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Building site fatalities on downward trend

11 August, 2005

Building site fatalities on downward trend

A marked downturn in fatalities on New Zealand construction sites is apparent in global statistics reflecting world wide trends.

The Chairman of the Construction Industry Council, John Pfahlert, says that in part the improvement reflects efforts by the Sitesafe organisation and the Council of Trade Unions to develop a better safety culture on building sites around the country.

New Zealand in 1996 had the worst fatality rate in the western world for construction sites with 18 per 100,000 workers. During the period 1998 to 2001 the rate fell to approximately seven and a ranking of sixth. Total fatalities last year were five.

“While we can always do better, and every fatality is to be regretted, this evidence suggests that the Sitesafe programme established in 1998 has proved its value along with the CTU’s site safety representative scheme.”

Under the CTU scheme some 11,000 building workers have been trained in site safety. Under stage one of this scheme workers attend a two day course on safety practice. The following year they do a refresher course and learn accident investigation procedures. A third stage course is being assembled.

Mr Pfahlert says the combination of the employer backed Site Safe programme and the CTU scheme is making a positive contribution toward the elimination of building site accidents.”

“However, we should not loose sight of the contribution employers are also making to instil a culture of safety within their workplaces. Their investment is also to be applauded.”


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