Health and Safety law reform is resulting in unprecedented interest in the business community.
A 100-strong Crowe Horwath seminar in Hastings last week heard health and safety consultant Richard Tattersfield say all businesses risked fines following the recently-passed Health and Safety at Work Reform Bill, which becomes law in April.
"They need to understand what their risk levels are relevant to their own business and industry," he said.
"Business owners, directors and CEOs all need to understand their legal requirements, as well as their PCBUs - Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking."
He said the building sector was flagged as a high-risk industry "and this means the chance of inspectors turning up on site for assessments will potentially increase".
Business owners and PCBU's needed to have practices in place to avoid penalties.
"This applies to sub-contractors such as painters, bricklayers, plumbers and drain layers."
Last month, Health and Safety firm Hasmate re-launched itself as a cloud-based service at Hawke's Bay Business Hub Conference Centre.
Managing director Gordon Anderson said the new laws placed greater emphasis on businesses to prove due diligence, requiring quality data.
"This will be an evidence-based process and it will be the responsibility of the business owners or officers and managers to provide the documented evidence in a relatively quick time-frame," he said.
Accountants Hawke's Bay accountant Trish Patterson said there will be an expectation that everyone in the workplace is responsible for workplace health and safety, not just officers of the company.
"All businesses should plan ahead and think about how they will engage with their employees on health and safety matters, and to talk with their professional advisers on how to best implement the provisions in the new legislation," she said.