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OSH changes don’t go far enough - Sowry


OSH changes don’t go far enough - Sowry

The Government’s piecemeal changes to the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill are unclear and muddled, according to the National Party’s Industrial Relations spokesman Roger Sowry.

“Only after massive pressure has this Government moved to protect some of the volunteer groups in our community, but still a range of non-profit groups will be covered by this ill-conceived legislation.

“Even after this tweaking, the OSH Bill could still see organisations such as Hospices or Salvation Army homes lumbered with fines of up to quarter of a million dollars if a volunteer is hurt,” says Mr Sowry.

“Those still in the firing line include, the IHC, Meals on Wheels, Rape Crisis Women’s Refuge and a string of other vital volunteer organisations.

“Meanwhile, papers released under the Official Information Act show the Government has carefully structured the rules to limit its own liability through CYFS, while other similar outfits like Barnardos are still targets.

“This Government is dramatically underestimating the huge contribution volunteers make to our society.

“This Bill is unworkable and no amount of fine-tuning should save it from the legislative scrap heap,” Mr Sowry says.

Volunteers not exempted

1. People who volunteer to do things outside their homes that is not fundraising activities but provides some sort of financial gain (indirect financial gain is included)

In IHC homes - Volunteers might take people to tennis, ten pin bowling, swimming, drama classes, provide computer skills, supporting someone with a disability who is living on their own etc. Eg volunteer might go to IH person’s home and help out

Cancer Society –drivers, home and hospital visitors, cooking and gardening, assistance with health promotion campaigns Salvation Army homes Barnados (if they volunteer in a residential care group home Meals on Wheels – people who drive and deliver meals People who work in refuges (eg women’s refuge) Rape Crisis Womens Refuge Lifeline Churches eg people might do maintenance work around the church and flower arrangers etc, home visitors Presbyterian Support Heart Foundation Rest Homes will also have a lot of people who volunteer services Hospices – volunteers at the hospice and people who volunteer to visit and help people in their homes Hospitals – must have volunteers who help out on wards, visit patients etc Volunteer Fire Brigades Foundation for the Blind Citizens Advice Bureaux Plunket

2 People volunteering in schools, kindergartens; playcentres etc doing activities that are not fundraising or sport and recreation eg teacher aide, parent help


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