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Straightforward health and safety transfer needed

25 June 2013

Straightforward health and safety transfer needed

Health and safety inspectors moving into a new stand-alone Crown agency need to be able to get on with the job with a guarantee of no further restructuring, according to the Public Service Association.

The Health and Safety (Pike River Implementation) Bill has been introduced into parliament. It will help implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the Pike River tragedy and set up a new workplace health and safety agency to be known as WorkSafe New Zealand.

The PSA says whoever is appointed to lead WorkSafe New Zealand must resist the temptation to carry out more restructuring.

“Health and safety inspectors are still in the midst of what has been an unusually difficult and stressful restructure at the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. Their transition into the new agency needs to be as smooth and straightforward as possible so they can get on and do the job. The last thing they need is more uncertainty,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

“If we want to embed the lessons of Pike River and strengthen workplace health and safety regulation, it’s crucial that staff have time to settle and focus without the prospect or distraction of further restructuring.”

There must also be careful consideration given to the resources the new agency will need as currently the corporate and management structures around health and safety regulation sit within MBIE.

Brenda Pilott says “the new agency is going to need its own corporate and governance structures and systems. If those supports are inadequate, the important work at the frontline will suffer.”

The PSA is disappointed that the legislation does not include provision for a strong worker voice on WorkSafe NZ’s governing board and believes the Council of Trade Unions should have been named in the Bill as a nominating body.

ENDS

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