercussions.
  • Breaches of health and safety law has serious repercussions and neither individuals nor companies can contract out or insure against this.

When it comes to plasterboard, we work closely with Health and Safety experts to identify a few key aspects that will help ensure that you are meeting some of your requirements under the new legislation including our Delivered to Site service, proven systems, and Declare certification ensuring the non-toxicity of our plasterboard.

Expert, Safe Site Delivery

  • The GIB® Delivered to Site (DTS) Service provides you with a safe and reliable way to get plasterboard on site. With trained crews, heavy and cumbersome plasterboard will be delivered safely when and where you need it.
  • Coordination between PCBUs (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) is also a core new feature of the Act, and we need to work closely with your site team to ensure sites are safe and ready for GIB® plasterboard delivery. A GIB® Site coordinator works with your team to make sure hazards are identified and removed and safe access is available for our DTS crews.

Systems - performance and safety now and in the future

  • We have developed proven, tested GIB® systems for fire, bracing or noise to provide safe spaces for occupants
  • No part of a GIB® System can be substituted; any substitution or change to the system's construction method will void the tested fire or structural performance, compromising your ability to meet health and safety requirements. Ensuring correct installation and maintaining the specified system will ensure the performance into the future.
  • Different systems have different screw patterns, layers of plasterboard required, and fixing requirements like glue; make sure you check with the relevant GIB® literature to ensure correct installation.
  • Contractors have a responsibility to explain to owners the performance aspects of elements like fire walls, acoustics ceilings or bracing walls and the potential health and safety repercussions for improper maintenance. The GIB® Care and Maintenance document is an easy way to communicate this.

Declare - Certified non-toxicity of GIB® plasterboards

  • GIB Aqualine®, GIB Fyreline®, GIB® Standard, GIB Toughline®, and GIB Braceline® GIB Noiseline® have all been given Declare Red List free certification, meaning these products meet strict materials standards, giving you peace of mind in specification for the entire life of the building.
  • Unlike some other plasterboards, GIB® plasterboard does not contain toxic ingredients like Fly Ash, a residue of coal production, which is on the Declare Red List.

Safe handling and installing

  • Refer to the GIB® Site Guide for information regarding the personal protective equipment to wear and the correct tools to use while installing, stopping and sanding plasterboard.