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Health and safety: the state of the nation

Health and safety: the state of the nation

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 18 April 2016

Only 45% of nearly 800 respondents are confident no one will be harmed or made unwell by the activities at their workplaces, according to Safeguard’s first State of the Nation survey.

Business owners and senior managers were more confident (59%) while health and safety professionals were notably less confident (37%).

Safeguard used channels provided by business groups and unions, as well as its own networks, to survey nearly 800 business owners, health & safety reps, and health & safety professionals.

Respondents were much more optimistic (78%) that New Zealand’s overall health & safety performance is improving. However there was a marked difference between “health” and “safety”: while two-thirds (67%) of respondents felt that the safety of workers is taken seriously in New Zealand, only 43% felt the same about workers’ health and wellbeing.

The health and safety regulator WorkSafe New Zealand was given a pass mark, with more than half of respondents (57%) saying it is performing well. Feelings were stronger among the 600 respondents who had had at least one personal contact with WorkSafe over the last 12 months: 69% had found their contact to be satisfactory or very satisfactory.

Safeguard editor Peter Bateman says the survey provides a useful snapshot of how people in three key groups feel about health and safety in the country overall and in their own workplaces.

“Given all the scaremongering stories which have accompanied the new Health and Safety at Work Act, it is pleasing to see 40% of respondents feel health and safety is an opportunity to improve their business rather than just to comply with the law.

“Organisations which take a serious look at the risks their work creates are able not only to eliminate or minimise those risks, but also to obtain significant improvements in staff engagement, innovation and productivity.”

The survey will be run again next year to monitor the impact of the new legislation.

ENDS

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