Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Mill company’s workplace record : need for new law

Mill company’s workplace record proves need for new law

Today’s Sunday Star-Times story highlighting the extent of health and safety problems at two Juken Nissho Ltd wood processing mills proves the need for new laws coming into effect tomorrow, says the country’s largest trade union.

From tomorrow, (Monday, May 5) workers will have a stronger statutory right to control over their safety at work.

EPMU national secretary Andrew Little said that the horrific record of accidents at JNL plants in Gisborne and Masterton showed what could happen in a regime where health and safety were left solely to the employer.

Labour Department statistics obtained by the union under the Official Information Act show that the company has had more than 300 serious harm injuries reported since 1995. Of these, 183 were at the Masterton mill and 68 were at the Gisborne mill. Both are largely ununionised.

“This gives us clear evidence that having workers involved in developing and monitoring health and safety practices, as they are at JNL’s Kaitaia triboard mill, drastically reduces the workplace toll,” Mr Little said.

“The people who are operating plant and machinery are the ones who know what the hazards are and how they can best be dealt with.”

Mr Little said that giving workers a greater involvement in workplace health and safety would free the Labour Department’s Occupational Safety and Health division to concentrate on enforcing the law.

The Council of Trade Unions aims to have 10,000 workplace health and safety representatives elected within a year. EPMU members have already elected 500 and expect to have another 1500 elected by April next year.

Changes to the Health and Safety in Employment Act that come into effect tomorrow include:

Aircraft and ship crews, railway workers and “mobile” workers (those who are injured while driving) are now covered. Increased protection for volunteers, people on work experience and employees who are “loaned” to another employer. People who sell or supply plant or equipment are required to make sure that it is safe for its intended use in the workplace. Stress and fatigue are now explicitly recognised as “harms” and “hazards”. Maximum fines are increased to $500,000. A new system of instant fines comes in. If OSH doesn’t prosecute, other organisations may. Employers may not insure against fines under the legislation. Employers are required to involve workers in the development, implementation and maintenance of health and safety systems, and provide paid leave for worker representatives to be trained. Worker health and safety representatives can issue hazard notices to employers. Workers may refuse to do work that they reasonably believe will cause them harm. The Employment Relations Authority may issue compliance orders over workers’ rights under the HSE Act.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Supreme Court: Worksafe Decision On Whittall Pike River Prosecution Unlawful

The question in issue on the appeal was whether WorkSafe New Zealand acted to give effect to an unlawful agreement of this nature when it offered no evidence on charges against Peter William Whittall for breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992...

The Supreme Court... has found that the decision to offer no evidence was made under an unlawful agreement to stifle prosecution. It has granted a declaration to that effect. More>>

 

Cullen To Chair: Tax Working Group Terms Of Reference Announced

Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash today announced the Terms of Reference for the Tax Working Group and that the Group will be chaired by Sir Michael Cullen. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>

ALSO:

Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election