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Fear can’t be allowed to compromise safety

Darien Fenton
Labour Spokesperson

22 February 2012

Fear can’t be allowed to compromise safety

Stories from Ports of Tauranga workers alleging under-reporting of workplace accidents due to fears about job security are a serious concern, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Darien Fenton.

“The increasing casualisation of work in New Zealand is undermining health and safety efforts,” Darien Fenton said.

“Casual workers are often scared that reporting accidents or safety concerns will not find favour with their employer, and they will be punished with fewer hours of work.

“That is simply unacceptable. All workers should be able to speak up about safety concerns and report accidents. If this doesn’t happen, the changes necessary to improve safety and reduce our workplace death and injury toll won’t happen,” Darien Fenton said.

“Safety in New Zealand’s workplaces is already a serious issue, with 41 Kiwis dying at work last year and a further 6000 seriously injured. In addition, thousands of workers die from occupational disease. New Zealand’s death and injury toll at work is four times greater than comparable countries such as the United Kingdom.

“We are seeing an increasing trend towards contracting out and casualisation of good jobs, and the National Government's planned changes to Employment Relations legislation this year, including the weakening of collective bargaining rights, will exacerbate the problem,” Darien Fenton said.

“It is no use making a lot of noise about safety, or devising ‘tick the box’ health and safety exercises to try to stem our awful health and safety record, when the connection between safety at work and the diminishing confidence of workers to speak out at work seems to be completely lost on this Government.”


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