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Large corporate’s higher demand for health and safety

Large corporate’s higher demand for health and safety

Legislation is changing for health and safety in New Zealand. The new health and safety reform bill introduced to parliament and due to come into force in April 2015 is set to have major impacts on New Zealand’s health and safety system. Stephen Threadgall, Project Manager for JLL who has over 10 years’ experience in the construction industry says, “Nationally, we are seeing large corporate organisations demanding higher levels of health and safety during construction”.

While the number of ACC claims each year has fallen since 2007, still 200,000 occupational injuries result in ACC claims per year according to the Ministry of Business and Employment statistics. This corresponds to 12 injuries per 100 workers, reinforcing why health and safety still remains an issue.

Threadgall, says, “Improvements to the overall economy in New Zealand have encouraged an increased amount of construction activity. Add to this the constant pressure for projects to be completed within short timeframes and the health and safety risk is heightened.”

Threadgall continues, “After the Christchurch earthquakes, the property industry have become more focused on health and safety. With the construction industry still one of the highest injury-incidence scores, corporates are now demanding higher levels of health and safety.”

Human error was the cause of 43% of summer time accidents reported by the Ministry of Business and Employment. The next leading cause is procedural at 27% and poor or inadequate equipment or workspace design at 22%. These statistics prove that training and awareness is the key to reducing accidents.

Stephen Threadgall, says, “An increase in overseas workers who are unaware of New Zealand’s rules and regulations may also be a factor contributing to the increased risk. Hence why everyone from owners, project managers through to labourers have to be constantly vigilant and aware of their responsibilities.”

The Bill is part of ‘Working Safer’ program aimed at reducing New Zealand’s workplace injury and death toll by 25% by 2020. Greater penalties under the new regime with tiered liability, currently an equivalent penalty in NZ would be $500,000 or 2 years imprisonment but will be changed to $600,000 or 5 years imprisonment.

Threadgall concludes, “Project teams need to be site safe trained, and the correct training will not only improve an individual’s skills but will result in a change of attitude towards health and safety.”


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