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Seminar explores workplace health and safety systems in NZ

2 September 2013

Seminar explores future workplace health and safety systems in New Zealand

Recommendations on revolutionising New Zealand’s workplace health and safety will be analysed and debated at a seminar being held at Victoria University tomorrow (Tuesday 3 September).

Organised by Victoria’s Industrial Relations Centre and School of Law, the day-long seminar will discuss the recommendations made in April by the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety in New Zealand.

Titled ‘Creating a Safety Climate in New Zealand—Moving beyond Pike River and the Taskforce Report’, the seminar will feature expert comment from researchers and policy makers, workplace managers, unions and practitioners in the field.

Sue Ryall, Manager of the Industrial Relations Centre, says the tragedy at the Pike River Coal Mine, and the ongoing loss of life from workplace accidents, highlight the issues that New Zealand faces in terms of workplace health and safety.

The Report of the Independent Taskforce on Workplace Health and Safety in New Zealand released on 30 April included far-reaching recommendations on the way in which New Zealand deals with the issue.

The morning session will focus on three key aspects of the changes: the role of regulation (Professor Gordon Anderson, Victoria University), the new agency for workplace health and safety (Worksafe New Zealand), and one of the more controversial recommendations in the report, ‘The Importance of Worker Participation’ (Helen Kelly, President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions).

The keynote speaker is Paula Rose, the Deputy Chair of the Independent Taskforce and a member of the Worksafe New Zealand Establishment Board. Worksafe New Zealand is the new agency that will be responsible for implementing the changes proposed for workplace health and safety.

The afternoon session will look at the other two sections of the report which centre on motivating change in the workplace and increasing the knowledge of workplace health and safety issues. Presenters will explore the issues in changing the culture of health and safety, providing effective incentives, increasing the information and understanding, particularly the data on workplace accidents and occupational health issues. The presentations will include industry representatives Bruce Cullen from Downers New Zealand and Ruma Karaitiana from the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation.

The seminar will be held on Tuesday 3 September, 9am - 4.20pm in Government Buildings Lecture Theatre 1 (GBLT1), Pipitea Campus, Victoria University.

ENDS

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