31 March 2002
CTU Calls For OSH Bill To Be Given Urgency As Workplace Fatalities Climb To Record Levels
“The CTU will be calling on all parties in Parliament to give the new OSH Bill urgency so it can be brought into law as soon as possible,” Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson said today.
“This weekend’s workplace fatalities bring the Labour Department official toll for the current year (July to June) to 55 which is the highest for more than a decade,” he said.
“Given that this is the tip of the iceberg and more than 500 people die in New Zealand each year from work-related accidents and disease it is clear that we have a crisis which must be addressed with urgency.”
Ross Wilson said the CTU was calling for a political consensus on the OSH Bill.
“The Bill reflects a proven statutory framework on which a co-operative safety culture of best practice prevention can be built,” he said.
“There is no doubt that the positive effects of the Bill will be greatly improved if the signal is sent to all employers and workers that Parliament as a whole is right behind it.
“While the Bill should be subjected to proper scrutiny, the lives of workers are too important to be used for political game playing.
“When you look past the rhetoric the reforms in this Bill are entirely consistent with similar legislation in other countries such as Sweden, UK, Canada, and Australia, which have been considerably more successful than we have in reducing the toll of workplace accidents and disease during the past decade.
“Let’s put petty politics aside and get on with saving lives”.