Worker participation key to health and safety improvements
“Involving workers in managing health and safety at work is a key to improving our record in this area,” CTU secretary Carol Beaumont said today, following the release of the Workplace Health and Safety Strategy second progress report.
“Workers want safe workplaces and to feel confident that they will return home from work at the end of each day, and so health and safety is a core union concern,” Carol Beaumont said.
“For our part, we are proud to have trained 18,000 health and safety reps elected under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.”
“Elected health and safety reps make an important contribution to improving New Zealand’s safety culture. This representative model of worker participation is a significant step towards a productive, participative workplace.”
“We want to continue to build on this, and increase the representation of different groups of workers as reps.”
“The cost to the whole country of workplace fatalities, illness and injuries is significant. In addition to accident related fatalities, best estimates are that between 700–1,000 people die annually in New Zealand from occupational disease. This demonstrates why we need to continue our efforts to improve our health and safety performance.”
The 2002 amendments to the occupational health and safety legislation, the elected safety reps and the national coordination through Workplace Health and Safety Council and the Strategy were all positive steps, Ms Beaumont said.
“Through the Workplace Health and Safety Council and in other ways, we will continue to work with government and business to keep momentum going on improving our health and safety performance, for the betterment of all New Zealanders.”