Health and safety review taskforce appointed

  • Kate Wilkinson

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson has announced the membership of an independent taskforce that will undertake the first wide-ranging strategic review of the workplace health and safety system in 20 years.

“New Zealand’s workplace death and injury rates are not improving and are poor in comparison to countries like Australia and the United Kingdom,” Ms Wilkinson says.

“The Government is taking action to ensure we get better results and see a 25 per cent reduction in workplace deaths and serious injuries by 2020.

“In addition to boosting workplace health and safety funding by $37 million in Budget 2012, we are making sure the current health and safety system is fit for purpose.”

The Taskforce will be chaired by Robert Jager, Chairman of Shell in New Zealand and General Manager of Shell Todd Services. Other members are Mavis Mullins, Director at Paewai Mullins Shearing; Michael Cosman, Managing Director of Impac Services; Paula Rose, former National Manager Road Policing; William Rosenberg, Policy Director/Economist for the Council of Trade Unions; and Paul Mackay, Manager Employment Relations at Business New Zealand.

It will review whether the overall workplace health and safety system – including legislation, regulation, incentives and enforcement – is working effectively to reduce workplace injury and death.

Ms Wilkinson says the taskforce will recommend a package of practical measures to the Government in December.

“Our health and safety legislation is now 20 years old. This review is timely, particularly with the rebuild in Canterbury gearing up, and the Royal Commission into the events at Pike River due to report back in September.

“The taskforce members are a balance of business and worker interests, along with specialist health and safety practitioners.

“There will be public consultation as part of the review and I expect the taskforce to report back to me with their recommendations by the end of this year.”

Biographies of Taskforce Members

Rob Jager is Chairman of the Shell Companies in New Zealand and General Manager, Shell Todd Services. Rob currently also chairs the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum. Rob has over 30 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry in a variety of technical, project, operational, business, management, and governance roles both locally and overseas. In his current role at Shell, Rob is fully accountable for all aspects of both personal and process safety and has been providing visible leadership in these critical areas.

Mavis Mullins is Director of Paewai Mullins Shearing Limited, where she is involved in health and safety issues in the workplace, strategic planning and new business development. Mavis has strong connections in rural and farming communities, and is currently involved in hands on roles both in farming operations and in providing governance for rural and farming organisations.

Michael Cosman has worked in the health and safety field for 33 years, the majority of which has been in a regulatory role. This includes 25 years in operational, managerial and strategic roles with the HSE (UK) and three years with the Department of Labour as National Operations Manager and Chief Advisor. He is currently Managing Director of Impac Services and has experience as a consultant in the private sector. Michael also has experience in working with a number of international health and safety jurisdictions.

Paula Rose is a consultant whose experience in health and safety includes over four years as the Police lead on road safety. Paula has held leadership roles within the Police, worked with partner agencies, reviewed the previous Road Safety Strategy to 2010, developed and implemented Safer Journeys, New Zealand’s Road Safety Strategy 2010-2020 as well as the Safer Journeys Action Plan.

William Rosenberg is Policy Director/Economist at the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU), whose affiliates represent 350,000 workers. William will reflect the perspectives of the NZCTU and its affiliates in relation to both policy and practice regarding health and safety.

Paul Mackay has nearly 30 years’ experience in the areas of health and safety and employment relations. He is currently Manager of Employment Relations Policy at Business New Zealand, following employment relations roles for Carter Holt Harvey Ltd, Transpower, the State Services Commission and MAF.

The detailed Terms of Reference for the review are available at: