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MBIE urged to ‘please explain’ over health and safety

4 December 2012

MBIE urged to ‘please explain’ over health and safety restructure
Health and safety inspectors want some answers from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment over a proposal which will see their current jobs disestablished and force them to reapply for positions.

A major restructuring proposal of the health and safety inspectorate has gone out to staff. It will do away with the former structure and create three new categories of inspectors – assessment, investigation and response.

“The proposal sets up specialised groups of inspectors which current inspectors will have to fit into,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

“What our members are angry and confused about is that they will be forced to re-apply for the new roles instead of simply being reassigned or reconfirmed. Many of these inspectors are very experienced and have given years of dedicated service. They feel like that now doesn’t count for anything.”

“The rationale behind the disestablishment of current positions is not clear to staff and the restructure could result in many being placed in lower job bands,” she says.

The restructure falls out of the Commission of Inquiry into Pike River.

Brenda Pilott says “it’s important to remember that the Commission did not criticise the inspectors involved but was highly critical of the lack of leadership, resourcing and management of the health and safety inspectorate.”

“While this restructure does have a focus on better training and support and will see changes to management and reporting lines, the inspectors feel like they are being penalised by having to reapply for their jobs.”

The PSA also believes that any restructure should not be hastily implemented given that the Commission strongly recommended the setting up of a new crown agency solely focussed on health and safety.

“The government needs to commit to that as a matter of urgency to strengthen health and safety regulation and give some much needed certainty to staff going into the future,” Brenda Pilott says.

ENDS

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