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"Reduced" injuries a statistical mirage

Hon Ruth Dyson
Minister for Disability Issues
Associate Minister for Accident Insurance

MP for Banks Peninsula

Media Statement

16 February 2000

"Reduced" injuries a statistical mirage

"The insurance industry's claims of improved health and safety since the introduction of private work accident insurance schemes were further discredited at today's Select Committee hearings," says Associate ACC Minister Ruth Dyson.

"The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union, whose 60,000 members includes those in some of the highest risk industries, says injury prevention has not improved. Rather, employers and insurance companies are devising strategies to hide injuries, including subtle ways of bribing workers.

"The Council of Trade Unions today raised similar concerns. The CTU points out that the stated incentives for employers to invest in injury prevention in the private schemes are weak and display "breathtaking naivety". The measures fail to recognise the broad range of factors involved in workplace accidents.

"These submissions reinforce the message the Committee has received from other submissions - especially from health service providers - of widespread under-reporting of accidents.

"Even with under-reporting, the accident record since privatisation looks very poor. Serious accidents reported to OSH in the period July-December 1999 dropped by just 4.6% compared with the same period in 1998. Whereas they had dropped by 24.8% between 1997 and 1998 for the same July-December period.

"The Government's policy is designed to address the flaws in the current system as well as the past regime. We are primarily concerned with reducing accidents, not rendering them invisible, as is happening today," says Ms Dyson.

ENDS

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