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Tragic Tally Of Workplace Deaths

“The tragic tally of workplace deaths must stop,” said Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson today.

“In some industries, like the construction industry, the situation is nothing less than a crisis,” he said.

“Our record is among the worst in the world”.

Ross Wilson said yesterday’s death on a construction site was the fifth Auckland death in that industry in six months.

There have been 12 workplace deaths in Auckland over the past six months compared to three in the previous year.

“As shocking as the increase in deaths on Auckland worksites is the tragic tally across the country for the New Year,” he said.

Three workers have lost their lives while working in the past 10 days.

“First Christchurch textile worker, George Mulitalo fell from an industrial knitting machine. 29 year old mother of three, Petunia Waaka, tragically lost her life while cleaning a meat crushing machine in the central North Island and two days ago an Auckland construction worker was crushed to death,” he said.

Ross Wilson said the in the debate around new workplace health and safety law some had tried to play down the number of work related deaths in New Zealand.

“The reality is that far too many workers are dying and we need better protection through our workplace health and safety law.

“When we add to that tragic tally the number of workers who die of work-related injuries and illness and the others who die as a result accidents caused by work fatigue, we are losing over 500 New Zealanders a year,” he said.


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