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Aviation safety fears don't have wings

Aviation safety fears don't have wings

The Aviation Industry Association, Act New Zealand and others are indulging in a deliberate campaign of misinformation to frighten New Zealanders about the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill, Green Party MP Mike Ward said today.

The Aviation Industry Association has warned that the bill, currently before Parliament, would "inevitably" reduce aviation safety, and that incident reporting would dry up due to fear of prosecution. The Act party says it is "leading the fight" against the bill, arguing the bill is anti-employer and that it gives unions "greater power" to "blackmail". The proposed legislation would bring aircraft under the Health and Safety in Employment Act.

Mr Ward, a member of the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee, said workers and the travelling public had a great deal more to fear from unsafe work practices than they did from the new legislation.

"Good employers will already have the kind of practices in place that are required by this bill. Those that don't will get adequate warning under the legislation. They will also get appropriate guidance by the Occupation Safety and Health Service, and the opportunity to comply before they are likely to incur any penalties," he said.

"Why any employer should feel threatened by the need to keep their most precious resource safe - their employees - is difficult to fathom. Employers and employees alike have much to gain and nothing to lose from the Health and Safety in Employment Bill."

OSH investigated 73 workplace fatalities in the past year, the worst recorded since the introduction of the Health and Safety in Employment Act in 1993.

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