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Healthy and safe workplaces pay off for business

Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister of Labour

29 February 2008 Media Statement
Embargoed until 11am

Healthy and safe workplaces pay off for business

Good health and safety practices in the workplace pay off for business and business productivity, according to a new publication released by Labour Minister Trevor Mallard today.

Trevor Mallard released the information pack, Health and Safety Makes Good Business Sense at the annual Golden Shears in Masterton today, along with new health and safety guidelines for the shearing industry.

The Health and Safety Makes Good Business Sense pack includes the published findings of a literature review that explored the business benefits on productivity of health and safety in workplaces.

"The study shows that good health and safety practices can deliver a range of business benefits as well as the obvious benefits to employees. When a business has good health and safety practices, it flows on to greater productivity. It's easier to attract and keep good staff, it's good for a firm's reputation and brand and workforce morale, and it can lead to innovation in the production line," Trevor Mallard said.

"The cost of not addressing this issue is simply too great. The statistics are chilling. It’s estimated that as many as 1100 premature deaths occur each year because of work-related disease and injury. Every day approximately 700 workers are harmed badly enough to seek medical help. And recent research estimates the social costs of workplace injuries and disease in 2005 was between $15.5 billion and $16.5 billion."

Benefits of good workplace health and safety practices include:
- Fewer people off work with injuries
- Fewer production delays, less product and material damage
- improved staff recruitment and retention, better morale
- enhanced business reputation
- designing safety into business is a source of increased innovation, improved quality and improved efficiencies
- fewer injuries help reduce ACC levies and sick pay.

Case studies in the information pack focus on a variety of New Zealand businesses – including Paewai Mullins Shearing who were present at the launch today.

"Paewai Mullins Shearing is a good role model of a business that has put in place health and safety systems and good equipment for their workers because they understand that it makes good business sense, as well protecting employees from injury or worse. I'd urge all employers to follow their lead," Trevor Mallard said.

"The guidelines for the shearing industry I am also releasing today show what can be achieved when industry and government works together to improve New Zealand workplaces and workplace productivity," Trevor Mallard said.

These shearing guidelines have been in development for three years since the birth of SHEAResults, which dedicates itself to Health and Safety in the shearing industry.

SHEAResults worked with ACC to establish the Shearing Industry Health and Safety Committee with representatives from ACC, Federated Farmers, Amalgamated Workers Union New Zealand, the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association, Department of Labour, Meat and Wool New Zealand, FarmSafe, and the Agriculture ITO.

The shearing guidelines and research report are available for download from


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