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Health And Safety Deserve Better

BusinessNZ is supportive of the consultation on work health and safety announced today by the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety.

BusinessNZ Advocacy Director Catherine Beard says the BusinessNZ Network requested a review because of significant concerns among the business community about the level of workplace accidents and environmental harms, and also concern about the regulations that are meant to prevent them.

"Feedback from member businesses tells us that in many instances the health and safety regulations pertaining to their industry can be too strict, too loose, too many, too few, disproportionate to the risk, ambiguous, unreasonable or just not sensible. Meanwhile, the protection of staff from health and safety hazards in many cases remains at risk," Catherine Beard said.

Some of the issues reported by members:

  • Too many regulations (many pages of regulations) in some areas, making it hard for businesses and workers to have a clear understanding of what is required.
  • The number of health and safety requirements for small businesses sometimes is disproportionate to the level of risk and creates productivity constraints without actually benefiting the safety of staff.
  • Lack of clarity and confusion around who governs health and safety for different subcontractors/small businesses undertaking differing activities on a single site, e.g. construction sites.
  • We have heard from multiple members that for some development projects, traffic management can be up to half of the project cost and can run into the tens of millions of dollars.
  • However cones, temporary speed restrictions, etc are often ignored by motorists, posing a danger to work crews. The measures are often ignored after being in place for extended periods when there appears to be no activity taking place; they should be in place only for as long as needed, to improve road safety driver observance.

BusinessNZ will urge member businesses to contribute their views to the consultation.

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