The responsibility for a safe work place and safe work practices falls on the worker/employee, the employer, contractor and subcontractor and the site owner/principal. Doing nothing is not an option
If you are employed then it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that you have the appropriate training, clothing, tools and equipment to carry out work in a safe manner. If you have received the necessary training it is crucial that as a worker you put that training into play every day. You also need to be the eyes and ears of your employer in their absence by identifying new hazards should they arise. NEVER continue working if you feel unsafe and do not allow others to work in an unsafe manner. ALWAYS discuss your work place concerns and if your employer is unreceptive you must find someone who can speak on your behalf about your concerns to your employer.
If you are the employer it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees have the necessary training, clothing, tools and equipment to carry out their work in a safe manner. It is also necesarry to include hazard identification processes in daily work practices. This should be done verbally via the Toolbox Talk and include some form of documentation of the discussion.
The government is currently instituting workplace reforms to lower the workplace fatality rate. A new agency is being set up to encompass the workplace health and safety functions and is expected to be in place by December 2013. This agency will enforce all workplace health and safety regulations. Currently this is done through the Department of Labour which is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
In the attached document 'Best practice guidelines for working at height in NZ' you will find a wealth of information for many working at height situations. You can download it here