Major reform of workplace health and safetyLabour
The most significant reform of New Zealand’s workplace health and safety system in 20 years has been announced today by Labour Minister Simon Bridges.
“The Working Safer package represents a major step change in New Zealand’s approach to meet our target of reducing the workplace injury and death toll by 25 percent by 2020,” says Mr Bridges.
“The reforms recalibrate our approach so we are working smarter, targeting risk and working together to improve performance in workplace health and safety.
“This is the legacy we owe to the Pike River families, the families of the 75 people who are killed each year in New Zealand workplaces, and the estimated 600 to 900 who die annually from the long-term effects of occupational disease.”
Mr Bridges says Working Safer addresses the recommendations of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety which provided Government with a solid foundation to work from.
“We will improve the legislation and back it up with clear guidelines and enforcement, and investment in a strong new regulator WorkSafe New Zealand.
“But achieving the target is not something we can do alone. It also requires leadership and action from business and workers, working with government, sharing the responsibility and driving the solutions on the ground.
“Good health and safety makes good business sense. It is an investment in improved productivity, staff engagement and in an organisation’s reputation in the community,” Mr Bridges says.
The reform package includes
- an overhaul of the law, supported by clear, consistent guidelines and information for business on their requirements
- more funding for WorkSafe New Zealand to strengthen enforcement and education and implement the changes
- a focus on high risk areas
- stronger focus on occupational harm and hazardous substances
- better coordination between government agencies
- improved worker participation
- stronger penalties, enforcement tools and court powers.