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Workplace injury and illness research released


Workplace injury and illness research released

Research into the social and economic consequences of workplace injury and illness was released today by Labour Minister Margaret Wilson and ACC Minister Ruth Dyson.

Carried out by researchers from the Department of Labour, WEB Research and ACC, the study highlights the debilitating effect of workplace injury and illness for the injured or ill employee, their friends and family, workplace, and the costs to society.

Margaret Wilson said the release of the research was timely with the proposed amendments to the Health and Safety in Employment Act due to be debated in Parliament shortly.

"First and foremost the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill is about reducing the human cost of poor workplace safety and health."

The two-year study involved 15 case studies and 68 interviews with employees, their families, work colleagues and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and other health professionals who were involved.

Margaret Wilson said the case studies are at times harrowing, with expressions of grief and loss that cannot but move the reader.


"The weight of the suffering and loss can be seen for what it is to the community as a whole - a drag on growth, a brake on success and happiness. Multiply the stories literally hundreds and thousands of times and you can begin to understand the level of waste, suffering and loss that unnecessary occupational illness and injury produces."

ACC Minister Ruth Dyson said the research would help raise awareness of the need for effective measures to prevent workplace injuries.

"Injury prevention is now ACC's top priority, to reduce both the social and financial cost of injuries to workplaces and the community. Last week we released the draft New Zealand Injury Prevention Strategy for public consultation. Underpinning the strategy is an ambitious and challenging vision of a safe, injury-free New Zealand. To achieve this, we need to promote safe environments and a strong safety culture.

"Advancing injury prevention knowledge and information is a key objective of the strategy. It must include not just the factors that contribute to injury but also the elements to support an injured person to independence. Early and comprehensive rehabilitation is the key to independence for all injured people. This is confirmed by the research released today."

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