Explore the meaning of common health, safety and wellbeing terms.


An incident that has caused harm, fatality, ill-health, damage or other loss.

Business or undertaking

  • Business: An activity carried out with the intention of making a profit or gain
  • Undertaking: An activity that is non-commercial in nature. 

Competent person

A person who has the relevant knowledge, experience and skill to carry out a particular task, or has a relevant qualification, or there is evidence demonstrating that the person has the required knowledge, experience and skill.

Contracted worker

All parties working for contracted and sub-contracted companies while under control of the contracted company.


All parties working as direct contractors while under direct operational control of the University.


An item or action designed to remove a hazard or reduce the risk.

Corrective action

Corrective actions, are any action that has been taken to address a potential issue before it occurs and also to remedy the causes for any event that has occurred. They should be time-bound and assigned to a person to make sure they are carried out. 

Duty holder

A person who has a duty under HSWA (see explanation below). There are four types of duty holders — PCBUs (see explanation below), officers, workers and other persons at workplaces.


Remove the hazard (see 'hierarchy of control').

Environmental incident

An incident that could or does affect the environment.


A death resulting from a work-related incident or illness, regardless of the time intervening between the incident causing the injury or exposure or causing illness and the death. 

Formal investigation

A formal investigation carried out after a notifiable event or other circumstances as appropriate by trained personnel or other specialist.


Anything that has the potential to cause harm (injury or ill-health) or damage to property or equipment in connection with a work activity. Hazards can arise from articles, substances, plant, work methods, work environment or work organisation.

Hazardous event

When someone or something interacts with a hazard causing harm. 

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA)

HSWA is the key work health and safety law in New Zealand. All work and workplaces are covered by HSWA unless specifically excluded.

Health and safety audit

A formal assessment of the efficacy of the health, safety and wellbeing management system, usually by an independent competent person. 

Health and safety committee (HSC)

A Health and safety committee (HSC) supports the ongoing improvement of health and safety at work. An HSC enables PCBU representatives, workers and other HSC members to meet regularly and work co-operatively to ensure workers’ health and safety.

Health and safety representative (HSR)

Health and safety representatives (HSRs) are workers elected by members of their work group to represent them in health and safety matters.

Health assessment

The process of assessing a worker's baseline health.

Health monitoring

The process of monitoring workers’ health against their baseline to see if their work is harming their health and to assess ongoing effects.

Health, safety and wellbeing management system

A set of plans, actions and procedures to systematically manage health, safety and wellbeing at the university, including the capability to:

  • Provide a healthy, safe and well workplace
  • Identify workplace hazards, and assess and control risks as far as is reasonable practicable
  • Promote active involvement in health, safety and wellbeing matters by managers, staff, students and their representatives
  • Provide information and training for staff at all levels, so they can work safely
  • Monitor, measure and review the implementation of the HSMS.

Hierarchy of control

The hierarchy of control is a system for controlling risks in the workplace.

The hierarchy of control is a step-by-step approach to eliminating or reducing risks and it ranks risk controls from the highest level of protection and reliability through to the lowest and least reliable protection. 


Any unplanned event or occurrence resulting in, or having a potential for injury, ill-health, damage or other loss. 

Injury (work)

Any injury occurring in the course of work-related activities.

Injury (medical treatment — MTI)

A work-related illness or injury resulting in the medical practitioner administering special expertise in the management or care of a patient to combat disease or disorder, including any loss of consciousness, and includes prescribing of any medication that cannot be purchased over the counter without doctors’ prescription. Where there is no 'treatment' it is considered to be a first aid injury.

Injury (no treatment required)

A work-related injury that does not require any treatment and the person is able to return to work immediately after.

Injury (non-work)

An injury or illness to a worker that is not related to their employment with University. This includes the aggravation of a previous non-work injury if it can be proven that a causal link exists.

Injury (notifiable illness or injury)

All injuries or illnesses that require (or would usually require) a person to be admitted to hospital for immediate treatment are notifiable. 

Admitted to a hospital means being admitted to hospital as an inpatient for any length of time – it doesn’t include being taken to the hospital for out-patient treatment by a hospital’s Emergency Department, or for corrective surgery at a later time, such as straightening a broken nose.

Injury (first aid — FAI)

A first aid injury is a work-related injury that is treated or should have been treated using a first aid kit and where the person can return to work immediately after receiving treatment (e.g. washing, cleansing, application of a self-adhesive dressing, removal of a splinter, etc). Unlikely to trigger a University Incident Response.  


A process of gathering information about an incident to find out why it happened and how to stop it from happening again.  


Isolate the hazard to prevent any person coming into contact with it (see Hierarchy of Control).

Job safety analysis

Also: Safe work method statement, safe operating procedures

Step-by-step descriptions of how to do a task, job or activity safely.

Lost time injury (LTI)

A work-related injury or illness resulting in the employee being unable to attend work of at least one full shift. 


