April 16, 2003
Union worried about JNL’s safety record
The death last night of a Gisborne mill worker has highlighted the EPMU’s concerns about safety at Juken Nissho Ltd plants.
A 55-year-old man died after being caught in a log-peeling machine at the Juken Nissho mill in Gisborne.
The EPMU has had serious concerns about JNL’s safety record, and says that the investigation by Occupational Safety and Health should look at how much involvement workers have had in developing health and safety practices.
“We know that JNL has had more than 304 OSH notified serious-harm injuries at its three New Zealand mills since 1995,” said EPMU national secretary Andrew Little.
“We believe that there needs to be a good, hard look at health and safety practices at JNL mills, especially those at Gisborne and Masterton. The safety record at the Kaitaia mill, which is highly unionised, is much better. This just goes to show that workers who have a genuine representative input into health and safety are much more likely to have a safer workplace.”
The latest death comes less than three weeks before a new health and safety law requiring employers to heed their workers’ health and safety concerns comes into effect. In January, JNL was fined $10,000 after a worker was badly injured just five days after another worker had suggested a safety barrier be installed on the edge of a conveyor belt.
It was the company’s 15th conviction under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.
Mr Little said that workers at the Gisborne plant were very upset over last night’s death. The man was not a member of the union.