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Workers’ Memorial day time to take stock

Workers’ Memorial day time to take stock

Workers’ Memorial Day tomorrow is a time to remember those who have been killed or injured at work, their families and friends, and also take stock of the progress being made to ensure workers return home safe each day, says Labour Minister Simon Bridges.

“We know that too many New Zealanders are killed or harmed at work, which is why this Government is committed to implementing the major step change in workplace health and safety that we need to see.

“WorkSafe NZ, the new Crown agency dedicated to workplace health and safety, is up and running and working hard. It has a very clear mandate to bring down the death and injury toll – by 25 per cent by 2020 – in our workplaces. The Government has allocated an additional $30 million annually to WorkSafe NZ to strengthen education and enforcement.

“The Health and Safety Reform Bill — which is currently at Select Committee — will overhaul the current law and extend the duty to keep workers safe beyond the traditional employer.

“This will be especially important in contractor-dominated, high-risk sectors like forestry.”

Since August last year, WorkSafe NZ’s proactive enforcement approach in the forestry sector has seen almost 300 enforcement actions taken, including shutting down 25 operations, and there are currently two active prosecutions.

WorkSafe NZ has recently completed visits to 32 forestry owners/principals around the country. The independent industry-led inquiry into forestry safety is also underway, and WorkSafe NZ is currently reviewing the Approved Code of Practice for forestry safety.

“We are making good progress but the Government can’t make this culture change alone. We must remember that we all have a part to play in ensuring our workplaces are safe,” says Mr Bridges.


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