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Best family Christmas present ever

Best family Christmas present ever

Labour Minister Margaret Wilson is confident the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment is the best Christmas present many New Zealand families will ever get.

“The Bill marks the beginning of a new workplace culture designed to put an end to unnecessary injury, illness and death,” she said. “For far too long unhealthy and unsafe workplaces have put a toll on New Zealand families.”

The Amendment provides employers, workers and unions with the tools to systematically review, eliminate or manage workplace risks.

Margaret Wilson said the legislation marked the end of two years of consultation and consideration.

“It is a tribute to the contribution and focus of a wide range of organisations and individuals, although special thanks must go to Business New Zealand and the Council of Trade Unions. An Implementation Advisory Panel also provided invaluable advice.”

The major changes the legislation brings are:

An extension of the coverage of the Act to new sectors Provision for employee participation and health and safety training A clarification of the duty to systematically address hazards A range of new interventions available to the Occupational Safety and Health Inspectors and Health and Safety Representatives to raise and resolve safety issues

Margaret Wilson said the significant change for most people would be the culture shift whereby everyone in the workplace takes responsibility for health and safety.

“I am certain the passage of the Act will mirror the successful culture change that has been driven by the mediation and good faith provisions of the Employment Relations Act.

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“New Zealand employers and workers respond well to the challenge to lift their performance. This Act lays down such a challenge, and I have confidence they will meet it.

“I also have confidence that it can lead the focus from box ticking compliance to genuine engagement and productive, profitable and safe enterprises,” Margaret Wilson said.

OSH will undertake an extensive public information campaign to tell employers, employees and unions about the health and safety changes which come into effect on 5 May, 2003. A 0800 free phone and a website will be available from next week, and a comprehensive regional seminar programme will start early in the new year.

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