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Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Safeguard OSH Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Alert24 - Safeguard Update

Taking OHS seriously

Taking OHS seriously
Article Type:
Publication Date:
New Zealand

Labour minister Kate Wilkinson told the Safeguard National Health & Safety Conference that New Zealand's health and safety record was a stubborn problem and that strengthening the OHS system is an "absolute priority".

"I take it seriously. You take it seriously. The challenge we have is for the rest of the country to take it seriously."

There had been 41 workplace fatalities and more than 6000 serious injuries last year, "and we are not making any real dent in those figures".

These figures had prompted her to set a firm target of a 25 percent reduction in those numbers by 2020, which would translate into annual figures of around 30 fatalities and 4000 serious injuries a year. The major review of the OHS system recently announced - the taskforce is due to report by the end of this year - would be fundamental.

Noting that it had been ten years since OHS was last reviewed, and 20 years since the HSE Act was passed, Wilkinson described the scope of the new review as targeted enough to be meaningful but broad enough to encourage fresh thinking.

Some of the additional $37m announced in the budget would be used to lift the number of health and safety inspectors to 180, in line with the ratio used in Australia. "We have learned from the High Hazards Unit that having the right people on the ground with the right skills and experience and with the respect of the industry is vital."

The minister revealed that one idea that had been floated was introducing a safety star rating for businesses, in conjunction with ACC. "I've talked to the ACC minister, who likes it. Our only dispute is the branding," she joked.

Wilkinson assured delegates that OHS would remain a focus of the new Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. "It will be in an excellent position to send clear health and safety messages and to influence practices across a range of fronts."



People Mentioned:
Kate Wilkinson
Organisations Mentioned:
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment;
Reference No:

From Alert24 - Safeguard Update

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