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New health and safety guidelines for sex industry

29 July 2004

New health and safety guidelines for sex industry

A new health and safety guide for the sex industry will help protect workers, clients, and public health, says Mike Cosman of the Department of Labour’s Occupational Safety and Health service (OSH).

The development of A Guide to Occupational Health and Safety in the New Zealand Sex Industry was recommended by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee when it was considering the Prostitution Reform legislation last year.

The guide was then developed by OSH in consultation with the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, industry representatives, ACC, the Ministry of Health, New Zealand Police, and Local Government NZ. It was largely based on health and safety guidelines produced for the Australian sex industry.

“The issues of health and safety for sex workers and clients are very serious, and some, such as the risk of sexually transmitted infections, have serious public health implications too,” Mr Cosman said.

Since the Prostitution Reform Act was passed into law, the sex industry operates under the same health and safety rules as any New Zealand industry, he said.

Acting Director of Public Health Dr Douglas Lush said the guide would be a valuable resource for the sex industry to understand how to meet their health and safety requirements, including how to protect themselves and their clients from the risk of infection by adopting and promoting safer sex practices.

“This is something we couldn’t develop before the change in legislation,” says Catherine Healy of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. “Now we can offer a lot of practical advice that will support sex workers in working safely.”

The guide is intended for sex industry owner/operators and employers, sex industry workers, and those who are self-employed. It covers a broad range of topics, including sex worker health, security and safety from violence, and how to report accidents or incidents of harm.

The guide is available in PDF form on the website www.osh.govt.nz


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