Kiwi work injury rate ‘not good enough’

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One in ten Kiwi workers made a claim to the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) for a work-related injury last year, according to the latest figures from Statistics New Zealand.

The 2011 work-related injury claims figures also show that:

 

  • The overall rate of injury claims was 97 claims for every 1,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs). 187,900 work-related injury claims were made in total, and these claims were made by 169,400 people.
  • Men made up 71% of all claims for work-related injuries, with a rate of 122 claims per 1,000 FTEs. (It was noted that, since 2002, men have consistently accounted for almost three-quarters of all work-related claims.)
  • Workers aged 15-24 years and workers aged 65 years plus had the highest claim rates across all age groups, with just over 1 in 8 making a claim.
  • Agriculture and fisheries were the industries with the highest incident rate, with 211 claims per 1,000 FTEs. They were followed by labourers and cleaners (183 claims per 1,000 FTEs), trades workers (180), and plant and machine operators and assemblers (166).

This data comes hot on the heels of a statement from the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety which said New Zealand’s workplace injury rates are about twice that of Australia and almost six times that of the UK.

The situation is simply not good enough and needs to change, taskforce chairperson Rob Jager said. “Workplace injuries are not an isolated issue – they affect everyone – and they occur as a result of a combination of many things including changing workplace practices and environments, regulatory ‘fitness’ and perhaps even our own culture.”

Widespread input into the work of the taskforce was necessary to change New Zealand’s poor track record, he said. “And achieving the required step-change will take the combined efforts of government, businesses, workers, unions and society as a whole.”

Key HR takeaways

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides comprehensive advice and assistance for employers on accident prevention, improving workplace health and safety, and legal compliance.

ACC provides support and assistance for employers dealing with injured workers – and advice for HR on how to effectively manage work-related injuries and claims.

 

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