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Budget 2003: Health and safety research

Budget 2003: Health and safety research

Amendments to the Health and Safety in Employment Act that come into force today encourage employers and employees to work together to create safe, healthy and more productive workplaces.

“This new legislation will help turn around the country’s appalling health and safety record. However, the government’s responsibility for this issue does not stop there,” Labour Minister Margaret Wilson said.

Any future direction of government interventions could be better informed by research, particularly in regard to emerging health issues. “Research infrastructure for occupational health and safety in this country is currently fragmented, with expertise spread across a diverse range of universities and departments. Although the Department of Labour seeks expert advice on health and safety issues, there is no advisory body of experts to provide an independent assessment direct to government on the major occupational health and safety issues for the New Zealand workplace.”

Margaret Wilson said this would be addressed through new funding to the Department of Labour for the establishment of a five-member National Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee.

“The first task of this Advisory Committee will be to develop a research agenda. This will inform the government’s research initiatives and provide direction to the wider research community.” Ongoing annual funding of $162,000 had been allocated in this year’s Budget for the Advisory Committee.

Members would be appointed shortly, Margaret Wilson said.

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