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Worker Role in Health and Safety Urgently Needed

Juken Nissho Case Shows Urgent Need For Worker Involvement in Health and Safety

“After May 5, when stronger health and safety law is in place, companies with shocking health and safety records will have to involve their workers in making workplaces safe,” said Council of Trade Unions secretary Paul Goulter today.

Juken Nissho has received its fifteenth conviction under the Health and Safety Act and was yesterday ordered to pay $10,000 for its latest breach.

“The terrible injuries caused to a worker at a Juken Nissho timber mill could have been avoided if the company had heeded the written suggestion of another worker,” said Paul Goulter.

OSH has reported that the suggestion that a safety barrier be installed on the edge of conveyor belt to prevent falls was made five days before the accident.

Paul Goulter said employee participation was key to the amended health and safety law.

“Under the new law if that recommendation was put forward by the workplace health and safety representative, the employer would be legally obliged to take steps to fix the problem,” he said.

“The case also highlights the fact that workers know their own workplaces better than anyone and, as international experience shows, when workers are involved in their own health and safety there are fewer accidents such as this.”

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