Take all practicable steps that protect the health and safety of people by either reducing the likelihood of an event occurring, or reducing the level of harm to people if it does occur, or both.

Near miss

An incident which did not result in injury, illness, damage or other loss, but potentially could have.


A deviation from a procedure, a standard, specification or an expectation and may trigger a corrective action.

Notifiable event (Worksafe)

When any of the following occurs as a result of work:

  • A death
  • Notifiable injury or illness
  • A notifiable incident

WorkSafe must be notified when a notifiable event occurs.

Notifiable event (other external agencies)

When any of the following occurs as a result of work:

  • A notifiable breach of a statutory requirement
  • A notifiable incident

Other relevant agencies must be notified when a notifiable event occurs. 


An observed safe (positive) or unsafe (hazardous) act or condition.


An officer is a person who has the ability to significantly influence the management of a PCBU. Officers must exercise due diligence to ensure the PCBU meets its health and safety obligations.

Other person at workplace

Other persons include students, workplace visitors and casual volunteers (who are not volunteer workers). Other persons at workplaces have their own health and safety duties to take reasonable care to keep themselves safe and to not harm others at a workplace.

Overlapping PCBU duties

When a PCBU shares duties with other PCBUs. When two or more PCBUs are working together at the same location or through a contracting chain, they must work together to fulfil their duties of care and manage risks. Where those duties overlap, the PCBUs must consult, co-operate and co-ordinate with each other to meet their health and safety responsibilities to workers and others.


PCBU stands for ‘Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking’. In most cases a PCBU will be a business entity, such as a company. However, an individual carrying out business as a sole trader or self-employed person is also a PCBU. A PCBU does not include workers or officers of a PCBU, volunteer associations with no employees, or home occupiers that employ or engage a tradesperson to carry out residential work.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Anything used or worn by a person (including clothing) to reduce risks to the person’s health and safety. PCBUs have a duty to provide PPE, and also related duties covering selecting, using/wearing, maintaining, repairing and replacing PPE (see Hierarchy of Controls).

Person in charge

The person in charge of a particular situation, having the responsibility, control, or supervision over something or someone.



  • Any machinery, vehicle, vessel, aircraft, equipment (including personal protective equipment), appliance, container, implement, or tool; and
  • Any component of any of those things, and
  • Anything fitted or connected to any of those things.


Policies establish key principles and values that govern decision-making at the University. They define the University’s position relative to a broad topic. Policies are mandatory, implementable and applicable across the University. The University has only one Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy.

Primary duty of care

A PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers, and that other persons are not put at risk by its work.


A system that explains how to manage a Health, Safety and Wellbeing subject, consisting of a set of formal documents; standards, procedures, training matrices, guidance, forms, monitoring documents, frequently asked questions. 

Each topic protocol supports the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy, and provides more detail on a specific subject.

Psychosocial harm

Psychosocial harm are aspects of the work environment that are thought to have the potential to affect negatively the wellbeing of employees. 

Reasonably practicable

The term 'so far as is reasonably practicable' means that the degree of risk in a particular situation can be balanced against the time, trouble, cost and physical difficulty of taking measures to avoid the risk.


Worksafe New Zealand or other relevant regulatory agency.

Restricted work case (RWC)

Any work-related injury or illness that keeps the employee from performing one or more of the routine functions (performed at least once per week) associated with their job or a physician recommends that the employee not perform one or more of their job's routine duties.


The chance that somebody will be harmed by a hazard.  An indication of how serious that harm could be. The likelihood that harm could happen under circumstance of use or exposure and the extent of that harm. 

Risk assessment

A careful examination of what, in an area or work, could cause harm to people, so that an evaluation can be made whether enough precautions(controls) have been taken or should more be done to prevent harm.  At the UoA this involves a 5 step process.   

The process should identify the significant risks arising out of a work activity, identify and priorities the control measures that need to be taken, these measures should also be appropriate to the nature of work and should remain valid for a reasonable period – the controls should be current to situation and involve those doing the work.  

The start point for:

  • Safe systems of work
  • Safe plant and equipment
  • Safe places
  • Competence requirements
  • Supervision and monitoring

Risk profile

A high level document that lists the critical health and safety risks at the University. These risks are scored depending on the degree of harm that is likely to result if the risks are not properly controlled.  

Severity rating

Severity rating of an incident is based on the following to three questions:

  • Degree of impact?
  • Level of care?
  • Treatment required?

University incident response

A documented process that is used by the risk office to manage the University’s response in accordance with the coordinated incident management system (CIMS). 


Any physical location in which work-related activities under the control of the organisation are performed.

Work-related health

The impact work can have on people's health.

Work-related ill-health

A work-related condition or disorder caused predominantly by prolonged or multiple exposures to hazardous substances agents or work conditions rather than a single event.

Document Control
Version: Draft
Last Updated: Aug 2020
Next Review: Aug 2023
Approver: Associate Director, Health Safety & Wellbeing