Under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 (HSEA),
employers and owners of buildings which are places of work must
identify and manage hazards in the place of work. This includes
Building owners must also meet the requirements of the Building
Act 2004. This includes standards for buildings' earthquake
If an existing building does not meet more than one-third of the
new building standard for earthquake strength design, it is deemed
to be earthquake-prone and local councils are empowered to require
owners to undertake work to improve it.
Until earthquake strengthening work is completed, potentially
thousands of workplaces are unsafe, and potentially in breach of
the HSEA. Worksafe New Zealand has issued a position statement
setting out its stance on earthquake-related hazards and the
Worksafe New Zealand's view:
• It will not take health and safety enforcement action in
relation to earthquake-prone buildings, because this is covered by
the Building Act.
• Any enforcement action will come from your local council.
• If Worksafe becomes aware of issues relating to the earthquake
resilience of a building then it will raise the issue with the
relevant local council.
• However, if an employer or landlord does not comply with the
Building Act and someone is seriously harmed following an
earthquake, they could face enforcement action under the
The full position statement can be found on Worksafe New Zealand's
which also contains links to other guidance for building