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Safety Workers Feel Under-Valued

Safety Workers Feel Under-Valued

The people who are employed to prevent injuries and illness in New Zealand workplaces believe they are paid less than for roles of similar responsibility.

This is one of the findings of a survey of health and safety salaries undertaken by Safeguard magazine.

A clear majority of the 180 respondents felt that their roles were not paid enough for the level of responsibility involved and the value they add to their organisations.

“Employers generally do not have a good understanding of the skill-set required to effectively manage workplace health and safety and tend to undervalue the contribution that safety practitioners make to their business,” one respondent noted.

The survey shows that the median annual income before tax of health and safety practitioners in New Zealand was just over $68,000 per annum.

However, while 61% of incomes fell into the $50,000 to $79,999 bracket, there was clear evidence that salaries at the very top of the profession – with the largest organisations – are well over $100,000.

Of those who responded, 11% reported an income of $100,000 or more.

The highest-earning group ($90,000+) was also the most highly-qualified on average, although half of this group had no greater health and safety qualification than a 1-year diploma.

Results of the survey are published in the August issue of the workplace health and safety magazine Safeguard.

Other key points to emerge from the survey are:

 42% of respondents had been involved in occupational health and safety work for 10 years or more;

 33% held a bachelor’s or higher degree in occupational health and safety;

 Holding a qualification helps boost pay, although not to a significant degree;

 75% of respondents described themselves as safety practitioners, 12% as private sector advisors, 7% as occupational health nurses, 5% as government advisors, and 1% as occupational hygienists.

Wellington, New Zealand, 30 July 2008


Note to Editors

The anonymous web-based survey was conducted on Safeguard magazine’s website between 8 June and 16 July 2008 and attracted 180 responses.

Safeguard is New Zealand’s leading magazine on the management of workplace health and safety. It is published six times a year by Brookers Ltd.

The full Safeguard salary survey dataset, stripped of any text responses to guarantee respondent anonymity, is available for sale for $95 + GST. Orders may be placed by phone 0800 10 60 60 or email


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