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ACT Stands By Workplace Death Figures

ACT Stands By Workplace Death Figures

Tuesday 27 Nov 2001 Richard Prebble Press Releases -- Employment -- Stop the OSH Bill Campaign

The ACT Party is standing by its claim that official figures show 39 people were killed in workplace accidents last year - not the 500 claimed by the Council of Trade Unions.

"OSH figures show there were 39 workplace deaths last year that OSH considered serious enough to investigate. Almost half of those deaths were in the agricultural sector, " ACT leader Richard Prebble said.

"The previous year, OSH investigated 57 workplace deaths, so the figure has fallen.

"Latest ACC figures show 94 workplace deaths for the 1999/2000 year and a projection of 39 deaths for 2000/2001, based on figures for the first nine months of the year.

"The CTU's claim of 500 workplace deaths is just scare-mongering. If you're going to quote 500, why stop there? Why not include everyone who dies due to stress which might have occurred at work, or even on the way to work?

"While any number of workplace deaths is disturbing, you have to realise that more than a million people work in New Zealand - and see the deaths in that context.

"Being at work is much safer than driving a car, or being at home, or even being on holiday.

"Arguing about the number of workplace deaths is diverting attention from the real issue. The ACT Party is fighting the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill, which proposes fines of up to $500,000 and two years jail for employers, because we believe the measures are harsh and unnecessary. There's no evidence that the vast majority of employers don't provide safe workplaces.

"If this bill goes through, many employers will decide it's simply not worth employing anyone. That's certainly a way to reduce the number of workplace deaths to nil but is that what the CTU wants?" Mr Prebble said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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