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Doubling of workplace deaths predictable

Darien Fenton MP
Spokesperson on Transport Safety
Associate Spokesperson on Labour

10 December 2009
Media Statement

Doubling of workplace deaths predictable

The doubling of workplace deaths in the last five months of this year was predictable and the government’s cuts to Health and Safety and ACC will mean that unnecessary deaths will continue, says Associate Labour spokesperson Darien Fenton.

“Labour warned earlier this year that health and safety could be compromised during the recession, where firms with tight margins and workers facing layoffs could be tempted to take more risk,” said Darien Fenton.

“Since then, the government has cut back on workplace health and safety training, it has scrapped the National Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee which provided independent advice evidence based advice to the government and put pressure on workers by increasing ACC levies.

“The government is also planning to severely weaken workers’ rights to meals and rest breaks, which has implications for health and safety in the workplace.

“These measures, combined with cuts to jobs, downsizing of hours and wage freezes means workers will continue to face greater health and safety risks.

“Labour shares the Minister’s concerns about the doubling of workplace deaths, but calling for a report, as the Minister of Labour has done is not the answer.

“The government needs to answer for its part in putting workers at risk and do some seriously rethinking around its current approach,” Darien Fenton.


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