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Workers Bear Brunt of Occupational Disease, Injury

27 April 2006

Workers Bearing the Brunt of Occupational Disease and Injury

"The report of the National Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee (NOHSAC) supports long expressed union concerns that the costs of workplace disease and injury are born largely by injured workers and their families," Council of Trade Unions President Ross Wilson said today.

NOHSAC's report, released today, estimates the full cost of occupational disease and injury totals $20.9 billion annually, and that only 2% of total costs are compensated by government agencies such as ACC and the Ministry of Social Development.

"Tomorrow unions will launch a campaign calling for lump sum compensation for sufferers of asbestos related diseases," said Ross Wilson. "This is but one area where workers need better compensation and support for work related injuries and diseases."

The report also flagged the vital importance to the economy of improving our Occupational Safety and Health performance, Ross Wilson said.

"Unions are committed to playing their part in bringing down New Zealand's unacceptably high levels of workplace injury and disease, and we will continue to build on the network of 15,000 trained health and safety reps that have been making a real impact in New Zealand workplaces."


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