There are 50-60 deaths from work injuries in NZ each year, and 600-900 deaths from exposures to health risks associated with their work.
It’s a statistic that’s unacceptably high and “the pace of progress has stalled”, according to the Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.
“The Government is determined to ensure that all New Zealanders can return home to their friends and whanau in the same health as when they began their day at work.”
Lees-Galloway’s comments come as a new Health and Safety at Work Strategy commits New Zealand to better practices in the workplace for the next decade.
“Our commitment to improving the wellbeing of all New Zealanders must have a focus on making our workplaces healthier and safer. Putting New Zealand workers at the centre of our strategy is key,” said Lees-Galloway.
“We have made significant progress in reducing work-related harm since the Pike River tragedy but it is clear there is much more we can and must do.”
According to Lees-Galloway, New Zealand can be among the world-leaders for workplace health and safety if it can get their attitudes and practices right.
“The Strategy will help us achieve this, by focusing on what makes the biggest impact in key areas that we must improve,” said Lees-Galloway.
“To make a real difference, we need to take a broader view of work-related health risks, including mental health. Equally important to me, is to lift the outcomes for workers at greatest risk, including Maori, who are over represented in injury statistics. These are reflected in the Strategy’s priority areas.
“Success depends on everyone playing their part and I thank all those who provided ideas and feedback to help us shape the Strategy.”
Public consultation on the draft Strategy showed strong support for its overall approach, goals and priority areas, according to Lees-Galloway.
Around 500 people attended the workshops and 127 written submissions were received.
“Our next step will be to turn the Strategy’s vision into action. I anticipate government agencies will align their health and safety-related work with the Strategy. I also encourage sectors, businesses and communities to do the same,” Lees-Galloway added.
“I will establish a stakeholder reference group to provide me advice on progress and help maintain that long-term focus and momentum.”
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