Weekly Wrap: Major industry safety review launched, Air NZ wins employment case

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Major forest industry safety review launched
An independent panel is to conduct a major review into the high number of serious and fatal injuries in the forest industry.

Forest Owners past-president Bill McCallum stated the current rate of serious injury and death is “not acceptable” and the panel’s job is to uncover “the underlying factors that are resulting in workers being harmed and to recommend practical measures to significantly improve the situation”.

The panel members are business leader George Adams, employment health and safety lawyer Hazel Armstrong and business safety specialist Mike Cosman.
The review, which is expected to take up to six months to complete, is being funded by the Forest Owners, Forest Industry Contractors and Farm Forestry Associations, with administrative support and other resources provided by the government’s health and safety regulator, WorkSafe New Zealand.

The panel will have its first meeting on February 14 in Wellington.

Air NZ wins case against pilots
Air New Zealand has won an Employment Relations Authority (ERA) case against the New Zealand Air Line Pilots Association (NZALPA) over the transfer of better pay conditions offered to members of a rival union.

The NZALPA accused Air New Zealand of breaching its collective employment agreement with them by not transferring "more favourable" conditions when the airline bargained with the Federation of Air New Zealand Pilots (FANZP).

The ERA said in its ruling that the airline could not budget or negotiate properly without knowing if pilots from the larger NZALPA would pick out certain parts of the alternative FANZP collective agreement. The ruling means the NZALPA cannot ‘cherry-pick’ higher pay and better conditions if they are offered to FANZP-aligned pilots.

Consumers optimistic on job outlook
A new survey of consumer confidence suggests the jobs market may be about to join the more general economy recovery.
The BNZ-Nine Rewards Consumer Trends Survey found a net 12% of the people surveyed were finding it hard to find jobs or extra hours of work, down from nearly 24% two months ago.

BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander said that was a strong improvement in how people perceived the labour market and was the strongest result since the survey started in May last year. The extent to which the labour market improved was one of the more important things economists would be looking at this year, he said.

"We do believe it could improve relatively strongly, lead to wages growth and become a bit of challenge for those firms maybe who are not up to play with staff management."

ACC appoints GM Injury Prevention
Megan McKenna has been appointed as ACC General Manager Injury Prevention.

McKenna has held a range of executive advisory and consulting roles  to organisations including NZ Post, Meridian Energy, Department of Internal Affairs and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment over the past six years. She will join ACC on 4 February 2014.

Company fined after worker falls from roof
Tauranga residential property construction company Greenway Developments has been fined $25,000 and ordered to pay reparations of $5000 after a worker was injured in a fall from the roof of a property under construction.

The company was charged under the Health and Safety in Employment Act of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that a contractor was not harmed while doing work he was engaged to do.

The worker fell from the roof of a garage being constructed in Tauranga in April last year. He was assisting others secure a truss to the top plate of the garage when it slipped and the victim lost his balance and fell three metres to the concrete floor of the garage. He sustained fractures to his left wrist and jaw.

Chief Inspector Investigations Keith Stewart said there was no effective means of fall protection in place.

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