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Safety NZ Week takes on New Zealand's injury toll

Friday 5 August 2005

Safety NZ Week takes on New Zealand's injury toll

Imagine the outpouring of grief if a thousand people were killed in a single week or 100,000 suffered significant injuries. Most New Zealanders would be thunderstruck. But because this toll accumulates gradually over the year, we tend to take for granted what is nothing short of a national tragedy, says ACC Chief Executive Garry Wilson.

This year, ACC, employers, community, sports and road safety groups and government agencies among others have come in behind Safety NZ Week to put a focus on making New Zealand safer. "There is something that everyone can do this week, and every week, to reduce injuries and the devastating impact they can have on families, businesses and communities," Mr Wilson said.

Safety NZ Week runs from 7 to 13 August and aims to put a spotlight on an injury toll which last year saw 1076 die of injuries and 106,000 moderately to seriously injured.

A quarter of those were injured at home while a third suffered injuries at work. Many were injured on the roads with traffic injuries making up around half the serious injuries managed by ACC. "

The impact on the lives of injured people and their families can't be measured," Mr Wilson said. "That's why we're encouraging workplaces, schools and sports teams to plan their own safety activities, families to do home safety checks and prepare emergency escape plans and individuals to do first aid courses," he said. "We're also encouraging people to support events in their area."

Local activities range from tai chi demonstrations for older people to child car seat checking clinics, workplace safety seminars and snow safety promotions. Details of activities can be found at www.safetynzweek.co.nz. A highlight of the week will be the New Zealand Community Safety Awards which will be presented in Wellington on Tuesday 9 August.

"The awards are designed to recognise, reward and promote some of the excellent work that's being doing in the injury prevention and safety promotion area and to inspire others to develop new, innovative initiatives," Mr Wilson said.

ENDS

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