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Workplace Safety and Health Group Essential Step

MEDIA RELEASE

15 June 1999

New Workplace Safety and Health Group Essential Step Towards Fewer Workplace Deaths: Bradford

Minister responsible for Labour, Max Bradford says the establishment of the Labour Department's new Workplace Safety and Health Group is an essential step towards fewer workplace deaths and illnesses.

Mr Bradford said the group was established in response to a key Select Committee recommendation.

In 1996, the Inquiry into the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health Service (OSH) recommended the development of a comprehensive accident and ill-health statistical database.

"OSH itself has reported a grossly inadequate level of compliance with employers' duty to report cases of serious harm," Mr Bradford said.

"It was heard at the Labour Select Committee that there was clear frustration with the lack of a meaningful and comprehensive statistical resource by which workplace health and safety results can be measured.

"The establishment of the new group will mean OSH will get the information resources needed to accurately track injury trends at work."

Under the new system, claims made to the insurance providers will be reported to the group, producing a statistically robust database of injuries and work-related illness.

"With this better picture of New Zealand's occupational health and safety performance we can adopt better targeted strategies to reduce the human and economic cost of workplace injury and death, " Mr Bradford said.

Mr Bradford emphasised the health and safety data would be used solely for the purpose of tracking workplace injury and illness, as envisaged by the Select Committee report, and would not be used by OSH for enforcement or prosecution purposes.

"The new structure will be a cost effective and efficient means of improving the health and safety of New Zealanders at work," he said.

END




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