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Horrific Work Death Toll

22 April 2002

Horrific Work Death Toll Prompts Call For OSH Bill Urgency

Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson today called for all parties in Parliament to give the OSH Bill urgency as the tally of work deaths continued to grow.

The death of a timber factory worker on Friday brought the Labour Department official toll of workplace fatalities to 57 in the past nine months, compared to 39 in the previous 12 months.

“We need to do all we can to address this horrific toll,” Ross Wilson said.

“This is the highest workplace fatality toll for more than a decade.”

Ross Wilson said the Labour Department official toll represented just the tip of the iceberg and more than 500 people die in New Zealand each year from work-related accidents and disease.

“It is quite clear that we have a crisis and the CTU is calling for a political consensus around the OSH Bill,” he said.

“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.”

Ross Wilson said that while the Bill should be subjected to proper scrutiny, the lives of workers were too important to be used for political game playing.

“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,” he said.

Ends

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