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Workplace Health & Safety Strategy will save lives

22 June 2005
Media Statement

Workplace Health and Safety Strategy will save lives

A new strategy aimed at reducing the number of work related deaths, injury and disease, was launched by Associate Labour Minister Ruth Dyson today.

The Workplace Health and Safety Strategy provides a framework for achieving safer and healthier workplaces to the year 2015. The Minister also launched the first Action Plan for 2005/2006, and announced the establishment of a new ministerial advisory group.

“By providing a common vision, and supporting it with an ambitious Action Plan, the strategy enables New Zealand to save lives and protect the health of workers.

“It will contribute to New Zealand’s economic success by keeping workers productive and on the job. It will also help improve workplace cultures where attitudes often dictate employee behaviour about health and safety,” she said.

About 1100 workers die every year from work related disease and injury. About 700 working Kiwis are harmed badly enough to seek medical help every day. The estimated cost of death, injury and illness caused by occupational disease and injury is between $4.3 billion and $8.7 billion a year. But the personal cost to family and friends is much higher.

“Many Kiwis are working hard to improve workplace health and safety from on-site health and safety reps, to medical specialists, to employers and government agencies. This strategy ensures those collective efforts are well planned and coordinated.” Ruth Dyson said.

The new advisory body, the New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Council, will provide leadership and co-ordination, and advice to government on relevant legislation, standards and policies.

“This forum will be made up of representatives of business, unions, government agencies, and technical experts in occupational health and safety.

“We have already had extensive input from many organisations including the NZ Council of Trade Unions and Business New Zealand. Their co-operation means the Strategy and Action Plan are relevant to industry and the realities of New Zealand workplaces. By working together, government, business, unions and the community can all play their part in making workplaces healthier and safer.”

ENDS

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